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How to file an appeal with the NCDES if asked to pay back unemployment benefits

Do you owe unemployment benefits to the state? Here's how to file an appeal and what to do if you're denied.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you have received a letter from the North Carolina Division of Employment Security asking you to pay back your unemployment benefits there are a few things you can do to fight it.

WFMY News 2 has received numerous calls about this issue.

Recently, a Guilford County Schools substitute teacher who has collected unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic was asked to pay back nearly $23,000. Renee Skudra previously received a letter from the NCDES saying she was never entitled to those benefits.

"I think it's really a heinous thing right now during a pandemic to give people benefits and turn around 13 months later in my case and say we want them back because our initial determination was not correct," Skudra said.

After appealing, getting an attorney, and sharing her story with WFMY News 2, Skudra said she no longer owes the money. A DES official confirmed it with her during a phone call Wednesday. 

"She just said the decision was based on the fact I was not offered work as a substitute teacher during that time," Skudra said of the phone conversation. "I'm really happy I think it's a wonderful result, I sort of feel like I was gearing up for battle."

RELATED: 'These are frantic calls' | NCDES sends out some notices to pay back all unemployment benefits received since COVID-19 hit

You too can file an appeal for your case. 

Want this story sent directly to your phone? Text keyword DES to 336-379-5775.

Steps to file an appeal

File An Appeal 

The first thing you need to do is file an appeal. You can do that on the NCDES website.

At the top of the website, there is an “Appeals” drop-down tab. Click on that and select the option: “File An Appeal.”

Credit: NCDES
Click on appeals and then file an appeal

What if your appeal is denied?

If you had a hearing and you're denied an appeal, you can ask DES for a waiver. But you can only ask for a waiver if you're receiving regular unemployment, not Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from the CARES Act.

If you received a notice in the mail, there are instructions on the letter advising you what to do.

How to file an initial appeal

Information provided by DES

The best and fastest way to file an initial appeal is by using the DES online benefits system, available by signing into your account on our website at des.nc.gov. You can appeal issues from the ‘Determination History’ while signed into your account. You can also fax appeals to 919-857-1296 or email them to des.public.appeals@nccommerce.com. Note that due to the volume of emails being received, it will take several weeks or longer for your email to be reviewed. You should not submit claims or general questions to the Appeals email box, as those messages are only reviewed to determine if they are valid appeals.

How to file an appeal by mail

Information provided by DES

The final option for filing appeals is by postal mail, to DES Appeals, P.O. Box 27967, Raleigh, NC 27611-7967. Note that appeals sent by email, fax or postal mail will take longer to process, so allow several weeks or longer for your appeal to be reviewed and scheduled.

Verbal/oral appeals are not valid and will not be accepted.

Got questions about the appeal process?

If you have questions regarding the appeals process you can contact the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259. The Appeals Section and Appeals Referees are not able to provide you legal advice on whether you should file an appeal.

Other Helpful Info.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance line: 866-847-7209.

Fax: 919-857-1296

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Overpayment inquiries

If you have questions about overpayments, please use the Overpayment Question Form