Local News

Relief coming to some of N.C.'s unemployed

Posted December 30, 2009

— The state Employment Security Commission said Wednesday it is ready to pay out additional unemployment insurance benefits to approximately 78,000 North Carolinians.

Last month, President Barack Obama signed a $24 billion economic stimulus package that extends unemployment in the state for up to 20 weeks.

"We've paid out more than $4.6 billion in benefits to more than 500,000 people," ESC Deputy Chairman David Clegg said. "We are now prepared to roll out the third extension."

Since November, thousands of unemployed North Carolinians, like Bill Dolton, have been waiting to find out if they qualify for the latest benefits extension.

"It's been very depressing," Dolton, of Willow Spring, said. "It seems like it's lagged forever. It's been almost like a nightmare really."

Having received some form of unemployment benefits for 23 months, Dolton said they ran out last week.

"Without any money, it makes it impossible to survive," he said.

The ESC says about 34,000 people will receive letters notifying them about the extension. Others will automatically receive unemployment benefits on a debit card, if they qualify.

The extension could push the maximum a person in a high-unemployment state, such as North Carolina, could receive to 99 weeks, the most in history. Unemployment checks generally are for about $300 a week.

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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • mama k Dec 31, 2009

    I'm quite sure that those of you that are complaining about people recieving unemployment, have never had to worry about it! I just want to say that I hope you never do!!! You have no idea what it's like to want your job back, or want to work period, and not be able to do so. Unemployment is only about half of what I was getting paid before I got laid off. One day you may be in this situation and you won't be complaining that there is some help out there for those who need it.

  • mondosinistro Dec 31, 2009

    "There are people out there that do deserve to recieve unemployment for awhile, but 99 weeks is insane. If you can't find a job after 2 YEARS something is wrong. You can't be looking very hard."

    Just like the middle of the year. I want to point something out, and ask the same question. WRT the above quote: You CAN be on unemployment and be working. There's an earnings allowance--20% of your benefit amount. If you make more than 60% of the highest amount in your base period in any given week, you get nothing for that week. But it still gives you a floor when you don't have enough work in a given week. So many people collecting UI, maybe most, are not completely unemployed, just underemployed.

    The question is: How can you collect any more than 52 weeks of UI from a base period anyway? My understanding is that your benefit year ENDS after 52 weeks; after that you need a new claim, based on a new base period. Or is there something I'm missing here? Can't seem to find this out anywhere.

  • tupelo Dec 31, 2009

    Just a note to correct a common misconception:
    In NC the employee does NOT pay into the unemployment fund. The EMPLOYER pays 100% of the tax.
    So when someone draws unemployment, they are not taking back their own money.
    Each time a person files for unemployment it is usually the case that the rate of unemployment tax the employer pays increases with each claim made by any former employees.
    Another cost of doing business for small and large businesses alike.

  • computer trainer Dec 31, 2009

    Folks, You do NOT pay for unemployment, your EMPLOYER does. And yes, you have to pay TAXES on unemployment.

    If you know someone who is indeed working and not reporting, you can call the ESC and report them. Unfortunately, with as many people as are on the roles, there is NO way for them to catch people. They are doing all they can with antiquated systems to pay, so fraud is going by the wayside. At this time, the state owed the federal government 1.5 BILLION dollars that they have had to borrow to pay the unemployment. That number increases daily!!! Help yourselves out. If you know someone is getting unemp AND working, turn them in.

  • mama k Dec 31, 2009

    I was recently unemployed this June when the state decided to cut back so many of it's employees! I worked in the same school for over 10 years. I found out shortly after that I was pregnant, so now no one will hire me! I don't feel bad one bit about taking money from the state(unemployment), especially the way they done me!!!! I put in the money just like those of you who still have jobs. You know what else,the state takes taxes out of our unemployment too, just like you paychecks! So we don't even get 250 a week. Until you walk a mile in one of our shoes, keep your mouth closed!!!!! When you have so many unemployed in one area, jobs are hard to find, especially when there aren't that many to begin with!

  • strawberrysw4 Dec 31, 2009

    There are people out there that do deserve to recieve unemployment for awhile, but 99 weeks is insane. If you can't find a job after 2 YEARS something is wrong. You can't be looking very hard.

    I work full time, and my check last week was for less than $400 before taxes.

  • OhBella Dec 31, 2009

    If my father hadn't been in this boat, I never would have understood. Now I do. I feel for the ones on unemployment. Remember..they did pay into the system too.

  • comet Dec 31, 2009

    Oh, one more thing, most of us go to the library to use the internet, got ride of cable, our home phones, cell phones and lots of other things just so we can survive. Walk a mile in my shoes, and then you can tell me how to wear them.

  • comet Dec 31, 2009

    Sounds like the working folk are mad at the unemployed. Most of us are unemployed through no fault of our own and would much rather be working. Take that undesirale job you say, well you have to be hired to do that. It amazes me that you have no problem with welfare receipients, but bash those of us that have lost our income, duh! I think the State should be ashamed that it has taken nearly two months to put this extension in place. Thank you Ms. Purdue.

  • Bubba-Louie Dec 31, 2009

    fatcat11, why are you on unemployment and still have internet? Why don't you get rid of some of your luxury items? I don't like the idea of my taxes going to your unemployment so you can maintain a $25+/month internet.