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Former business owner says reason behind lower unemployment benefits doesn't add up

Former business owner says reason behind lower unemployment benefits doesn't add up
(Photo credit: WLOS)

The timeframe is now shorter to receive federal unemployment compensation in North Carolina. That decision relates directly to the unemployment rate, but it doesn't rest well with a Haywood County business owner who lost her business because of coronavirus.

Nikki White is trying to make it month to month and said she needs that unemployment.

“I’m a previous business owner that has suffered a business loss,” White said.

White lost her Moxxie Marketing business in Waynesville because of the pandemic and ran into immediate tough times.

“I'm a single mom,” she said.

Unemployment became vital, she said. And to help make ends meet, White is cobbling together a means to some income.

“I ended up renting out the downstairs portion of my house on Airbnb back in March and then just built my tiny home. And now I’ve got my detached shed,” White said.

It's irregular money coming in, but White said it’s not much compared to running a business.

SITUATION GRAVE FOR NORTH CAROLINA'S UNEMPLOYED

“By these standards, unemployment benefits still help my family," White said.

She’s dismayed that extended benefits, initially for 9.6 weeks are being cut back to six weeks.

“After Oct. 10, 2020, the maximum length of time a person in North Carolina can receive federal extended benefits will be six weeks, regardless of when the person began receiving these benefits," Kerry McComber, with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, said. "Extended benefits is a federal extension to state unemployment insurance benefits that becomes available to states during periods of high unemployment.”

In explaining the rationale for fewer weeks, the U.S. Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in seven states, including North and South Carolina, “fell below the 8% threshold necessary to remain 'on' a HUP (High Unemployment Period) in EB."

White said it's fuzzy math.

CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION CENTER: TRACK THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, IMPACTS, AND HEADLINES ABOUT THE PANDEMIC HERE

“So, how are COVID cases going up by the thousands within 24 hours and yet our unemployment is going so significantly down?” White asked.

She said the pandemic's impact on business owners, who put people to work, is under-represented.

“I truly believe that we have been the ones that have mostly been impacted and not talked about,” she said. “It’s fend for yourself.”

White said you can't just lose a business and go start another one. She’s expecting tough times for a while.

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