The U.S. Department of Labor has released $205,063,552 in federal funds to shore up North Carolina’s unemployment insurance plan.
States that meet federal guidelines were eligible to receive the federal funds, appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka the Stimulus law. North Carolina’s haul represents the maximum available to the state under the program.
The state can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or—if appropriated by the Legislature—for administering the unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.
To qualify, the state had to show it provides benefits to assist new entrants to the workforce, part-time workers and workers who changed jobs because of compelling family reasons.
The North Carolina’s unemployment insurance program already complied with federal criteria.
State Employment Security Administration Chair Lynn Holmes noted that North Carolina’s program provides benefits for “part-time workers, victims of domestic violence, trailing spouses, and those leaving work to care for sick family members.” In 2009, the Legislature expanded coverage to workers who leave a job or are discharged because of their own disability.
At the same time, it expanded benefit eligibility for those seeking only part-time work.
In addition to funding the program, the ARRA funds will help finance an integrated unemployment benefit and tax accounting system.