Unemployment benefit payments approach $5 billion; first wave of claims resolved

Unemployment benefit payments approach $5 billion; first wave of claims resolved
In the five weeks since the DES appointed a dedicated team to resolve claims filed during the first month, all of those claims have been resolved. (Source: WXIX-TV19)

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security (NCDCDES) announced Thursday unemployment benefits paid out since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic were approaching $5 billion.

Between March 15 and May 3, more than one million unemployment claims were filed

Within a couple of weeks of the start of the pandemic, it became apparent the system could not cope with the huge influx of claims and claimants quickly became frustrated.

In early June, the DES implemented new measures to address the backlog of claims; at that time, 57,000 cases were pending resolution.

In the five weeks since the DES appointed a dedicated team to resolve claims filed during the first month (Period 1), all those claims have been resolved.

The total number of claims pending resolution from April 19 through May 16 (Period 2) and May 17 through June 16 (Period 3) is 31,017.

Of the 1,118,284 claimants since March 15, 68 percent have been approved, 21 percent were not eligible, seven percent were not approved for state benefits but are pending resolution for federal benefits and four percent are pending resolution for state benefits.

Payments are made through the State Unemployment Insurance Program and the three federal programs created as part of the CARES Act (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)).

State benefits are paid from the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust fund; currently, approximately $3 billion remain in that fund.

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