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  • You should receive your first check within 14 weeks of your first claim.

    Due to the downturn in the economy many workers have seen their hours and income reduced. This causes many families to live from hand to mouth on a month to month, or week to week basis. If then one of the breadwinners, or the breadwinner, loses his job entirely, this leads to a financial emergency that leaves the worker and his dependents without income or savings to pay for food or rent.

    In these situations, knowing how long you have to wait to receive your unemployment benefits becomes a matter of survival.

    How long does it take?

    A lot depends on how long you take to claim for unemployment benefits. You should file your claim the first week after the period covered by your last payment. Most of us are paid in arrears, so you can often make your claim the same day you receive your last payment.

    Waiting week.

    Once you claim for your unemployment you will have to go through what is called a waiting period week. This is the first week you file for in your initial claim. You will not get paid for this week, but you must claim for it in order to get your benefits.

    It is important to not this does not mean you have to wait a week after losing your job to file your claim. The waiting week occurs after you file your claim.

    The “waiting period week” is the first week you file for and are otherwise eligible. You will never receive payment for this first week. However, it must be claimed to be counted. It does not mean you should wait a week before you file the claim.


    You should receive your check before the second week from your claim ends. If you do not get your check or direct debit transfer within 14 days of filing your claim you should contact the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, something is wrong.

    File Online

    Although there is no real difference between claiming online or by telephone for your weekly benefits, if you claim online you will not be restricted by the telephone system’s staggered Monday/Tuesday claim system. If you file online you can do it Sunday, a day or two earlier, depending on what “telephone day” you are assigned.

    Once you start receiving your continued claim payments, your checks or bank transfers should arrive the same day every week. However, allow for 48 hours if you claim by telephone.

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