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RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter to North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger urging them to expand unemployment benefits for North Carolinians, which are currently among the lowest in the nation.

In the letter, Governor Cooper underscored his commitment to aiding North Carolinians left unemployed because of COVID-19 and called on legislative leaders to take action by expanding the time frame and the amount available for state unemployment benefits.

The Governor shared that while his administration has begun steps to accept the additional $300 weekly unemployment support from the federal government, it is imperative that Congress and the President provide more reliable help for the unemployed. The Governor believes the state’s $100 share should be applied through North Carolina’s Unemployment Trust Fund and not CARES Act funds.

The text of Cooper’s letter is below

The Honorable Tim Moore


North Carolina House of Representatives

16 West Jones Street, Room 2304

Raleigh, NC 27601

The Honorable Phil Berger

President Pro Tempore

North Carolina Senate

16 West Jones Street, Room 2007

Raleigh, N.C. 27601

August 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. President Pro Tempore:

I am in receipt of your letter from yesterday requesting I take steps to secure unemployment payments to North Carolinians per the terms of President Trump’s executive order. My administration has already begun preparing the application for the payments.

Let me be clear. I refuse to let North Carolinians suffer because Congress and the President have been unable to get the job done and you have failed to help the unemployed.

Congress and the President should approve the full federal supplement of $600 per week in unemployment compensation. While I appreciate your new-found interest in helping people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, you as legislators should do more.

North Carolina has among the worst state unemployment benefits in the country but you have failed to remedy that in the middle of this pandemic. When you return on Sept. 2, you should extend state unemployment benefits to at least 24 weeks (it’s now the lowest in the country at 12 weeks) and increase the maximum weekly state benefit to at least $500 (it’s now $350).

As we await federal guidance for the new federal $300 per week benefit, I encourage the President and Congress to agree on more reliable help for the unemployed and to replenish the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund being used for this temporary aid. In the interim, North Carolina should fund its $100 state share from North Carolina’s Unemployment Trust Fund and not the remaining federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money. With no federal help in sight, CRF money should be reserved for additional critical pandemic needs like helping small businesses, schools and health care.

I look forward to working with you on behalf of North Carolina residents as we fight this pandemic and rebuild our state’s economy

With kind regards, I am

Very truly yours,


Roy Cooper

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