Unemployed get benefit extension


The extension had been in limbo since last week after not passing in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senator for N.C., Democrat Kay Hagan, told ABC11 Eyewitness News on a phone interview Wednesday that the process of getting the 10 billion-dollar extension passed was frustrating.

“He held senate and the American people hostage for days because he wanted 100 percent of his demands met,” Senator Hagan explained.

The “he” she’s referring to is Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning. Bunning blocked the extension for days. During that time, thousands of North Carolinians lost their benefits.

Hagan presided over the Senate Tuesday night when Bunning caved.

“Thankfully, Bunning relented last night and we did pass these absolutely necessary extensions yesterday evening with a vote of 78-to-19,” Hagan said.

If the extension had not passed, NC Employment Security Commission officials say every week another 6,500 North Carolinians would have run out of benefits.

“What you've now done is given them a 30-day reprieve,” explained David Clegg, ESC COO. “It's not a long-term fix. It's a 30-day reprieve.”

That’s 30 days some unemployed workers like Leslie Ramsay might not have had benefits. She, like so many others, is looking for all the help she can get as she tries to get back into the work force.

“So, that way at least some of my worries are not such a big worry,” Ramsay told ABC11. “I have something until I can find something. It's a big buffer for me.”

Ramsay has been out of work since October.

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