Gov. Cooper ‘urging’ Congress to extend $600 in federal unemployment benefits in N.C.

Gov. Cooper ‘urging’ Congress to extend $600 in federal unemployment benefits in N.C.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (Source: Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In order for North Carolinians to keep earning an extra $600 in unemployment benefits, Congress would need to pass an extension which Governor Roy Cooper pushed for on Tuesday.

“I am urging Congress right now to extend this benefit,” Cooper said. “This program has been a lifeline for families and their communities.”

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program has been nothing short of a lifeline for many North Carolinians.

“As July draws to a close many North Carolinians who are out of work are worried about the upcoming reduction in their unemployment benefits,” said Cooper.

If Congress doesn’t act it expires this weekend leaving many North Carolinians wondering how they’ll pay their bills.

One of them is William Cunningham.

WBTV spoke with Cunningham in June while he was waiting for more than two months for the North Carolina Division of Employment Security to process his claim.

After Cunningham’s claim was approved he started receiving payments of more than $700 a week.

“It’s made a major difference. I sleep at night now,” Cunningham said.

But $600 of his weekly payments comes from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program which expires in North Carolina on July 25th.

Additional unemployment benefits running out

The maximum someone could earn with both FPUC and state benefits in North Carolina is $950 per week. With $600 of that coming from FPUC North Carolinians would see a steep drop in their weekly deposits.

“It meant I could pay what I needed to and still have something left over,” Cunningham said.

Since the pandemic started North Carolina DES reports paying more than $1.5 billion in state unemployment insurance claims and more than $4.5 billion in FPUC.

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