Business

120K in N.C. to get extended jobless benefits

Posted July 23, 2010 4:16 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2010 8:02 p.m. EDT

— About 120,000 jobless people in North Carolina will receive an extension of unemployment benefits, a spokesman for the state Employment Security Commission said Friday.

The news comes less than a day after Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed into law a restoration of benefits for people who have been out of work six months or more.

The move ended a seven-week interruption that cut off payments averaging about $300 a week to 2.5 million people in the United States who have been unable to find work.

Andrew James, director of the ESC's Public Information Office, said checks for about 100,000 of those people would likely be mailed out by the end of next week.

"There are a lot of people in North Carolina that will be helped by this legislation," James said. "We'll be working as rapidly as we can to help them access those benefits."

About 146,000 unemployed workers in the state, such as Cheryl Kontul, of Cary, have run out of benefits, and they are hopeful they will see some relief as a result of Thursday's bill signing.

Kontul lost her job with a construction supply company, and since then, she's been looking for work. Her unemployment benefits expired last week.

"It's devastating. I don't like asking for a handout. I've always worked all my life, but I don't know what I'm going to do," she said.

Kontul said Friday afternoon that she hasn't heard if she will receive an extension but is encouraged.

"It means that I can live," she said. "I won't be homeless, living under the South Wilmington Street bridge."