House approves cuts to unemployment benefits - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

House approves cuts to unemployment benefits

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North Carolina House legislators voted Tuesday to slash unemployment benefits.

Dorothy, who asked not to give her last name, is fired up over the decision.

"It's something else, it's really something else and it hurts," said Dorothy.

She recently stopped receiving benefits after getting a part-time job.

But the job is seasonal,  which means she may have to rely on unemployment benefits once again.

"You know rent got to be paid, light bill got to be paid," she said.

The new rules would cut the maximum weekly benefit amount from $535 a week to $350 a week.

The number of weeks would also be reduced from 26 weeks to 13- 20 weeks depending on the unemployment rate.

Governor Pat McCrory say the state is in a difficult position.

"I don't want to step on people's toes to cause pain. I want to step on people's toes to get them to stand up and recognize we got a problem," said Governor McCrory.

And the problem is big.

The state owes $2.4 billion  to the federal government for money borrowed to pay unemployment.

To pay that debt off by 2015, the state would have to drastically reduce unemployment benefits.

State Senator Bob Rucho also supports the bill.

He says overhauling the system is necessary.

"It's a comprehensive way of trying to get the funds solvent and put people back to work and more importantly have a solvent fund available for when the next recession comes," said Rucho.

But for Dorothy, the change could have a negative impact.

"It's a number of things that are going to be affected, it all depends on how the person budgets, if you can budget," she said.

If this law passes the Senate, it will go into effect July 1st but it only applies to people who apply for benefits after that date.

The change would not affect people currently on unemployment.

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