Image courtesy of WLOS News 13

Every day, our journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on the critical overlooked and under-reported issues important to all North Carolinians.

This story originally appeared here, and is published by Carolina Public Press through a content-sharing agreement with WLOS-TV.

By WLOS News 13

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would slash unemployment benefits for thousands of North Carolinians. It’s part of an overhaul of the state’s unemployment program, an overhaul that our News 13 investigation found is sorely needed. Last year, the state paid out more than $34-million in benefits to people who didn’t qualify for them, including some currently in prison.

So while ordinary, law-abiding job seekers are being denied benefits, others are collecting benefits behind bars. The ESC, or Employment Security Commission, is now blocking inmates’ ability to call in claims. Soon people will have to apply “in person” once a month to re-up their benefits and employers will have to vouch for laid off employees or those benefits stop. This isn’t the only flaw we found in the state’s unemployment system.

Here’s the full report:


WLOS ABC 13 is the ABC affiliate based in Asheville, N.C., and covers much of Western North Carolina. Check your local listings for news programming, or visit

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