NC legislators likely to expand unemployment benefits but only in short term

Lawmakers propose expanding unemployment benefits in N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina General Assembly is proposing an additional $50 a week for jobless North Carolinians. That’s on top of the $300 dollars as part of the federal Lost Wage Assistance program.

However the additional state benefits would only last until the end of the year.

“Nothing is imminent in the general assembly but I do expect there will be widespread support and it’s my hope we’ll be able to vote on it this week,” Republican State Senator Chuck Edwards said.

Gov. Roy Cooper previously called on the General Assembly to improve the benefits unemployed North Carolinians already receive.

OYST N.C. unemployment benefits update

But the funds have a time limit.

CARES Act Funds expire at the end of the year and so does this $50 bonus.

Currently, the maximum anyone can earn on state unemployment benefits in North Carolina is $350 per week.

North Carolina’s state benefits rank toward the bottom nationally in terms of money paid to claimants and the length of time those benefits are paid, which currently stands at 12 weeks.

If this bill passes, it would help people currently left without a job during the pandemic but it would not change the fortunes of people who become unemployed in the future.

“What you’re describing doesn’t change unemployment any time beyond the pandemic?” a WBTV reporter asked Sen. Edwards.

“Quite honestly we’re not sure how long the pandemic is going to last so our goal is to help those folks that are being affected and having a difficult time getting back to work to be able to supplement their income,” Sen. Edwards said.

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