Gov. Roy Cooper responds to frustrations as nearly 1 million North Carolinians file for unemployment

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gov. Roy Cooper addressed North Carolinians who have been having difficulty receiving their unemployment benefits Thursday.

"It is unacceptable for a person who is unemployed to not get through," Cooper said during a news briefing, speaking of the hours people have spent on hold with the Division of Employment Security, only to not get through. Others have said their application was denied or their account is frozen.

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"I have ordered the employment security commission to increase the number of people who are handling telephone calls and increase the capability online to take claims," the governor saud. "There are a lot more people who need to get paid and to have their calls answered and to make sure their claims are taken care of."

On April 29, the Division of Employment Security reported 28,753 North Carolinians filed for unemployment assistance. For claims filed between March 15 and April 29, there were a total of 935,384 applications filed and just over $994.3 million dollars paid out. Of that figure, the agency reports 789,348 claims were filed due to COVID-19.

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"Every one of these claims represents a family that is on the edge and they need to be attended to as quickly as possible," said Cooper.

Two weeks ago, DES announced they would hire more than 1,600 people to process claims and issue payments.

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