Unemployment Benefits Slashed In Two States

Unemployment benefits were cut for many recipients in North Carolina, preventing job seekers in the state with the fifth highest rate of joblessness from receiving federally backed benefits if filing after a certain date.

In Maine, unemployment benefits were sliced as well, in part due to an improving state economy and lower overall rates of joblessness.

A local news source reports that come next month, six weeks of unemployment benefits eligibility will be shaved for Maine residents facing long-term unemployment after overall rates of joblessness in the state fell below the national average:

“Beginning July 14, additional unemployment benefits will end for jobless people once they’ve received 46 weeks of compensation, rather than the current 52 weeks. That’s because the state’s three-month average unemployment rate has dropped below 7 percent… About 15,000 people in Maine are now collecting unemployment benefits.”

North Carolina was the first state to be cut off from federal unemployment benefits extension programs after a February resolution — the provisions of which will begin affecting residents of the state this Sunday.

According to HuffPo, the federal unemployment benefits that follow when a worker exhausts their state’s UI program will no longer be available to North Carolina residents when the changes come into play:

“The cuts on those who make unemployment claims on or after that day will disqualify the state from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. That money kicks in after the state’s period of unemployment compensation – now shortened from up to six months to no more than five – runs out. The EUC program is available to long-term jobless in all states. But keeping the money flowing includes a requirement that states can’t cut average weekly benefits.”

As North Carolina residents brace for the unemployment benefits cuts, Cary resident Lee Creighton, who has a doctorate, wonders how many like him will be suddenly without a source of support:

I’m just not sure what I’m going to do… What are we to do? Is the state prepared to have this many people with no source of income?

In addition to unemployment benefits of shorter terms for jobless North Carolina residents, the maximum benefit will drop nearly $200.