How Long Does it Take to Get Your Emergency Unemployment Debit Card in North Carolina?

North Carolina offers its unemployed residents assistance through debit cards.
North Carolina offers its unemployed residents assistance through debit cards. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Eligible unemployed workers in North Carolina now have the option to receive their benefits through a debit card instead of direct deposit or check. Those who are unfamiliar with the process often have questions regarding where to go, how much they qualify for and for how long, as well as how long it takes to receive benefits.

Initial Claims

Newly unemployed workers must apply for unemployment benefits as soon as possible; workers who receive a severance package can't apply until those payments are completed. After the initial application for unemployment benefits has been accepted, the unemployed worker must wait a week--known as the "waiting week"--to receive his first payment. North Carolina's unemployment website states that applicants should contact the state Employment Security Commission if the payment, made through a special debit card, doesn't arrive within 14 days.

Subsequent Claims

Residents who already have a debit card and are applying for continued claims should wait 48 hours before checking their benefit status, if the claim was filed by telephone. If the employer files the claim on the worker's behalf or the worker files via mail, then the payment can take as long as five days to post. If a North Carolina resident is concerned about the status of his claim, he can view his benefit history on the website, as well.

Debit Card Information

North Carolina's unemployment debit card has a value that's limited to your unemployment payment. Recipients may not add money to their cards, and they may not overdraw them either. North Carolina does not impose fees on card usage, although recipients should be sure to use their cards at approved locations to avoid ATM fees. If the recipient loses the card or it is stolen, it can be replaced. The card has a MasterCard logo and can be used anywhere that the logo is displayed.

Determining the Card Balance

Unemployed workers can verify the available balance on the unemployment debit card in one of three ways. The first choice is online, at The second choice is to call the customer service number that's written on the back of the card. Finally, the card owner can use the ATM and select the "balance inquiry" option. Unemployment payments are automatically deposited onto the card after the weekly claim has been approved.

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