As of Monday, changes in the unemployment benefits that many Macon County citizens receive went into effect. The new law cuts off extended federal benefits in an attempt to pay off some of North Carolina's $2.5 billion debt in unemployment claims.
North Carolina has the third highest debt in the country behind New York and California and is ranked fifth in unemployment nationally. Lawmakers opted to change aspects of the unemployment compensation laws to try and get a handle on the massive debt to the federal government. Legislation passed and the Governor signed the bill that would reduce the time that citizens can receive compensation from 26 weeks to 19 weeks, as well as reduce the amount being paid out from a maximum of $535 to $350.