North Dakota Unemployment Benefits Guide

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
February 21, 2018


Job Service North Dakota administers the unemployment insurance benefits program in North Dakota.  It is designed to help workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own by providing temporary income until they are able to find work.  Employers pay all program costs.  There are no deductions made from employee paychecks to fund program costs.

How Unemployment Benefits work in North Dakota

Here’s an overview of how the unemployment insurance process works in North Dakota.

  1. Before you apply for benefits, you must all requirements.  These include being unemployed through no fault of your own, being able and available to go to work, conducting an active and ongoing job search, and several others.
  2. Apply for unemployment insurance.  To assure that you begin receiving benefits in a timely manner, you should start your claims process as soon as possible.  You can apply online at the North Dakota Job Service website.
  3. Determine the amount and duration of your benefit.   North Dakota pays benefits for 12 to 26 weeks depending on a number of factors.  The amount you are entitled to will be mailed to you in a Determination Letter after you file an initial claim.
  4. Know how and when you will be paid. North Dakota unemployment benefit recipients can receive benefits electronically through the use of a debit card or they can have benefits direct deposited into their bank account.
  5. Conduct an ongoing job search.   You must conduct an ongoing job search and you must document your efforts and report them to collect benefits.  You must also register with the Employ Florida Marketplace before claiming weeks of unemployment.  If you are offered a suitable job, but turn it down, you could lose your benefits. In addition, when you go back to work, you must report that information to the Reemployment Assistance Program immediately.
  6. You can file an appeal if you are denied benefits.   If you are denied unemployment benefits, Florida allows you to file an online appeal, by mail, or by fax. You will have 20 days to do so from the time you receive your determination notice. After receiving your appeal, the agency will schedule a telephone hearing and an appeals referee will rule on your case. A decision will then be mailed to you.

Eligibility requirements

You must meet several eligibility requirements to receive unemployment insurance benefits in North Dakota:

  • You must have worked for an employer who is liable under the North Dakota Unemployment Insurance program. Not all employers are considered liable or covered employers. Liable employers are required to pay Unemployment Insurance taxes on the wages that they pay out.
  • You must be unemployed or partially unemployed for the week(s) you are claiming benefits.  You can receive some benefits if you are working part-time and earn less that your weekly benefit amount.
  • You must be physically able to work when you file your claim.
  • You must be available for work when you file your claim.  If such things as lack of transportation or lack of child care prevent you from being able to take a job, you are not considered available for work and you will not be eligible to receive benefits. If you are out of the area for vacation or personal business other than job seeking, you are not eligible to receive benefits for the time you are gone.
  • You must be willing to accept suitable employment for which you are qualified.
  • If you are not returning to the employer that laid you off, you are required to search for work and make job contacts.  You must register for work by completing at least one online resume at within 10 days of filing or reopening your claim.
  • If you reside in another state and do not normally commute to work in North Dakota, you must register for employment at the nearest public employment office in your state of residence.
  • You must complete weekly certifications in a timely manner to continue to receive benefits.
  • You must respond to all requests for information by designated deadlines.
  • You must complete your online Eligibility Reviews and online Reemployment Activities on UI ICE.
  • If you have been selected to participate in Case Management activities, contact your Case Manager on the date and time scheduled.
  • Your online resume expires after 90 days.  You must log on and update it before it expires to keep claiming benefits.
  •  Notify Job Service North Dakota before you leave the state. You will be instructed how to continue your claim once you are living out of state.
  • When you certify a week of unemployment, you must report all of your earnings for the week. If in doubt about when to report earnings, you should report the earnings and then contact Job Service North Dakota at 701-328-4995.
  • You must report gross earnings, not net earnings unless otherwise specified. Gross earnings are earnings prior to payroll deductions. To report your earnings, take the number of hours worked and multiply them by your hourly wage.  Earnings should be reported in the week earned, not the week paid.  The types of earnings you should report, include:
  • Regular pay
  • Holiday pay
  • Sick Leave pay
  • Vacation pay
  • Bonus pay
  • Severance
  • Disability Insurance payments
  • Commissions
  • Income from self-employment

Why you might be disqualified from receiving benefits

There are many reasons why you may be disqualified from receiving benefits.  Some of those include:

  • You quit voluntarily without good cause
  • Misconduct, such as for the violation of a posted or known company rule, insubordination, theft, or destruction of company property.
  • Labor dispute
  • Failure to respond to requests for information from Job Service North Dakota
  • Failure to properly claim benefits
  • Alien status.  If you are not a citizen of the United States or not legally authorized to work in the country, you could be denied benefits.
  • Not available or actively looking for work
  • You did not meet monetary qualifications
  • You refused to accept suitable work
  • You started to attend schooling or training that has not been approved by Job Service North Dakota.

