Thousands of PUA claims backdated to March still pending in North Carolina

Unemployment claims pending since March

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As the months ticked by Kelly was left waiting.

She filed her first unemployment claim on March 22nd after she was let go by the daycare company she worked for. She’s one of 110,212 people who still have an unresolved claim with the North Carolina Division of Employment Security.

“It’s extremely frustrating nobody on the call center lines can help you,” Kelly said.

“They’ll tell you they’ll escalate your call and you’ll get a call back with 48-72 hours. I’ve had ten escalations and still have not received a call back from DES.”

But according to a memo from DES on July 10th there are no pending state unemployment insurance claims filed between March 15th and April 18th.

That’s technically true from Kelly. Her UI claim was denied within two weeks of filing because she worked for a non-profit. But after her federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claim was filed in April it was backdated to March 15th.

Another person who reached out to us has a similar problem. Hey PUA claim from March 29th is also still pending.

“As far as you’re concerned you don’t feel like anything has been resolved?” a WBTV reporter asked Kelly.

“No, nothing has been resolved. I’ve gotten four months and nothing.”

WBTV reached out to DES to ask them how many PUA claims dated in March are still active.

A spokesperson said that after PUA became available claims were filed between April 24th and May 16th, some of which may have been backdated to account for retroactive pay. The spokesperson said there are roughly 14,000 pending PUA claims from that period.

There are also several reasons why a PUA claim may be pending.

  • Federal programs. States’ systems are built to administer regular state unemployment insurance (UI) programs. Temporary federal programs, such as PUA, have their own sets of eligibility requirements. Staff may need more time and information from the claimant to verify eligibility for special federal programs.
  • Questions concerning state unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility. Federal guidelines specify that a person must be ineligible for UI to be eligible for PUA.
  • Complexity of the PUA claim review. Often staff are finding that the individual is eligible for a different program – additional UI, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or Extended Benefits – and an application for the appropriate program must be processed.

Late Tuesday afternoon Kelly informed WBTV that her PUA claim was denied and she’ll have to file an appeal.

“I’ve stretched my money as far as I can and now, I need resolution for a 16 week old claim,” Kelly said.

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