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North Carolina axes benefits for long-term unemployed

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RALEIGH, N.C.– Starting Sunday, North Carolina will become the only state in the country with no safety net for the long-term unemployed.

According to, thanks to reforms in the state’s unemployment insurance laws, the state’s more than 71,000 long-term unemployed residents will lose access to the federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

North Carolina is losing eligibility to the federal program because of a new law, signed by the Governor Pat McCrory in February of this year, which reduces the number of weeks that unemployed people are eligible for state-funded benefits and cuts the maximum weekly benefit amount by roughly one-third, from $535 to $350. It is the latter provision that has cost the states’ workers its eligibility: States looking to receive federal EUC money are forbidden from cutting weekly benefits.

According to the report, the federal government granted a special exemption from that rule to four other states last year, North Carolina’s request for a similar exemption was ignored.

As of Monday, July 1, North Carolina’s jobless will be able to collect state unemployment benefits for up to 19 weeks, but not the 26 weeks that is the national standard. After that, they won’t have access to the federal funds available in every other state.

North Carolina has the fifth largest unemployment rate in the country.

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