How to apply for benefits

Before you apply

Before you file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits in North Dakota, you will need to gather some information that will be used to process your claim.  You will need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your current mailing address
  • Your phone number
  • The names, addresses and phone number for all your employers for the past 18 months
  • The dates you worked at those employers
  • The reason you left each employer
  • An alien registration number of Visa number if you are not a U.S. citizen

Filing an initial claim

You can file your claim, complete weekly certifications and check the status of your claim by telephone or on the Internet.

Access Unemployment Insurance services by going to the Unemployment Insurance Internet Claim Entry (UI ICE) system link.

You can also call the Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at 701-328- 4995.

Both the UI ICE Internet system and the telephone system are unavailable from 10 p.m. until midnight Central Time Monday through Friday and periodically between midnight and 6 a.m. Central Time.

The Unemployment Insurance Claims Center is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

If you call outside of normal business hours, you can complete the questions over the telephone, but will need to call back during regular business hours to speak with a Claims Representative to complete your claim.

The last page of the Internet application will be your confirmation page. It will show that your claim or certification has been completed and give you a confirmation number. Make sure to print a copy of the confirmation page.

Your claim is effective the Sunday of the week you file your claim. You cannot backdate your claim.

Your claim has a 52-week period called your benefit year. Once your benefits are exhausted for your benefit year, you will have to wait until the benefit year is over to file a new claim in North Dakota.

If you worked in North Dakota and in more than one state, you may be able to combine your wages and file a North Dakota claim.

If you are a former member of the Armed Forces, you may be entitled to Unemployment Insurance depending upon the length of your service and the nature of your discharge. If you separated from the Armed Forces within the last two years, have your DD-214 available when filing your claim.

If your Unemployment Insurance is based on your federal civilian wages, Job Service will receive reports from the federal agency verifying your status, wage records and official duty station. To ensure that the proper federal agency was contacted, please provide a copy of your SF-8.

The first week that you establish a claim for benefits is generally your waiting week.  No benefits are paid for that week. However, you must still certify that week and meet all other eligibility requirements to be eligible for future benefits. A waiting week is required based on state law and enables Job Service the opportunity to obtain the necessary information to ensure the proper payment of benefits.

After you file an initial claim, you will receive a Determination Letter within five days This letter will outline wages reported for you by your employer(s) during your "base period."

If you have earned enough wages, you are considered "monetarily eligible." The letter will reflect your weekly benefit amount and how many weeks you are eligible to receive payments.

If your wages include military wages, federal civilian wages or wages earned in another state, you will receive another monetary determination when your wages are received.

Filing weekly claims

After you file your initial Unemployment Insurance claim, you must complete weekly certifications and meet all eligibility requirements to receive benefits for each week.

You can complete your weekly certification online or by phone. If you complete your certification online, you will find the link to certify under My To Do List on the Main Menu of UI ICE.

You must complete your certifications within 13 days of the Saturday of the week in which you started your claim; or certify within 13 days of the Saturday of the last week you had previously certified.

If you do not complete your certification by these timeframes, you will not be able to receive benefits for the week and you will be required to reopen your claim prior to receiving any further benefits.

All weeks must be certified in order, without a break. Even if you know that you were not eligible during a specific week, you should certify the week if you plan on certifying the following week.

After your certification, if you are eligible, your payment is processed the following business day. If you certify on a weekend, your payment is processed on Tuesday.

You can earn up to 60% of your weekly benefit amount without affecting the weekly benefit you receive. Every dollar over 60% is deducted dollar for dollar, until you earn your weekly benefit amount. If you earn wages equal to or greater than your weekly benefit amount, no payments will be issued for the week.

How much will I receive?

Your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) is based upon wages earned during the Base Period of your claim.

