Collecting Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota

Learn the rules for unemployment eligibility, benefit amounts, and more in North Dakota.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Did you recently lose your job in North Dakota? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits: payments intended to partially replace the wages of employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own.

Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the eligibility rules, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state.

Below you'll find information on collecting unemployment in North Dakota.

Eligibility Requirements for North Dakota Unemployment Benefits

Job Service North Dakota is the organization that handles unemployment benefits in North Dakota. Applicants must meet the following three eligibility requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits in North Dakota:

  • You must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by North Dakota law.
  • You must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment.

North Dakota Unemployment Eligibility: Past Earnings

Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period.)

In North Dakota, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. For example, if you file your claim in October of 2023, the base period would be from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

To qualify for benefits in North Dakota, you must meet both of the following requirements:

  • You must have earned wages in at least two quarters of the base period.
  • During the entire base period, you must have earned at least 1.5 times your wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period.

North Dakota Unemployment Eligibility: Reasons for Unemployment

In North Dakota, as in other states, you must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Collecting Unemployment After a Layoff

If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.

Collecting Unemployment After Being Fired

If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren't a good fit, you won't necessarily be barred from receiving benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct relating to your job, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits. Under North Dakota law, misconduct includes:

  • theft
  • destruction of property
  • insubordination
  • unexcused absences, and
  • violating known or posted company rules.

Collecting Unemployment After Quitting

If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. In general, good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was job-related and was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because of dangerous working conditions that your employer refused to remedy, you may be able to collect benefits.

You may also be eligible for benefits if you quit for certain compelling personal reasons, including to escape from domestic abuse, to shorten a commute of 200 miles or more each way, or because you were unable to keep working due to health reasons.

North Dakota Unemployment Eligibility: Availability to Work

To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?) If you're incarcerated, on vacation, or in school, or you don't have adequate transportation to get to work, you likely won't be considered able and available to work.

In North Dakota, you must actively search for work each week, keeping a log of your job contacts and other job search activities. You must make at least four job contacts per week. Your log may be audited at any time. You must also post your resume online at Job Services North Dakota.

If you're offered a suitable position, you must accept it. Whether a job is suitable depends on a variety of factors. However, a job will not be considered suitable if it:

  • poses a risk to your safety or health
  • is incompatible with your prior experience and training
  • is outside of your labor market area (unless no job opportunities exist within your area)
  • offers hours, wages, or other conditions that are substantially less than those common to the industry in your area, or
  • is available only because of a strike.

Once you have received unemployment benefits for 18 weeks, you may have to accept work that pays at least your weekly benefit amount.

Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota

If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your weekly benefit rate will be your wages in the two-and-a-half quarters of the base period in which you earned the most, divided by 65. The maximum weekly benefit amount is currently $748 (in 2024), while the minimum is $48.

You may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. (In times of very high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.)

How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota

You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online or by phone. You can find online filing information and telephone contact information at the website of Job Service North Dakota.

After you file, you will receive a monetary determination, stating the wages reported by your employers during your base period and how much you can expect to receive in benefits.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in North Dakota

If your unemployment claim is denied, you may file an appeal. You can file your appeal by delivering, mailing, or faxing it to the Appeals Section of Job Service North Dakota. The deadline for filing an appeal will be provided in the initial decision.

A hearing will be conducted by an appeals referee over the telephone. You will be able to present evidence and witness testimony at the hearing. The referee will then issue a decision on your appeal.

If you disagree with the referee's decision, you may request a bureau review by the Executive Director of Job Service North Dakota.

For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the Job Service North Dakota website.

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