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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: North Carolina

Infant Mortality – North Carolina

As NC babies die at one of the fastest rates in the country, Cooper calls for action plan, By John Murawski, August 31, 2018, News & Observer: “North Carolina has struggled with some of the nation’s worst infant mortality rates for decades, and now it’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s turn to wrestle with the stubborn public health challenge. Thirty years ago the state had plummeted to the nation’s second-worst infant mortality rate, prompting the creation of Smart Startand other government programs to reverse the trend…”

Unemployment Benefits – North Carolina, Kentucky

  • NC has country’s smallest unemployment benefits – but a $3 billion fund, By Colin Campbell, February 8, 2018, News and Observer: “People without jobs in North Carolina receive some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country and receive payments for a shorter time than in nearly every other state, according to a new report. A 2013 state law cut both the size and duration of unemployment benefits in North Carolina. Lawmakers said they made the change because the trust fund that pays for the program had a $2 billion deficit…”
  • Unemployed and out of luck. Plan would cut benefits for out-of-work Kentuckians, By Daniel Desrochers, February 8, 2018, Lexington Herald Leader: “A proposal in the Kentucky legislature would eliminate or reduce unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of out-of-work Kentuckians each year, boosting the bottom lines of businesses by forcing the unemployed to live on less…”

 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – North Carolina

North Carolina food stamp numbers are too good to be true, By Lynn Bonner, January 31, 2018, News and Observer: “An abrupt drop in food stamp use that had North Carolina leading the nation in the rate of people leaving the program turned out to be a fiction. Since last May, federal reports showed steep year-over-year drops in people enrolled in food stamps in North Carolina, with the participation rate declining faster than in any other state. In September 2017, the state reported fewer than a million people enrolled in food stamps, a low not seen since 2008 and one that represented a 40 percent decrease over 12 months…”

Maternal Mortality

New maternal mortality strategy relies on ‘medical homes’, By Michael Ollove, December 5, 2017, Stateline: “When Hannah White first showed up at the Mountain Area Health Education Center here three years ago, she was in trouble. She was 20 years old, a couple months into her first pregnancy and on the run from an abusive husband in Texas who already had broken her ribs in an attempt, she said, to kill her unborn child. She also has a form of hemophilia which prevents her body from producing platelet granules that stem bleeding. That disease had robbed her of her Malawian mother when Hannah was three months old, which ultimately led to her adoption by American missionaries…”

Staffing at High-Poverty Schools

Teachers are bailing out of high-poverty schools. Some say that needs to change, By T. Keung Hui, June 16, 2017, News & Observer: “By the time most Wake County students return to class in August, a fifth of their teachers will likely have either changed schools in Wake or left the school district entirely. The annual turnover among Wake’s 10,000 teachers creates challenges in which beginning teachers get more lower-scoring students than experienced educators do – and high-poverty schools have higher teacher turnover. Now school leaders want to re-examine how teachers are assigned and allowed to transfer between schools…”

News & Observer Series on Low-income Students in Gifted Classes

Counted Out, series homepage, News & Observer: “North Carolina’s public schools are failing to help thousands of low-income children who have shown they are smart enough to handle advanced work. An unprecedented analysis of seven years of state data shows that a far larger proportion of more affluent students are selected for gifted classes over their low-income peers with the same end-of-grade test scores…”

Foster Care Program – North Carolina

State law extends foster-care benefits, By Kate Elizabeth Queram, January 25, 2017, News & Record: “A recent change in state law allows children to stay in foster care through the age of 21, a safety net that advocates say can help children continue their education and decrease their likelihood of entering the criminal justice system.  The change, known as the Foster Care 18-to-21 initiative, was passed by the General Assembly in 2015 but did not go into effect until Jan. 1. The legislation tweaks several aspects of the state’s previous foster-care policy, under which children automatically aged out of the system at age 18…”

Unemployment Benefits – North Carolina

$2 billion in trust for jobless benefits. Is it time to increase unemployment checks?, By Richard Craver, October 6, 2016, Winston-Salem Journal: “North Carolina has more than $2 billion in its trust fund to pay unemployment benefits, a level close to what federal guidelines suggest for reserves.  State Division of Employment Security officials told legislators Wednesday the amount should be enough for the agency to handle the payout demands of the next recession without having to borrow again from the federal government.  However, some unemployment advocacy groups say the trust fund should be doubled to at least $4.2 billion before state officials should be secure with the amount…”

Economic Mobility – Charlotte, NC

Where children rarely escape poverty, By Emily DeRuy and Janie Boschma, March 7, 2016, The Atlantic: “Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to change its status as one of the worst places in the United States for poor children to have a shot at getting ahead as adults. If the city succeeds, its efforts may offer a roadmap for other major metro areas gripped by barriers such as concentrated poverty and school segregation. Improving schools, particularly how they serve poor black and Latino children, will be a crucial piece in the fight to reduce inequity. Right now, the percentage of children in Charlotte attending schools where at least half the students are poor varies significantly by race…”

