Ray Flanner, seen in a local coffeeshop Fri., June 28, 2013, spends a lot of time on his laptop computer looking for work. Flanner, who formerly worked in banking, has been out of work for a year.
- How it works
Part of the state unemployment benefit reduction measures is a sliding scale for the number of weeks individuals are eligible for state benefits. Currently, the range is between 13 and 26 weeks.
The new law allows for the number of weeks to decrease and increase depending on the state jobless rate. The weeks could be adjusted Jan. 1 and July 1 each year.
For example, with the state jobless rate at 8.8 percent in May, the maximum number of weeks would have dropped automatically on June 30 from 26 to 19, and the minimum weeks from 13 to 12. But the legislators agreed to hold off on implementing the sliding scale until Jan. 1.
The minimum and maximum weeks drop to nine and 16 when the jobless rate is between 7.1 percent and 7.5 percent; to seven and 14 weeks when the rate is between 6.1 percent and 6.5 percent; and to five and 12 weeks when the rate is at or below 5.5 percent.
That means North Carolinians whose jobs are eliminated in better economic times would have a safety net of just five weeks to find their next job.
According to an Upjohn Institute report cited by supporters of reducing jobless benefits, 43 percent of UI claimants exhausted their maximum eligibility of 26 weeks between 2006 and 2011. The average claimant received 16.3 weeks of state benefits.
— N.C. Division of Employment Security
Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 12:00 am
Updated: 4:14 pm, Mon Jul 1, 2013.
Being caught in the crossfire of a political fight over unemployment benefits shifts to painful reality Sunday for at least 70,000 North Carolinians, including about 12,000 in the Triad and Northwest N.C.
That’s because their access was cut off June 30 to $780 million in federal extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as part of the General Assembly’s grand experiment for reviving the state’s economy in part through significantly cutting jobless benefits.
Sunday, June 30, 2013 12:00 am.
Updated: 4:14 pm.