Published in: Banks | March 30, 2020

How to Apply for Unemployment in North Dakota

By:  Kailey Hagen

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COVID-19 is placing a financial strain on many North Dakotans, but unemployment can help.

Thousands of North Dakota workers are at home instead of at work due to the business closures intended to promote social distancing. This is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it also has some major drawbacks -- namely, the loss of a steady paycheck for a lot of workers. 

Many people are facing some difficult financial decisions as a result, but unemployment benefits may help. This guide explains everything you need to know about applying for unemployment in North Dakota, including who qualifies and how much you can expect.

The North Dakota state flag flying on a flagpole.

Image source: Getty Images

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

North Dakota workers should meet the following requirements to claim unemployment benefits:

  1. You have had your hours reduced or lost your income through no fault of your own.
  2. You're willing and able to work and actively seeking employment (see note below).
  3. You meet the state's monetary eligibility requirements, explained below.

North Dakota has waived the work-search requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you still have to meet the other requirements to qualify.

The state evaluates your income during a base period, which is the first four of the most recent five completed quarters. For those who apply in March 2020, that's October 2018 to September 2019 and for those who apply in April, it's January to December 2019. 

You must have earned income in at least three of these four quarters and you must have earned a total of $2,795 or more during your 2.5 highest quarters.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

Create an account on the North Dakota Job Service website to apply for unemployment benefits. You'll need to know:

  • Your Social Security number or Alien Registration Number
  • The name, address, and phone number of every employer you worked for in the last 18 months
  • The wage you are willing to accept 
  • Bank account information for direct deposit

You must log into your account weekly to request benefits and ensure your continued eligibility, beginning within 13 days of the Saturday of the week that you made your application.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

You'll receive anywhere from $43 per week to $618 per week in unemployment benefits. This is approximately the total of your highest two and one-half quarters in your base period earnings divided by 65. You can use this Benefits Estimator spreadsheet to estimate how much you can expect. Be aware that you will need to pay tax on unemployment benefits.

The government's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will entitle claimants to an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020. This is on top of your North Dakota allowance.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

You can claim North Dakota unemployment benefits for at least 12 weeks and possibly up to 26 weeks. If you use the Benefits Estimator spreadsheet above, it should tell you the maximum number of weeks you can claim benefits based on your base period income.

Keep in mind that the CARES Act extends your benefit period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

Keep in mind that you must stop claiming unemployment benefits if you find new employment.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

You can file an appeal online or in writing, but you must do so by the date listed on your benefit determination, which you'll receive in the mail after you apply. The form will explain how to begin the appeals process.

If your income has been hit by COVID-19, consider applying for unemployment benefits and investigating other forms of financial assistance. It could help to ease your financial burden so you can focus on keeping yourself and your family safe during these challenging times.

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