Raleigh, NC-- The North Carolina Employment Security Commission (ESC) notified people Friday, that some of them will lose unemployment benefits.
Several people contacted WFMY News 2 for Answers after seeing this message on the agency's website:
"Please be advised that due to the recent decline in the North Carolina unemployment rate, the state no longer meets the federal and state requirements of the extended benefits program. In accordance with federal and state law, the employment security commission cannot pay any extended benefit claims for weeks later than April 16, 2011".
Other answers about who is or isn't affected:
- It will not affect initial unemployment benefits
- It will not affect federally funded emergency unemployment compensation or E-U-C. If this applies, you're still eligible for up to 79 weeks of unemployment.
However, there are still thousands that have no reason to celebrate this news. Larry Parker with the ESC said about 36,000 people in North Carolina will be impacted by this change.
"It's certainly going to affect thousands in NC and again, this particular extension affect folks who have had extreme long care unemployment you wouldn't go on extreme benefits at the absolute worse until after 79 weeks of unemployment. Clearly these are long term unemployed people so if they are cut off from this after April 16th," Parker in a phone interview with WFMY. "It's going to hit them pretty hard, it hits anyone hard when their lifeline is taken away."
Parker explains there are several stages of unemployment benefits. The first is an initial 26 weeks. Then, the federally EUC adds another 53 weeks on a four tier system. The final 20 weeks is the extended benefits program that is getting cut. That is why people who were eligible for 99 weeks are now only eligible for 79 weeks.
Since the extended benefits program began in October 2008, Parker said 160,000 people received about $750 million in benefits.
If you have questions about your benefits and if you will be impacted, the ESC setup a hotline to help. Call (888) 737-0259.
WFMY News 2