Change NC state law that prevents people with disabilities from receiving unemployment

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Imagine you've worked for 9 years and you lose your job.... when you file for unemployment benefits you are denied b/c the state you live in says you are "not able" to work.... how would you feel?

Workers with disabilities that were recently laid off and can't find new jobs due to COVID-19 are now in crisis because of state law NC GS 96-14.9c.  This law prevents people who receive/apply for disability benefits from being eligible for unemployment b/c the State of North Carolina considers them "not able to work." 

Note- this law is disproportionally impacting the group of people who chose to replace their disability check with a paycheck. How does this make any sense? What happens to all of the money that their employers paid into the unemployment system on their behalf?

Other states do not have this restriction. See Maryland's law. In fact, there is only one other state that does to "top story."

Advocations and their clients have appealed these decisions, reached out to legislators, disability rights groups, etc. but the only answer we've received is "state law is state law." Therefore, it's time to change this law. 

By lending your support for this petition, one of the people you will help is T-man. He's given me permission to share his story and the link to the trailer for Adventures with T-man, the documentary Wake Forest's graduate school filmed about his life.

T-man has worked since he was 19 and achieved every goal that he's set for himself, including earning two degrees, going to work full-time, and getting his first apartment.  Now because of this law, he's at risk of losing everything he has WORKED so hard to achieve. 

From T-Man's last unemployment appeal letter: "Your decision to withhold my unemployment means that I will become homeless unless I am able to immediately find work. I was having a hard time finding a job when the unemployment rate was at an all-time low, now unemployment is at an all-time high... What am I supposed to do? 

I am a taxpayer and I lost my job. Why do you treat me differently because I have a disability? Your state law says people like me can’t work, I can and want to work. Please reconsider your decision." 

Yet, this issue is much larger than T-man. 

Based on the SSA website, there are more than 147,000 SSDI beneficiaries in North Carolina that are between the ages of 18-65.  Many can and want to work, but as demonstrated by the NC law GS 96-14.9c the system is designed to keep them on disability "benefits" and in poverty for the rest of their lives.

It's time we take a stand together. Will you join us?

*If this law has impacted you or someone you love, please reach out to me directly.