Thousands in NC facing abrupt end to unemployment checks

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In east Charlotte Friday, Eyewitness News found Laura Aguirre searching for a  job to support herself and two children, and dealing with the harsh reality that her extended unemployment benefits are about to end.

“It's basically taking money away from us that we really need,” she said.

Aguirre is one of 80,000 people in North Carolina who face an abrupt end to unemployment checks as of Dec. 29, unless Congress approves additional funding.

That doesn't mean all unemployment checks will stop.  People out of a job will still get them for six months, but the four different levels of extensions that have been providing up to a year and a half of extra benefits will all expire at the same time, just four days after Christmas.

“In Mecklenburg County, we'll have probably 8,000 or 9,000 people.  That's a lot of people,” said Randall Darnell with the NC Employment Security Commission.

But as Eyewitness News stood outside Darnell's unemployment office, Congressman Mel Watt called, saying he's now signing on to a new request being sent to the president and congressional leaders.

“Asking them to extend unemployment benefits through 2013,” Watt said.

Watt admits he's not sure if it'll happen. And that leaves Aguirre unsure how she will cope.

“Dec. 29 comes and the checks stop -- do you know what you'll do?” Eyewitness News asked.

“Nope. I don’t have any other way of support,” Aguirre said.