Reductions in insurance benefits for the Unemployed hurt communities.

lewis-hine-workers-nyThe General Assembly’s move to change unemployment insurance benefits is hurting those who are unemployed through no fault of their own; harming the state’s economy; and possibly, causing the loss of additional jobs.

Among the changes: first, reductions in the number of weeks that an unemployed North Carolinian can receive benefits. Second, a reduction in the dollar amount of those benefits—up to $300 less per month.  That hurts.

As of July 1, those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own are now able to receive a maximum of only 14 weeks of unemployment insurance compared to the previous maximum of 26. That 14-week maximum is the lowest in the nation.

The cumulative impact translates into even more difficulties, like paying mortgages, utilities, food and gas to go to interviews. Many of the unemployed also find themselves without health coverage even if they are part of the 500,000 the expanded Medicaid program would have covered.  The state turned down that free federal money.

A reduction in income means there’s less to spend at home.  Result:  communities suffer because small businesses are often forced to lay off employees due to loss of revenues.