Extension of unemployment benefits to expire June 30

Published: Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is reminding people that the Federal extension of benefits, better known as the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, will expire at the end of the month.

The unemployment measure was designed to help the State repay $2.5 billion owed to the federal government for paying jobless benefits more quickly by cutting future maximum weekly jobless benefits from $535 to $350. Recipients will only receive benefits for 20 weeks, instead of 26.

Because of this change, thousands of people are expected to turn to human services for help.

"Anyone in human services is concerned. The numbers could potentially be huge," said Shay Merritt, Second Harvest Food Bank.

Merritt tells WBTV food banks are expecting immediate backlash from the benefits cutback.

"Food is the first thing people look for when they are in need. Hopefully their housing isn't going to run out that night or the next day, but their food very well may," Merritt said.

The Crisis Assistance Ministry is also bracing for an increase in demand. Communications Manager Tovi Martin told WBTV her agency is already serving a high volume of clients.

"Our demand is already at a peak. We're looking at numbers that suggest we are distributing 20% more aid this year than we have in the past years. The impact for people who will be discontinued will really hit us in September when our peak demand is already in place," Martin said.

Extension of benefits ends June 30.

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