Combating Unemployment with More Work Searches

The law has recently changed in the world of unemployment in North Carolina. In an effort to combat the looming unemployment debt that was accrued during the recession and in an effort to find jobless workers new opportunities our beloved legislature has now required that applicants for unemployment perform a work search minimum of five jobs per week rather than two.

Opponents of the bill say that this work search requirement is too cumbersome for rural communities. Employers would be inundated with job applications and may not have the resources to funnel through all of the new Applications.

Another Step in Unemployment Reform

The Division of Employment Security (formerly Employment Security Commission) and our legislature over the past couple of years has made substantial modifications to North Carolina’s unemployment law. The most talked about changes were the reduction in number of weeks one could claim unemployment benefits and the reduction in the amount one could collect per week. However there have been a number of other changes which have allowed our state to repay the debt faster than anticipated.

Once such change included the modification of who is even qualified to receive unemployment benefits. Another such change included the removal of a penalty period which allowed some claimants to receive part of their unemployment and prevented employers from being charged for those claimant’s benefits.

Unemployment Claims Requirement

One of the more interesting changes included an identification requirement. Within a relatively short period of time following your application for unemployment benefits you have to appear in person at the unemployment office and present ID. This was touted as an identity theft and fraud prevention procedure but had the ancillary effect of substantially reducing the number of people who received unemployment benefits. What has happened is that many people would apply for unemployment and then be unemployed for only a couple of weeks. Prior to the identification requirements those people would eventually receive a couple of weeks of unemployment benefits. What has happened since the identification requirement went into effect is that many of those people don’t have the ability or time to go to the unemployment office because they are already back at work and they miss out on those couple of weeks of benefits. This effect multiplied by thousands and thousands of people has resulted in more money to throw at the unemployment debt.

Another change to the unemployment law included cutting off access to public records that attorneys were using to contact Clements about unemployment appeal hearings. This has resulted in fewer people being represented by counsel and more people seeking help from nonprofit organization such as legal aid of North Carolina which have very limited resources.

This new work search requirement again is being touted as an effort to get people back to work but it will probably have the effect of decreasing the unemployment debt more quickly.

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