Your approximate WBA will be the total of your highest two and one-half quarters of base period earnings divided by 65. The maximum and the minimum benefit amounts are determined by law and are subject to change each July.

A benefit chart is available for your review here.

Your wages are also used to help determine the duration of your claim and the maximum benefit amount you can receive. The duration ratio, determined by law, establishes the number of weeks that you will receive benefits, and ranges from 12 to 26 weeks.

After filing your claim, you will receive a Monetary Determination that outlines your Weekly Benefit Amount and the duration of your Unemployment Insurance claim. You should receive your Monetary Determination within 5 business days of filing your claim.

The amount of Unemployment Insurance that you can receive is based on the wages paid to you during your Base Period. Base period is defined as the 12-month period consisting of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding the date that you filed your claim.

If you filed your claim in calendar month:
Your base period is the previous:
January, February, MarchOctober 1 through September 30
April, May, JuneJanuary 1 through December 31
July, August, SeptemberApril 1 through March 31
October, November, DecemberJuly 1 through June 30

When and how will I be paid?

You can choose to receive your benefits either through direct deposit or by having benefits loaded on a debit card.

By default, benefit payments are paid automatically via the ReliaCard Visa debit card. You will receive your debit card in a plain white envelope with a Fargo, N.D., return address. Your debit card enrollment is created after you certify for your first payable week. It takes several days to create and mail your card. Once you receive the card, you will need to call the ReliaCard Customer Service number at 1-866-276-5114 to activate your card.

Job Service North Dakota will deposit benefit payments on your card each time you certify and are found eligible for payment. These payments will be placed on your card within 2 to 3 business days.

You can check the balance on your debit card for no charge at, by calling 1-866-276-5114 or on a U.S. Bank or MoneyPass ATM.

If you would like your Unemployment Insurance benefits via direct deposit into your existing checking or savings account, you will need to go online on the UI ICE system and select the Payment Options tab. Once you select direct deposit, you will be asked to choose checking or savings and enter your routing and account number. Your benefit payments will be transferred to your account within 2 to 3 business days after you complete your weekly certification and are found eligible for payment.

In some cases, deductions may be made to your weekly benefit amount. This may include child support payments pension payments or taxes, if you so designate.

Unemployment Insurance benefits are fully taxable; however, income tax is not withheld from your Unemployment Insurance benefits unless you request withholding. If you request that federal taxes be withheld, Job Service North Dakota will withhold 10% of your gross amount for taxes. You may also request North Dakota state tax be withheld at a rate of 2% of your gross amount.

Looking for a job while claiming benefits

While you are claiming benefits, you must conduct an active and ongoing job search.

If you are not returning to the employer that laid you off, and/or you are required to search for work and make job contacts, you must register for work by completing at least one online resume at within 10 days of filing or reopening your claim. Failure to complete or update your online resume will result in a stop on your claim and may result in a loss of benefits.

If you reside in North Dakota or normally commute to work in North Dakota, you must complete a resume at The resume must reflect the type of work that you most recently completed. It must be accessible to employers, include your name, contact information and employment history.  For assistance with creating an employer friendly resume, go to your nearest Job Service North Dakota office.

If you reside in another state and do not normally commute to work in North Dakota, you must register for employment at the nearest public employment office in your state of residence.

You must actively search for work for each week you wish to receive benefits, including your waiting week. Begin making your job contacts in the same week that you apply for benefits.

You are required to make a minimum of 2 acceptable job contacts in each calendar week

Job contacts are contacts you make with employers for positions you are willing to accept. You may contact employers in person, by mailing a resume or job application, or online via the Internet. Telephone contacts are only acceptable if the employer requests it as the preferred method of contact.

A selection of job contacts is verified by Job Service to ensure that acceptable contacts are being made. In-person job contacts must be made with the company’s hiring authority. All other job contacts must be made in the manner dictated by the employer.

Job contacts are not acceptable if you do not know the identity of the employer, if the contact is with a networking contact not in a hiring capacity, if the contact is made for the purpose of obtaining self-employment, or if you post a resume with an online recruiting firm without applying for a specific position. Job Contacts are also not acceptable if the contact is for the same job for which you already applied. For example, if you apply one week for a specific job and the next week you have an interview for the same job, this is considered one job contact.

