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Unemployed In NC? You May Need To Verify More Job Searches To Collect Benefits

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The state Commerce Department is behind a major jump in the number of weekly job searches claimants must have to collect benefits.

Dale Folwell is Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security and he supports increasing weekly documented job searches from two to five.

“So we think this will increase the velocity of people getting off the unemployment rolls and looking for work," said Folwell.

Folwell says the current system was confusing for some people.  He says his office decided to cut the confusion and add searches at the same time.

'We think this will increase the velocity of people getting off the unemployment rolls and looking for work.'

“The law actually said you had to make two attempts but on two separate days," said Folwell.  "People were losing their benefits because they would come in and say they looked for two jobs on the same day.”

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance agrees with the plan to increase the number of job searches.  But Bill Rowe, Director of Advocacy for the Justice Center, doesn’t.

“Having a hard and fast number sometimes is often used as a way to discourage or have people lose their unemployment benefits," said Rowe.

Rowe says most states don’t require five job searches a week. He says demanding an increase in work searches could actually discourage laid off workers and become cumbersome for employers, especially in communities where there are few jobs.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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