Lawmakers push changes for unemployment insurance
North Carolina legislators have been working on a plan to reduce the benefits people receive through unemployment insurance. A bill has been introduced that aims to reduce the maximum weekly benefits that unemployed people can receive from the state’s unemployment insurance program from $530 to $350. The legislation would also cut down on the maximum duration that a person can receive such benefits from the current 20 weeks to just 12 weeks. The legislation has received criticism from consumer advocacy groups and has now attracted the attention of the federal government.
Federal agency warns that state may lose financial aid
This week, the U.S. Labor Department issued a warning to North Carolina lawmakers concerning their plans for unemployment insurance. The federal agency has informed North Carolina lawmakers that the state could lose more than $780 million in federal funds if they go forward with the legislation on unemployment insurance. Federal officials suggest that losing this funding would be a “grievous blow” against the state’s working families. The agency notes that it has no plans to derail the legislation apart from highlighting the potential economic impact the bill may have in the future.
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Funds meant to help reduce unemployment rate
North Carolina’s unemployment rate is currently hovering at 9.2%, above the 7.9% national average. The Labor Department suggests that the funding from the federal government is vital to helping the state reduce its unemployment rate, but some lawmakers argue that the funds have done little to accomplish this goal. Changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system are therefore needed to encourage people to find jobs. The legislation is expected to affect more than 170,000 unemployed people throughout the state.
Lawmakers claim changes to unemployment insurance are needed
The federal funds that are currently available to the state are meant to provide financial aid to unemployed individuals that have exhausted state benefits. Without these funds, many of the people that receive benefits through the North Carolina unemployment insurance system would lose their financial aid. Some lawmakers suggest that this is a necessary evil in order to provide consumers with the incentive they need to find work.