Charlotte woman fights for benefits after NCDES asks for money back

Unemployment system failure

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Cassandra Hunsucker says she was shocked when the North Carolina Division of Employment Security came back to her asking for the money she had already received from them.

“Now they are saying I owe them back money from when I was originally laid off for the money that I have gotten, and I do not feel like I owe them anything,” Hunsucker told WBTV.

The issue might be a disagreement between her and her boss.

Some people asked to pay back unemployment

Text messages Hunsucker shared with WBTV show she took leave early in the pandemic after getting sick. She says when she was ready to come back to work her employer told her there were no shifts available. But NCDES informed her that her former employer told them she quit.

“My employer was dishonest,” Hunsucker said.

Snapshots from her unemployment homepage show that the new determination where NCDES changed and denied her claim.

In most situations, unemployment benefits can only be received if you’re laid off or lost work due to COVID-19.

“I do not owe them money. Because for one I was laid off from the very beginning and two, I did not quit my job,” Hunsucker said.

NCDES often goes through the adjudication process to re-investigate claims and make a new determination, often if there’s information “the claimant’s separation from employment was due to reasons other than lack of work.” But once it’s finished that process is closed.

At that point, the only process available to claimants is to file an appeal. NCDES says the fastest way to do that is through your online claimant portal.

But that process can often be slow. NCDES reports more than 50,000 appeals filed since last March and it can take two to three months for a person to even get a hearing date.

WBTV reached out to NCDES on Hunsucker’s behalf and they told us an agent is assisting in her case.

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