North Carolina has become the eighth state to cut the number of weeks of state unemployment benefits. Starting July 1, 2013 there will be a range of state unemployment benefits from 12 to 20 weeks. The number of weeks would be calculated twice a year and based on the state unemployment rate. In addition, the weekly benefit amount will be reduced from $535 to $350.
In the past, unemployed workers could count on 26 weeks of state benefits. This has changed, with Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina eliminating six weeks of state unemployment benefits. Florida and Georgia now have a sliding-scale approach, with Florida providing 12 to 23 weeks of unemployment, and Georgia 14 to 20 weeks. North Carolina will also have a sliding-scale, starting July 1.
In addition, there will be an approximately 11% cut in federal unemployment benefits due to the sequester. Here's information on federal unemployment cuts.
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said "Unemployed job-seekers are facing a one-two punch, with state cuts triggering federal cuts too--a real double-whammy hitting families whose needs remain great. It doesn't take much imagination to realize just how critical every week of unemployment insurance is to the unemployed, especially those who experience longer spells of joblessness. Unemployment insurance is indispensable to the families who are hanging on by a thread, but it's also crucial for the economy because it delivers a big boost in consumer spending directly to local businesses. Pulling the rug out from under the unemployed is the wrong
thing to do on so many levels."
This type of legislation not only cuts both state and federal unemployment benefits. It also complicates an unemployment system that is already confusing for many unemployed workers. Because unemployment benefits are now based on the state unemployment rate (after Tier 1) is can be hard to calcuate how many weeks of unemployment you will get.
Most states have detailed information on what unemployment benefits are currently in place. Here is a list of state unemployment extension program information. You can, at least, get an idea of how many weeks of unemployment you are entitled to receive.
Unemployed? Check the Status of Your Benefits
If you're not sure what about where you stand with unemployment, check your state unemployment office website for details of how these changes may impact your unemployment compensation.
Share Your Unemployment Story
Unemployed? Share your unemployment story and tell us about the job you lost, what it has been like being unemployed, and what you might have learned while you're out of work. Read, as well, about others who are unemployed and what life has been like for them. Your story will help others deal with being out of work, and all the issues that go along with being unemployed.
Read More: NELP Policy Brief