RALEIGH — North Carolina’s unemployment benefits office failed to distribute quickly enough $438 million in initial payments to displaced workers in 2020 and early 2021, state auditors said Monday while scrutinizing the agency’s work during the pandemic. The audit blamed the claims process and poor monitoring for the delays among other issues.
It’s well-known that the Division of Employment Security struggled in 2020 to get payments out the door promptly. The division saw a record number of applicants for traditional unemployment programs and those created by the federal and state government during the lockdown and related business restrictions. The state unemployment rate reached 13.5% in April and May 2020.