Local News

Options exist after unemployment benefits run out

Posted July 14, 2009 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2009 6:21 p.m. EDT

— More than 460,000 people in the state received unemployment benefits in the past month, according to the Employment Security Commission of N.C. But what happens when those benefits run out?

Richard Gruber has used up all of us unemployment benefits and is waiting for the outcome of an appeal.

For people in similar situation, other programs can help. Turning to the local social services office may be a good place to start.

“You can come and apply for any of the services we provide. Work First is the program that helps folks with cash assistance and will help you do your job search,” said Sharon Hirsch, a spokeswoman with the Durham County Department of Social Services.

The Work First Family Assistance Program helps parents get short-term training and other services to help them become employed. It is a two-year program.

People can also inquire about health and food services at these offices, as well.

“Medicaid and food and nutrition services are the big programs that we’re here to help with,” Hirsch said. “Folks need to come down and ask for an application.”

Hirsch said people will need to bring a birth certificate to facilitate the application.

People can file for welfare, Medicaid and food stamps while receiving unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits are available for up to 79 weeks, but most people are not eligible to receive it the entire time, officials said.

The amount of time each person is eligible for unemployment benefits is determined by time on the job, education and recent salary.

All of these are temporary options and should be considered more of a lifeline than a long-term solution, officials said.