During the COVID-19 crisis millions of people became unemployed and Congress responded by passing the CARES Act which, among other things, provided extended federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for folks in addition to the UI benefits provided by their states. The two types of federal assistance are pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC) and pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA). PUA benefits are primarily for the self-employed and independent contractors. Here are some North Carolina numbers from an article in the Winston-Salem Journal:
- $8.16 billion in state and federal UI benefits were paid from late March through Sept. 30
- $670 million were paid from Oct. 1 through December 5, indicating that many people have exhausted their benefits
- 31% of the 4.35 million North Carolinians considered part of the state’s workforce as of mid-October have filed a state or federal unemployment claim, according to DES.
- North Carolinians, at most, could have collected 34½ weeks of state and federal UI benefits, broken down as: 12 weeks of regular state-funded benefits; 13 weeks of federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation; and between six to 9½ weeks of federal extended benefits.
- Unemployment insurance recipients who qualified for up to 22½ weeks of federal extended UI benefits likely began exhausting them in early November. Most of the rest will be done Dec. 26 unless an extension is passed by Congress during its current lame-duck session.