The WRAL Documentary “Cut Loose and Cut Off” is hosted by WRAL News anchor Bill Leslie. It first aired Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, at 7 p.m.
About 70,000 unemployed workers who were cut loose by their employers were cut off by their government at the end of June. They lost federally funded extended unemployment benefits because of a new state law that overhauls North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system.
During the Great Recession the state ran out of money to pay unemployment benefits for laid off workers. It had to borrow money from the federal government to pay them and soon racked up a $2.5 billion debt. The debt is increasing unemployment taxes on employers.
In an effort to remedy the problem Republican legislators crafted a bill to pay the debt off sooner. The bill cuts the state’s unemployment benefit amount, but those cuts violate federal law so the US Department of Labor terminated its agreement with the state to fund the extended benefits for unemployed workers that kick in when state benefits run out.
The new WRAL Documentary “Cut Loose and Cut Off” examines the controversial debate over the new law and focuses on the people it has affected.