North Dakota Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Learn about the criteria you must meet to be eligible for unemployment benefits in North Dakota, and learn how to calculate the benefit amount and duration.

In North Dakota, most employers are required to pay into the state's unemployment insurance tax. This money goes into a fund; when you make an unemployment claim, the government disburses cash from the fund to help while you look for work. This program helps stabilize the economy, even when times are tough.

The North Dakota Job Service runs the state's unemployment program; it handles employee claims and ensures that employers comply with the law.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota?

When deciding whether you're eligible for unemployment benefits, North Dakota looks at two sets of criteria: non-monetary and monetary.

Non-Monetary Requirements

North Dakota's non-monetary criteria require you to be:

  • Out of a job for a covered reason, such as a layoff
  • Physically able to work
  • Available to work full-time
  • Actively looking for a new job

The "available to work" requirement can be tricky — it means there's nothing stopping you from working full-time, including childcare, transportation and travel. You must also be willing to take a job that suits your qualifications and experience.

Monetary Requirements

North Dakota's monetary requirements are based on the base period. To calculate it, find the last five completed calendar-year quarters. The state will use the first four as the standard base period. 

Month claim filed

Standard base period is the previous:

Quarter 1: January, February, March

October 1 - September 30 

Quarter 2: April, May, June

January 1 - December 31

Quarter 3: July, August, September

April 1 - March 31

Quarter 4: October, November, December

July 1 - June 30

If you don't meet the income minimums in that period, the Job Service will consider the four most recent complete quarters; this is called the alternate base period.

During your base period, you must have:

  • Earned an income in at least two quarters
  • Brought in a total amount that's at least 1.5 times the income of your highest-earning quarter
  • Made at least $2,795 total during your highest-earning 2.5 quarters

Keep in mind that this income minimum changes every July; check the unemployment benefit chart to find the current amount.

Other Factors That Affect Your Eligibility for Unemployment

The Job Service has the right to disqualify you for unemployment. Usually, this decision is related to the reason you left your job. 

Potential reasons for disqualification include:

  • You quit voluntarily and without good cause
  • You were fired for misconduct
  • You're unemployed because of a labor dispute (with exceptions)
  • You aren't legally allowed to work in the United States
  • You're attending school or a training program (with exceptions)

How Do You Maintain Eligibility?

The initial qualification process can help you start an unemployment claim. After that, North Dakota asks you to recertify every week — this process lets the state know you're still eligible, how much you should get in benefits and that you're complying with the terms of the program.

The weekly certification process can be completed online or by phone. Expect to answer questions about eligibility, report earnings and log job search activities.

Every week you receive unemployment, the Job Service expects you to make three approved job contacts. Each contact should be for a job you're willing and able to perform, and the position must offer at least as many hours as your base-period job.

Acceptable job search activities include:

  • Applying for a job in person
  • Submitting a resume or application online or by mail
  • Calling an employer about an open job and leaving your contact information

How Do You Apply for North Dakota Unemployment Benefits?

In North Dakota, you should apply for unemployment the same week you lose your job. When you're ready to file, collect your ID numbers and work history, and follow this process:

  1. Create an account on the North Dakota UI ICE website.
  2. File a claim online or by phone at (701) 328-4995. If you're filing by phone, keep in mind that the service is unavailable between 10:00 p.m. and midnight.
  3. Enter details about your identity, past employers and income. Choose whether you want to receive payment by direct deposit or a Way2Go Mastercard debit card. 
  4. Within 10 days of filing, visit ND Workforce Connection to register for work. Create an account, making sure to add your social security number — this links your profile to your claim. Then, upload or create a resume, and set its status to active.
  5. Complete a certification every week throughout your UI ICE account.

How Much Do You Get From North Dakota Unemployment?

Your unemployment benefit amount depends on how much money you earned during the base period. In particular, the Job Service takes the earnings from your highest 2.5 quarters and divides them by 65.

If your base-period earnings are:

  • Quarter 1: $4,000
  • Quarter 2: $5,000
  • Quarter 3: $4,500
  • Quarter 4: $5,200

The state adds Quarter 4 ($5,200), Quarter 2 ($5,000) and half of Quarter 3 ($4,500/2 = $2,250) to get $12,450. Then, it divides $12,450 by 65 to get $191.54 and rounds down to $191 — your maximum weekly benefit amount.

You can also see your benefit amount on the current unemployment benefit chart. The minimum is $43, and the maximum is $657.

How Long Can You Get Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota?

Find out how long you can receive unemployment by adding your income from all four quarters of your base year. Then, divide it by the income in your highest-earning quarter.

For the example above, you'd use the following equation:

$4,000 + $5,000 + $4,500 + $5,200 = $18,700 / $5,200 = 3.59

This number is your ratio. At the bottom of the unemployment benefit chart, go to the Duration section and find your ratio. Under Number of Weeks, you can see how long you're eligible to receive benefits. The minimum is 12 weeks, and the maximum is 26 weeks.

What Can Affect Your Benefit Amount?

In some cases, the North Dakota Job Service may deduct money from your weekly benefit amount. This can happen when you:

  • Owe court-ordered child support
  • Get income from a pension, retirement account or annuity
  • Request tax withholding from your benefit

What Happens if Unemployment Claims in North Dakota Are Denied?

If North Dakota Job Services denies your unemployment claim, state law allows you to appeal the determination. To start, look for the appeal timeline on the letter you received — you must complete the process before the deadline.

The initial step is the first-stage appeal. You can submit it online through your UI ICE account, by mail to the address on your determination letter or by fax to (701) 328-2728. The Job Service will mail you a Notice of Hearing with a time, phone number and date for a phone hearing. You'll have the opportunity to present testimony, witnesses and evidence during the hearing.

If you disagree with the results of the hearing, you can request a bureau review within 12 days. The Executive Director of the Job Service will review the record and make a final decision.

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