by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, North Carolina Senator Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, sent out a news release discussing the lack of clarity from the N.C. Division of Employment Security on the application process for unemployment. Perry stated:
Instead of coming up with concrete timelines and solutions, unemployed North Carolinians are being left hanging for weeks. Now they have to worry about whether they’ll be able to pay their bills.
The DES has provided little guidance to individuals seeking federal unemployment benefits, including whether those applicants who were denied state benefits but now qualify for federal benefits would have to reapply and when payouts would begin.
The newly eligible individuals include those who are self-employed, independent contractors and those who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits.
Perry references reporting by Carolina Journal’s Kari Travis:
The Carolina Journal released a report yesterday showing that the DES is the worst in the nation at making timely payments to applicants, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. During the first quarter of the year, the state paid out just 67.2% of first payments in a timely fashion, compared to the national average of 86.5%.
DES has said they are trying to fix some of the technical issues. Travis reports:
Technical fixes to the DES website are under way. It’s taken down every night between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. for system changes, upgrades, and improvements. That’s for “the foreseeable future,” a notice on the website reads when the website is accessed overnight. CJ is still working to get answers about when those fixes will be complete, when the website will be updated with new information for independent contractors and self-employed people, and how DES is prioritizing application approvals.