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North Dakota Unemployment Benefits

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The North Dakota unemployment is available statewide to workers who have lost their jobs due to circumstances they could not control. Unemployment insurance is a support initiative that is also commonly referred to as unemployment compensation (UC). Applicants who successfully file an unemployment claim are eligible to receive program funds they may use to support themselves and their dependents during the time they are out of work.

Candidates seeking unemployment insurance coverage in ND must keep in mind this program is temporary, no matter the circumstances that led to job loss. As a result, claimants are only eligible to receive UC benefits for a limited period of time. The sections that follow explain how petitioners can demonstrate their eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits and what they need to submit along with their applications. The information below also addresses how petitioners can prepare for their UC interviews and what steps they can take to appeal unfavorable UI rulings.

What is unemployment in North Dakota?

Local workers who are experiencing bouts of unemployment in North Dakota may be eligible to enroll for UC benefits if they meet specific requirements. These prerequisites generally relate to various topics, including the reasons they are no longer working and how much income they earned in previous calendar quarters. While these requirements are in-depth, petitioners who meet these stipulations are eligible to receive unemployment insurance coverage for a specific period of time. Most UI recipients are given benefits for at least 12 weeks. However, the maximum amount of time enrollees may collect on an unemployment claim during a single calendar year is 26 weeks.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in North Dakota?

The North Dakota eligibility for unemployment requirements are the same whether petitioners apply in Fargo, Williston or anywhere in between. When determining unemployment insurance eligibility, the state department examines various aspects of petitioners’ portfolios to assess their candidacy. The first of these requirements relates to financial eligibility.

There are certain monetary qualifications for unemployment that petitioners must meet. To determine if applicants satisfy this requirement, the department must first establish claimants’ base periods. Base periods consist of the first four of the last five fulfilled calendar quarters. The department begins assessing these terms in relation to when claimants apply for UC. For example, candidates’ base periods break down as follows:

  • January, February, March: Petitioners who apply in these months have base periods that began two Octobers ago.
  • April, May, June: Claimants who submit their materials during these months have base periods that started in January last year.
  • July, August, September: Applicants who file their UC claims at these times have base periods that commenced two Aprils ago.
  • October, November, December: Candidates who petition for UI benefits during one of these months have base periods that began in last year’s July.

Once petitioners establish their base periods, they can begin assessing whether or not they meet the ND UI eligibility requirements. To qualify for UC, claimants must have earned a specific amount of income during that time. This exact amount is determined by the state, and applicants receive monetary determination notices that inform them of their weekly and maximum benefit amounts.

Eligibility for unemployment prerequisites also address non-financial criteria. One of the most important topics the state will examine is how the claimants became unemployed. Qualifications for UC indicate that petitioners must be unemployed for reasons they did not initiate. Qualified applicants may not have quit because they did not like their positions and they cannot have been fired for misconduct. Beyond these requirements, the department also has additional eligibility requirements it takes into account. Specifically, the department assesses whether or not petitioners:

  • Are proactively searching for alternative employment opportunities.
  • Have the physical ability to work.
  • Maintain schedules that permit them to work full-time.

How can I sign up for unemployment in North Dakota?

It is imperative that petitioners learn how to apply for unemployment online or over the phone before they begin their applications. Having a thorough understanding of the UC petition process helps ensure candidates are able to properly submit their materials on their first attempts. Whether electing to apply by telephone or by submitting an online application for unemployment in ND, candidates need to provide specific information, including:

  • Identifying information: Applicants are required to submit their Social Security Numbers. This helps prove the candidates filing their claims are who they claim to be.
  • Employment history: Petitioners must supply summaries of their employment histories for the past 18 months. As part of this step, claimants need to report the names, addresses and phone numbers for the places they worked in the previous year and a half.
  • Acceptable wages: Claimants must disclose the wages they are willing to accept in their next employment opportunities. This is an important question because it shows the department if candidates have realistic financial expectations regarding their next jobs.

Who must provide additional information?

All candidates who apply for unemployment benefits are required to provide this information. However, petitioners who meet the following criteria must provide additional information:

  • Petitioners born abroad but who are legally authorized to work in the United States are required to submit their alien registration numbers.
  • Union members must report their local union names and numbers.
  • Former military employees are required to provide their Member-4 copy of the DD Form 214.
  • Federal civilian workers need to submit their SF-8 or SF-50.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in North Dakota?

Candidates may be required to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in North Dakota, which may occur after application submission. While not always necessary, the unemployment phone interview is common. These conversations are necessary when the department has questions regarding petitioners’ eligibility. Generally, these points of contention relate to why claimants are currently unemployed. In some instances, the department may also need to conduct an unemployment interview with the employer as well. However, these conversations always take place at separate times than the claimants’ interviews.