Regardless of how many times you apply for different jobs with an employer during an eligibility review period, an employer can only be listed as a contact twice during each 4-week eligibility review period.

Maintain a record of your job contacts.  Include the date the contact was made, the company name, company address and phone number, the person or Web site with which the contact was made, the type of work applied for, and the result of the contact. For verification purposes, it is important to have the address and phone number of the employer you contacted.

You are required to keep a record of your job contacts for one year. These records must be stored for this period of time in case you are selected for an audit of your claim.

Suitable Work

Job Service North Dakota generally will not consider work to be suitable if:

The work presents a degree of risk to your health, safety or morals.
The work is not compatible with your prior training and experience, unless your regular work does not exist in your labor market area, and dependent upon previous work, travel arrangements, and work history.
The work is outside your labor market area, unless opportunities for employment do not exist within your labor market area.
The wages, hours, or other conditions of employment are substantially less than those common to the occupation in your labor market.
The work is available because of a strike or labor dispute.

If you have been receiving Unemployment Insurance benefit payments for 18 consecutive weeks, the standard of suitable work changes.

If you are not returning to the employer that laid you off and/or if you are required to search for work and make job contacts, you may receive a notification from Job Service that you have been selected to complete online reemployment services. The letter outlines the date the first service is due. Reemployment services may include reading or viewing information about topics such as Coping with Job Loss, Job Seeking and Creating Cover Letters and Resumes.

You can complete the services at any time prior to the due dates but must complete each reemployment service by the due date assigned. The sooner you complete your services, the better prepared you will be for your job search.

Job Service North Dakota professionals are available in your nearest Job Service Customer Service office to assist you in finding employment. These staff members can show you how to find information about job opportunities in your area and give you information about your skills and abilities and how they fit into your local labor market.

What if I am denied benefits?

If you disagree with a decision that is made regarding your claim, you have the right to appeal that decision

When you receive your determination, your appeal rights will also be included.  It is important that you file your appeal within the timeframe specified or you may lose your rights.

You can file your appeal several different ways.  You may file your appeal online by going to the Unemployment Insurance link on UI ICE and selecting the Determinations/Appeals link.

You can also submit your appeal by completing and returning the appeal form included with your Nonmonetary Determination notice. If you are mailing or faxing your appeal, the appeal must be postmarked or received by Job Service North Dakota on or prior to the appeal period date specified on your determination or decision.

If you need assistance in filing your claim you can contact Job Service North Dakota for assistance in filing your appeal.

After you file your appeal, you will receive a Notice of Hearing with the date and time of your appeal hearing. In the case of telephone hearings, you are required to call the Appeals Unit ten minutes prior to your hearing to provide the appeals referee with a telephone number where you can be reached for the hearing.

For an in-person hearing, you should arrive ten minutes prior to the time of the hearing at the address specified in your Notice of Hearing.

Failure to participate in the hearing may result in a decision against you. If you call in or arrive late, you may not be able to join the hearing.

The referee conducting the hearing will make every effort to assist you in presenting your case and obtaining the facts.  You can also have an attorney represent you, but it is up to you to provide your own attorney.  Job Service North Dakota does not provide attorneys for any parties to a hearing. You will need to give Job Service North Dakota the name of your attorney prior to the hearing so that they receive proper notification and copies of any exhibits to be used during the hearing.

If the Appeals Referee decision affirms the determination made by the adjudicator and you wish to appeal further, you will still need to file a request for a bureau review. This will generate a written decision from the bureau denying the review request and informing you of further appeal rights through the court system. The written decision is necessary for you to continue with judicial review of the determination.

All requests must be filed with the Appeals Section of Job Service North Dakota on or prior to the deadline date listed in your letter. Written requests for bureau review may be delivered in person to any Job Service office, faxed to 701-328-2728, or mailed to: Appeals Section, P.O. Box 5507, Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5507.

If you were denied benefits and appealed your decision, you must continue to certify your weekly eligibility and meet all other eligibility requirements while you are in appeal status.  If an appeal decision is made in your favor, benefits will be paid for the weeks you certified. No benefits will be paid for any weeks for which you did not make timely certification.

Key Terms

APPEAL—A formal request by a claimant or employer to have a decision, determination, or notice reconsidered by the next higher level of authority.

BASE PERIOD—The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the individual files their claim.

