Business

Some N.C. jobless to get extended unemployment benefits

Posted November 6, 2009
Updated December 30, 2009

— Unemployed North Carolinians whose benefits run out this year got an extension when President Barack Obama signed a $24 billion economic stimulus bill Friday.

The state Employment Security Commission, though, must await guidance to determine who is eligible. It's also unclear what will happen to those whose benefits run out next year.

Awaiting those decisions are people like James Hill, a service technician who has qualified for two benefits extensions since he was laid off in early 2008. The ESC couldn't tell him Friday whether he would get the latest one.

"To be truthful, I'm a little frustrated," Hill said. "It's real hard, having to do without a lot of stuff. It's down to bare needs. Whatever we need, that's what we get."

Unemployment Who will get unemployment benefits extension?

With an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent in September, North Carolina qualifies as one of the harder-hit states under the bill. That allows the unemployed to get up to 20 more weeks of benefits.

In states with an unemployment rate below 8.5 percent, the unemployed can get an additional 14 weeks.

The extra 20 weeks could push the maximum a person in a high unemployment state could receive to 99 weeks, the most in history.

Unemployment checks generally are for about $300 a week. The extension will cost about $2.4 billion and be paid for by also extending a federal unemployment tax on employers.

In North Carolina, 8,131 people exhausted their unemployment benefits from late August to late October, according to ESC statistics. Without the most recent extension, approximately 13,000 more people would have run out of benefits in the next two months.

"And that's not good coming right before the Christmas holidays, because these are stressful times in the best of circumstances," ESC chair Moses Carey said.

Determining who qualifies for the extension depends on a complicated formula from the U.S. Department of Labor, he said. It could take up for a month for the labor department to publish the new rules.

"We can't make any definitive statement until we get those rules," Cary said. "We don't make rules. We just apply them."

The new legislation applies only to benefits that are exhausted this year. Extending benefits that run out in 2010 will take additional legislation, according to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

Without additional legislation, the ESC estimates that approximately 112,000 North Carolinians will exhaust their unemployment benefits in the first six months of 2010.

In the meantime, Hill said he's hoping for a new job or new benefits extension to support his two young grandchildren he recently adopted.

"I ain't worried about me," he said. "It just want a job where I can raise them, get them to school, and I'll be all right."

34 Comments

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  • Tizu Nov 10, 4:31 p.m.

    Howmanyounces - I'd like to see you get a job at McDonalds if you lost yours. I'm 98% sure you wouldn't even think of it. I've been unemployed since May, actively seeking a job. I've paid taxes since I was 15 (never been without a job until now) so I'm getting back what I've given.
    - snowpenguin4eva

    I guarantee you she would as she has a family and children to help provide for. Staying on unemployment long term is completely unacceptable. There are no checks and balances in place to keep people from defrauding the system. Working at McDonald's temporarily is nothing to be ashamed of, it's a paycheck. Sometimes you have to put your ego in check and do what you gotta do!

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 6, 7:57 p.m.

    I never used to understand how people within the same nation could be so driven by blind hatred for each other that a civil war was the result. Now I do....DIVIDED WE WILL SURELY FALL. I am beginning to think that this is all part of the plan to destroy the greatest country on earth, so everybody line up for your cup of bitter dregs. Welcome to the CORPORATE STATES OF AMERICA.

  • rescuefan Nov 6, 6:29 p.m.

    "its funny how when a republican gets in office, the current state of everything is immediately, and indefinitely that republican's fault, but when a democrat gets in office, the same rule doesnt apply. when things are going bad immediately after a democrat takes office, it's 'leftover' from when the republican held that position.

    likewise, when a republican makes great advancement and remedies issues, they don't get recognition because people will step in and say the advancement is really leftover from when the democrat was in office.

    you can't have it both ways people.
    YourMileageMayVary"

    Please provide examples.

  • MileageWarrior Nov 6, 6:16 p.m.

    its funny how when a republican gets in office, the current state of everything is immediately, and indefinitely that republican's fault, but when a democrat gets in office, the same rule doesnt apply. when things are going bad immediately after a democrat takes office, it's 'leftover' from when the republican held that position.

    likewise, when a republican makes great advancement and remedies issues, they don't get recognition because people will step in and say the advancement is really leftover from when the democrat was in office.

    you can't have it both ways people.

  • mep Nov 6, 6:05 p.m.

    For $787 BILLION borrowed dollars you would expect unemployment numbers to be better.... well that is what the President promised us. Now we have to tax businesses to pay for the additional unemployment benefits Obama just gave away. Why not use the stimulus money for something that will actually do some good.... like pay unemployment benefits? Oh that's right... the money is already earmarked for all the liberals and their pet projects. Sadly... those of us still employed can do nothing but wait for the sky high taxes that will be necessary to pay off all of Obama's spending. (The man actually quadrupled the national debt in only 6 moths!) So I guess another 1.2 TRILLION dollars on health care reform is just more "Change"? YIKES!

  • whatelseisnew Nov 6, 5:28 p.m.

    "Yea, only the power to declare war with no UN or US endorsements."

    For our country the Congress holds the power to declare war not the president.

  • beachboater Nov 6, 5:22 p.m.

    "blah, blah, blah! You Glen Beckers need to come up with some new material. You all are beginning to sound just like reruns of Rush Limbo." gsmith275492

    And when will you, sir, come up with some new material. Bush is no longer president. A trillion dollar health care reform that nobody has even read that is to be rammed down our throats. That same health care bill that adds over 100 new government agencies.

    Yep. That's change I can do without.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Nov 6, 4:57 p.m.

    The pres does not have as much power as you think.
    Sick N Tired

    Yea, only the power to declare war with no UN or US endorsements.

  • Sick N Tired Nov 6, 4:48 p.m.

    Beachboater hit the nail on the head, it is the Democrat controlled congress that has put us in this mess. Oh, wait, is that the same democrat controlled congress that Obama was part of? Is that the same democrat controlled congress that was under Bush? Get real people! The pres does not have as much power as you think.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Nov 6, 4:27 p.m.

    blah, blah, blah! You Glen Beckers need to come up with some new material. You all are beginning to sound just like reruns of Rush Limbo.

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