Many petitioners wonder about the questions asked during unemployment interview sessions. Candidates should be ready for questions pertaining to the information asked on the application. Applicants should also keep in mind that their eligibility is judged based on salary and willingness to work, along with other factors. Candidates may prepare for the UC interview by having on hand any documentation that directly supports their claims. Examples include:

  • Employment dates: The department is concerned with facts. Therefore, petitioners can substantiate their claims by having concrete facts prepared to share with their interviewers. In most cases, the department representatives need to know when applicants worked at particular jobs. Having these dates ready can help make the interview run more smoothly.
  • Employee handbook: If petitioners need to address specific job requirements or employee policies, having a copy of the handbook during the UC interview is beneficial. Claimants can further prepare by tabbing or marking specific points they want to mention during their interviews.
  • Written warnings: The UI interviewer may inquire about the circumstances that led to the employees’ departures from their jobs. If candidates have copies of any warnings or write-ups their supervisors issued, they should have these ready for their interviews.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in North Dakota?

To successfully claim unemployment benefits in North Dakota, petitioners must file weekly certifications. This process may be completed online or over the phone. Candidates must complete this step each week they receive UC funds. When claiming benefits for unemployment, enrollees must answer questions relating to the following topics:

  • Were you available to work full-time?
  • Work: Did you work at all during the week? If so, what did you earn?
  • Refusals: Did you refuse any job offers throughout the week? If yes, why?

When enrollees maintain an unemployment benefits claim in ND, they are also required to make valid work search contacts. Most candidates are required to reach out to at least four employers each week. However, this number may vary depending on the petitioner. To complete this step, enrollees must disclose who they contacted, how they reached out, when they communicated with the employers and whether or not their efforts yielded results.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment in North Dakota?

Petitioners who are denied unemployment in North Dakota are legally entitled to appeal these decisions. Likewise, if employers disagree with the departments’ determinations, they may also request that these assessments be reevaluated. In either case, these appeals must be submitted in writing to the Appeals Section of the Job Service North Dakota. Parties’ unique appeals deadlines are printed on the initial notices of determination they receive from the state.

A candidate who wants to file an unemployment denial appeal can do so by submitting a request:

  • Online via the state’s website portal.
  • In-person to a Job Service office.
  • Through the mail.

Petitioners and their employers receive mailed notices of their hearing times and dates once their denied UI appeals hearings have been set. These hearings typically take place over the telephone, so parties do not need to plan for face-to-face-hearings. However, it is still imperative that these participants prepare for their trials.

How to prepare for denied unemployment benefits appeals hearings?

To prepare for the denied unemployment benefits appeals hearings, petitioners who would like to have witnesses testify for them should make these necessary arrangements in advance. Furthermore, candidates must also gather any documentation they have that supports their claims. Examples of potential documents petitioners may submit to support their cases include:

  • Job statements that detail their separations.
  • Attendance and tardiness records.
  • Any written warnings their supervisors or human resources representatives issued.
  • Job search records the petitioners have completed since submitting their initial applications.

All ND denied unemployment hearings take place before 3:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT). The Appeals Section referees call all participating parties at their designated times. These hearings generally last between 30 and 45 minutes. Between one calendar week and 10 days from when these hearings conclude, the appeals referees issue their notices of determination to claimants and their employers. However, if either group disagrees with these decisions, they may request subsequent appeals. These additional petitions must be directed to the bureau.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in North Dakota?  

Program participants may only access a federal unemployment extension in North Dakota when Congress approves of these continuations. When an unemployment benefits extension is offered, it is either available on a state-by-state basis or on a national scale. However, an unemployment extension is not usually available. These extensions are only available during periods when there are more individuals without jobs than under normal conditions, such as a recession.

When an unemployment compensation extension is available, enrollees are eligible to receive UC benefits beyond the state’s 26-week maximum. This program is specifically available to petitioners who have already depleted their enrollment maximum for the particular calendar year. Qualified candidates are notified when these opportunities become available so they may take advantage of these extended benefits.

How do I contact the North Dakota unemployment office?

The North Dakota unemployment office offers information to prospective applicants and their employers online, over the phone or in person. Individuals may contact the department using any one of these contact methods. There is a UI office in many major cities throughout the state, and candidates who are close to these locations may visit during business hours. The unemployment insurance office in Bismarck can be visited at:

1601 E. Century Avenue

Bismarck, ND 58503


What is UI ICE?

UI ICE is North Dakota’s Internet Claims Entry system. On this website, individuals can file for unemployment, certify weekly eligibility, access unemployment information, complete reemployment activities and much more.

When should I apply for unemployment in North Dakota?

As soon as possible. The best time to apply for unemployment in any state is within the first week of losing your job. Your unemployment benefits will not cover the time from when you lost your job to when you filed your first claim.

Can I receive unemployment payments if I quit my job?

Yes. Although unemployment insurance is usually issued to those individuals who are fired through no fault of their own, there are certain circumstances where an individual can quit their job and still qualify for unemployment benefits.

What do I need to do after I file my claim?

You will need to log into your UI ICE account and certify each week of unemployment. This means you will need to provide the state with the information needed in order to continue receiving your weekly benefits.

North Dakota Unemployment Office Locations