BENEFIT YEAR—The 52-week period beginning the first week in which an insured worker first files a claim for unemployment insurance benefits.

BUREAU REVIEW—Bureau means Job Service North Dakota. A bureau review is part of the appeals process, and can be requested if a claimant or employer does not feel that an appropriate decision was made during an appeal.

CERTIFICATION/WEEKLY CERTIFICATION)—The process used to verify that you were unemployed during the week and are eligible to receive a benefit payment.

CLAIM WEEK—Consists of a period of 7 consecutive days beginning at midnight Sunday and ending 11:59 p.m. the following Saturday night.

COVERED WAGES—Wages paid to an employee by an employer who is required to pay Unemployment Insurance taxes.

DURATION—The length of time that a claimant is eligible to receive benefits within a benefit year and will be between 12 and 26 weeks.

ELIGIBILITY REVIEW—Periodic reviews to determine your eligibility to receive unemployment insurance benefits. This is where job contacts are entered for review.

MAXIMUM BENEFIT AMOUNT (MBA)—The total dollar amount of benefits the claimant is eligible to receive in a benefit year.

MONETARY DETERMINATION—A written determination of eligibility for benefits based on covered wages earned by the claimant in the base period. It also reflects the maximum benefit amount, duration, weekly benefit amount, effective date and benefit year ending date of your claim.

MONETARY ELIGIBILITY—Eligibility for benefits based upon the covered wages paid to the claimant in the base period. The maximum and minimum benefit amounts are determined by law and are subject to change each year.

NONMONETARY DETERMINATION—A written determination of eligibility regarding a specific issue or circumstance other than monetary eligibility that may affect benefit eligibility. Items include such things as quitting a job, being discharged, or other similar types of issues.

WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT (WBA)—The dollar amount a claimant is eligible to receive during a claim week.

For more information

Job Service North Dakota

1000 East Divide Avenue

P.O. Box 5507
Bismarck, ND 58506-5507

Applying for benefits or accessing services


By phone

Job Service North Dakota UI Claims Center


TTY Relay ND
Within ND: 711
Outside ND: 800-366-6888

Assistance with finding employment, registering for work and using UI ICE is available at the following locations:


119 E Main

Beulah ND 58523

Ph: 701-873-5607


Fax: 701-873-2166


1601 E Century Ave

Bismarck ND 58503

Ph: 701-328-5000


Fax: 701-328-5050

Devils Lake

301 College Dr S

Devils Lake ND 58301

Ph: 701-662-9300


Fax: 701-662-9310


66 Osborn Dr

Dickinson ND 58601

Ph: 701-227-3100


Fax: 701-227-3111


1350 32nd St S

Fargo ND 58103

Ph: 701-239-7300


Fax: 701-239-7350


927 12th St W

Grafton ND 58237

Ph: 701-352-4450


Fax: 701-352-4454

Grand Forks

1501 28th Ave S

Grand Forks ND 58201

Ph: 701-795-3700


Fax: 701-795-3750


119 9th St W

Harvey ND 58341

Ph: 701-324-4552


1307 12th Ave NE Ste 3

Jamestown ND 58401

Ph: 701-253-6200


Fax: 701-253-6222


3416 N Broadway

Minot ND 58702

Ph: 701-857-7500


Fax: 701-857-7550

New Town

204 Main St
New Town ND 58763

Ph: 701-627-4390

Fax: 701-627-4305


924S7th St

Oakes ND 58474

Ph: 701-742-2546

Fax: 701-742-2742


103 E Main Ave

Rolla ND 58367

Ph: 701-477-5631


Fax: 701-477-6701

Valley City

325 2nd St NW

Valley City ND 58072

Ph: 701-845-8860


Fax: 701-845-8870


524 2nd Ave N

Wahpeton ND 58075

Ph: 701-671-1550


Fax: 701-671-1575


422 1st Ave W

Williston ND 58802

Ph: 701-774-7900


Fax: 701-774-7925

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
We are a team of experts dedicated to finding the right government programs for you. Our mission is simple: help people quickly and easily understand which programs they might be eligible for—all in one place. Our team is dedicated to researching and providing you with the most relevant information. We compile only the most trusted information from government sources into one place so you can find the facts you need and skip what you don’t.
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