The General Assembly’s proposal to overhaul the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system includes changes to the benefit structure that will drastically reduce benefits for workers at a time when unemployment remains high, jobs are scarce, and workers are struggling to find work.
And do you know what else is on the chopping block? Three small, but important UI provisions that are nationally recognized as best practices and have been adopted by the majority of states. The family hardship, disability and health, and trailing spouse provisions allow workers to maintain economic security when they lose or leave their jobs due to serious and unexpected life events. Under current law, for instance, a worker who loses her job solely because she is unable to accept work during a particular shift because of the inability to secure childcare, eldercare, or care for a disabled family member is eligible for UI benefits.
The new proposal eliminates this provision. Why? Would it substantially help the state repay the UI trust fund debt? Not likely. In 2010, only 0.1 percent of the benefit dollars paid out were paid to claimants under the family hardship provision. And a mere 0.008 percent of the total benefits were paid out to claimants under the trailing spouse provision, which allows a worker whose spouse is transferred to a geographic location too far for his spouse to commute and thus quits her job to be eligible for UI benefits.
Learn more about these proposed eligibility eliminations here, and find out how far behind North Carolina will be if we allow this proposal to move forward by checking out our state comparison fact sheet.