On Tuesday, the Senate failed to get enough votes to pass an extension of federal emergency unemployment benefits.
But while Senate leaders decide their next move, people in North Carolina will go on living without these benefits — as they have since July.
All of the country lost federal emergency unemployment benefits on Dec. 28, but North Carolina was unaffected. The state had already opted out of the federal benefits last summer when the N.C. General Assembly decreased the maximum amount of state money an unemployed person could receive in a week from $535 to $350.
Federal emergency unemployment benefits are meant to kick in when recipients have exhausted their state benefits.
Since the extended federal unemployment benefits were canceled, the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service — a nonprofit that provides shelter, food and services for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area — has not seen a drastic rise in the number of people it helps, said Kristin Lavergne, the community services director.
Still, its numbers have remained consistently high, she said.
“We have had people come in saying they were concerned about what they were going to do if they couldn’t find a job,” she said.
The bill that was considered by the Senate might have also reinstated benefits in North Carolina via a provision created by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C..
“As we slowly regain jobs lost during the Great Recession, out-of-work North Carolinians should not suffer because of the General Assembly’s reckless actions,” said Hagan, who had supported the bill.