Jobless told they owe money to the ESC

A couple of years ago the Employment Security Commission might have had 10,000 checks to handle on any given day. This fall, there have been nearly four times as many claims to deal with on certain days as the state's unemployment rate has risen to its hightest rate in nearly nine years. now the staff at the ESC will get a break, as the ESC joins a dozen other states in the country in offering direct deposits. STAFF PHOTO JIM BOUDNS


Thousands of long-term unemployed North Carolinian’s could soon owe the state money because the Employment Security Commission improperly made about $28 million in payments over the last two years.

Last week, the ESC began sending out letters to about 38,000 people who it has determined were either overpaid or underpaid through no fault of their own.

Recipients, all of whom received unemployment benefits for a year or longer, are getting anywhere from one to six letters depending on the number of times their benefits have been extended.

The final letter has the correct amount due, but the letters often aren’t arriving in the right order. The letters also tell people they can apply for a waiver to have the overpayment forgiven. But the ESC can provide no details on how each wavier will be evaluated.

Despite sending out the letters, the ESC was unable on Monday to provide an estimate of how many people will owe the state money.

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