By Nathan Ham
Many people are scrambling to file unemployment claims after numerous businesses across the state have been forced to close down and lay people off over the last week. People were visiting the unemployment claims website at such a high rate that the website continues to crash.
“The last number we had was 22,000 claims filed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday last week across North Carolina. January is normally their busiest month and they processed 17,000 the whole month,” said Anita Lowe, the career center manager in Boone.
There are two ways to apply for unemployment benefits. You can apply by phone at 888-737-0259 or apply online at des.nc.gov.
“The website has been extremely busy and overrun, but they have worked on that and it seems to be working better this morning,” Lowe said.
Lowe added that she and her staff would be happy to help answer any questions that you might have.
“It’s a difficult time for everyone and we realize that so we are here to help as much as we can. Our entire staff is here and we’re working our normal hours,” Lowe said.
The career center is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday. The building is closed to the public as are all other Watauga County public buildings. If you have any questions, please call 828-265-5385 or visit their website at www.ncworks.gov.
Under an executive order from Governor Roy Cooper last week, the order suspended the one-week waiting period for benefits and will not require people to look for another job to obtain benefits. Two of the most significant changes are that workers who may not be unemployed but did have some of their hours cut back can receive benefits and employers will not be held responsible for unemployment payments due to the virus outbreak throughout North Carolina.