Hensel Law represents clients involved in unemployment benefits appeals.
Prospective clients often contact our office looking for information about the state’s unemployment insurance process as managed by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security (“DES”). Please read the following to answer some of the general questions you may have:
Filing a Claim
What is required to file?
You may file for benefits if you are recently unemployed through no fault of your own, you can register for and actively seek work, and you are able to accept work if it was offered to you. You must also be eligible for benefits by having worked for employers paying unemployment insurance taxes and by not having disqualified yourself through either substantial fault or misconduct.
How do I file?
The quickest ways to file are either online at https://desncc.com/deshome or over the phone at (877) 841-9617. You may also use these points of contact later to complete your weekly certifications, which are required for you to continue receiving benefits.
When do I know if I get benefits and how much they’ll be?
DES cannot determine the exact amount and duration of your benefits until you file your claim, but a benefit calculator does exist on their website to estimate possible unemployment payments. Wages from an existing part-time job or a severance payment may offset the amount of benefits for which you are eligible. Currently, the maximum weekly benefit amount you can receive is $350.00 per week, with your benefit period ranging from five to twenty weeks. After you have filed, you will receive paperwork from the DES outlining your weekly benefit amount and the duration of your benefit period. If eligible and qualified, benefits are then paid for that set period via direct deposit or debit card.
Appealing a Claim (Where We Come In)
What if my first determination says I am disqualified from benefits (employee) or that I must pay benefits (employer)?
As an employee, if your initial determination letter says that you were separated from your work due to substantial fault or misconduct, you have a right of appeal. As an employer, if you believe an employee was separated from your work for just cause, you may also file an appeal. Hensel Law represents parties in appeals hearings for an affordable flat fee.
What is the basic appeals process?
You file a written statement challenging DES’s determination. An appeal from an initial determination will then be assigned to an appeals referee, who will then schedule an appeals hearing either telephonically or in-person at a local hearing office, depending on the appellant’s request. After the hearing, the DES official will issue a decision. If you still disagree with the hearing officer’s decision, there is another level of administrative appeals where higher DES authorities review your claim. After that level, the appeals process flows into the judicial review process, which includes the NC Superior Court, NC Court of Appeals, and NC Supreme Court.
What happens at a hearing?
Hearings will be presided over by either an appeals referee or another DES hearing officer. This officer listens to the interested parties’ testimony, including that of any witnesses, and accepts evidence for review. As your legal representatives, Hensel Law, PLLC may subpoena necessary information, documents, and witnesses, if applicable, prior to this hearing.
What if I win?
In the case of employees, DES may award your full eligible benefits or may award benefits with a time-based penalty. In the case of employers, the claimant will be barred from receiving benefits or may only receive benefits for a shortened time frame.
What if I lose?
As an employee, if you begin to receive benefits, but are later determined to be disqualified after losing an appeal, you will be subject to repayment of any benefits already received. If an employer, the claimant may begin to receive benefits, thereby affecting your unemployment insurances taxes. However, as mentioned above, you will normally have another right of appeal.
For answers to your unemployment benefits questions and to set up a consultation, call a Hensel Law attorney today at (336) 218-6466.
NC DES Youtube Channel – A collection of videos discussing the unemployment benefits process from the DES itself.
NC DES Homepage – The website for NC DES. Contains information and links to help you along.