The face of the long-term unemployed

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.– A Winston-Salem man who is one of nearly 170,000 people that lost long-term federal unemployment benefits thanks to the state’s changes in unemployment law, said without the money he will lose his home and can barely feed his children.

Bill Choplin, father of three, said without the nearly $350 in weekly federal unemployment compensation his family has only $15 a day in food stamps and his wife’s part-time salary to live on.

“It’s up to me to come up with some kind of solution, some kind of things where they [the kids] don’t have to worry about it,” Choplin said.

Choplin went on to say, “I don’t think the politicians really care, but this is real life. I say leave these people alone they are struggling already.”

State officials changed unemployment compensation in an effort to pay back the nearly $2.5 million the state owes the federal government, money borrowed to supplement the state’s unemployment system during the recession.

The changes made North Carolina the only state in the country ineligible for the long-term federal unemployment compensation program.

“These people are hurting and you going to just kick them a little further make them feel a little worse make them struggle even more. How do you sleep at night,” asked Choplin.

Choplin says the state is not prepared to handle the large number of families like his who have hardly any income and no job in the months to come.

“It seems like there was another solution besides just booting this many people out of the system because your worried about having to pay. But what do I know, I’m just a dad trying to raise my kids,” said Choplin.

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