CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On December 26th, millions of Americans will lose unemployment benefits provided by the coronavirus relief bill. While both the US House and Senate have passed a new bill, President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it because he wants more stimulus money going to Americans.
Since March, WBTV has helped dozens of people stuck in a clogged unemployment system get access to benefits.
In June William Cunningham reached out to WBTV. He was having trouble getting his unemployment claim approved and was given conflicting information by call center representatives.
Fast forward to today and Cunningham has been approved and receiving benefits. Only a few weeks ago he was switched over to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program carried out by the North Carolina Division of Employment Security, that provides benefits to people who lost their job because of Covid-19 who wouldn’t normally be eligible for state benefits.
“My position was pretty much non-existent because it revolved around contacting people, which we were not allowed to do,” Cunningham said.
But now that program is set to expire December 26th.
“Goes away the day after Christmas, as a present to all of us that really true needed it and are glad to have access to it,” Cunningham said.
Both PUA and PEUC, which extends state unemployment benefits an additional 13 weeks, need to be extended by Congress in a new coronavirus relief bill.
While the Senate and House have agreed on a bill that would extend PUA and PEUC for 11 weeks, and provide an additional $300 a week, President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the bill, saying that he wants stimulus checks going to Americans increased from $600 to $1,200.
Just last week the US Department of Labor reported that 9113, PUA claims were filed in North Carolina and 21,344 in South Carolina.
Thousands of people just like Cunningham are left uncertain about their financial future unless politicians in the capitol can agree on a bill.
“Stop playing with people’s lives so you can play politics and look like you’re important. That’s not why you were elected. You were elected to serve the people,” Cunningham said.
The North Carolina Division of Employment Security has warned that even after a relief bill passes they have to receive guidance on the new rules meaning North Carolinians could have to wait for those benefits even if they’re extended. The agency has not given any timeline on how long that would take.