Cooper announces first COVID-19 benefits will be paid this week

Published 6:01 pm Sunday, March 29, 2020


On Sunday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the first payments for the unemployment claims related to coronavirus will begin going out this week.

The Division of Employment Security has received an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims since Cooper signed Executive Order No. 118 March 17.

In the past two weeks, approximately 270,000 claims have been filed, with most of them related to COVID-19. For comparison, the state received about 7,500 claims in the first two weeks of March, before the order was issued.

“Thousands of workers have lost jobs, but their bills don’t stop. My administration is working overtime to get unemployment checks out now. We’ll keep pushing every day for more state and federal help to save our workers and their families,” said Cooper.

On Saturday, the governor directed the Division of Employment Security to begin implementing the unemployment insurance provisions of the federal CARES Act. The Division of Employment of Security expects to receive guidance from the federal government later this week about how to implement the changes, including the change that allows for an additional $600 in unemployment benefits. The state expects those payments to begin approximately two weeks after that guidance is provided.

Workers applying for benefits must complete their weekly certifications in order to receive unemployment insurance payments. The weekly certification is a series of yes or no questions that helps determine a person’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits each week. If a person does not complete a weekly certification, they will not receive a payment for that week.

The weekly certification must be completed through the individual’s online account at


For general questions about unemployment benefits in North Carolina during the COVID-19 crisis, contact the Division of Employment Security.

Employees with questions about the application and benefits can read more about requirements and steps to get an unemployment benefit payment here:

To report technical difficulties using the online tools provided by the Division of Employment Security, contact the office via the form at

For more information and additional guidance on regulations and recommendations related to the health threat from COVID-19, visit the NCDHHS website at and CDC’s website at