SNAP Work Requirements

  • Work requirement resumes for food stamp recipients in eight Kentucky counties, By Bill Estep, January 14, 2016, Lexington Herald-Leader: “More than 17,000 food stamp recipients in eight Kentucky counties must begin part-time work, education or volunteer activities to keep their benefits under a requirement reinstated this month. The rule had been waived since March 2009 because of the recession, which drove up the number of people needing food stamps across the country.  With the economy recovering, however, the federal government did not extend the statewide waiver. It expired Jan. 1…”
  • Food stamps will soon require 20 hours of work or classes in NC, By Colin Campbell, January 10, 2016, Charlotte Observer: “Food stamp recipients in North Carolina soon will lose benefits unless they prove they’re working, volunteering or taking classes for at least 20 hours a week. That federal requirement – which applies to adults under 50 who don’t have children – was suspended in 2008 as the recession hit and unemployment rates rose. But the exemption ended Jan. 1 for 23 mostly urban counties across the state, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg. While the 77 other counties are seeing a slower economic recovery and could continue the federal exemption, the state legislature acted last year to restore the work and education requirement statewide starting July 1…”
  • What do the SNAP benefits changes mean for West Virginians?, By Kara Leigh Lofton, January 13, 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting: “On January 1st, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit requirements changed for about 38 thousand adults in West Virginia. These individuals must now meet a work requirement of 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a work or education-related training program to continue receiving food assistance. Those who do not meet these requirements will cease to be eligible for benefits after three months…”

SNAP and Medicaid and Work Requirements

  • Food stamp eligibility’s tie to labor divisive, By Beth Walton, September 29, 2015, Citizen-Times: “Some North Carolinians in need will have to work a little harder to maintain food stamp benefits come January. Undoing eight years of state policy, Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is requiring that childless, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 meet time-sensitive work requirements to continue receiving food assistance…”
  • Should Medicaid recipients have to work?, By Michael Ollove, September 30, 2015, Stateline: “If Arizona gets its way, its able-bodied, low-income adults will face the toughest requirements in the country to receive health care coverage through Medicaid. Most of those Medicaid recipients, and new applicants, would have to have a job, be looking for one or be in job training to qualify for the joint federal-state program for the poor. They would have to contribute their own money to health savings accounts, which they could tap into only if they met work requirements or engaged in certain types of healthy behavior, such as completing wellness physical exams or participating in smoking cessation classes. And most recipients would be limited to just five years of coverage as adults…”

State Jobless Benefit Requirements

  • N.C. House OKs tougher requirement for jobless benefits, By Richard Craver, August 19, 2015, Winston-Salem Journal: “The N.C. House approved changes Thursday to the state’s unemployment insurance benefits law that raise the number of required weekly job search contacts from two to five. Senate Bill 15, approved 83-27 on third vote, goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature. The changes would take effect Jan. 1.  The bill requires that people who receive unemployment benefits keep a record of their contacts, which can include online applications, and provide it to N.C. Division of Employment Security officials upon request…”
  • Worker advocates: New rule is Scott Walker’s latest effort to make unemployment benefits harder to collect, By Pat Schneider, August 21, 2015, Capital Times: “Patrick Hickey says that an additional filing requirement to collect unemployment compensation will lead to late checks and lost benefits, and that imposing it is part of how Gov. Scott Walker is curtailing assistance to state residents. ‘This is part and parcel of the administration’s goal to stigmatize poverty and shame poor people by making the system so cumbersome and humiliating that people give up,’ said Hickey, a member of the Workers’ Rights Center in Madison. The new rule will require workers making weekly unemployment benefits claims by phone to begin faxing or mailing in a log of their weekly job search efforts, according to a notice on the state Department of Workforce Development web site…”

Aging Out of Foster Care – North Carolina

Proposed bill would allow youth to remain in foster care until age 21, By Richard Craver, June 3, 2015, Winston-Salem Journal: “A bipartisan foster-care bill is gaining momentum in the General Assembly, with a Senate committee recommending on Tuesday approval of changes that includes providing services to youth until age 21.  There are companion ‘Fostering Success’ bills in the House (424) and Senate (424), both affecting the age limit for individuals in foster care and guardianship…”

Medicaid Expansion – North Carolina

NC may reverse course on Medicaid expansion, By Mark Barrett, November 16, 2014, Asheville Citizen-Times: “Whether to accept federal money to expand Medicaid is shaping up as one of the biggest questions to face lawmakers when the General Assembly opens its 2015 session in January. If Republicans reverse course, an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain coverage under Medicaid, which pays health care costs for poor children, low-income elderly people and the disabled. But doing so also would force the GOP to implement a key component of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Gov. Pat McCrory and outgoing House Speaker Thom Tillis both have said in recent weeks that it is time for the state to look again at the issue…”

Concentrated Poverty – North Carolina

Poverty spreads across Mecklenburg, North Carolina, By David Perlmutt, Gavin Off and Claire Williams, August 2, 2014, Charlotte Observer: “For Oscar Olivares’ neighbors, life in their south Charlotte apartment complex is a daily struggle with little way out. The apartments off Arrowood Road look kept up on the outside. On the inside, two, even four, families often share the rent and meals. Some sleep in cars when they can’t afford to rent. Nights can bring trouble – many residents stay locked inside. Olivares, 59, and wife Claudia, who both grew up in desperate poverty in Chile, chose to live at the complex to conduct mission work. He is a part-time chaplain for Forest Hill Church and works with the nonprofit Learning Help Centers of Charlotte, two groups among many that help poor residents try to overcome poverty…”

State Medicaid Programs – Oregon, North Carolina

  • Medicaid enrollees strain Oregon, By Gosia Wozniacka (AP), July 23, 2014, ABC News: “Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid. The problems come amid nationwide growing pains associated with the unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. health care system, and they show the effects of a widespread physician shortage on a state that has embraced Medicaid expansion…”
  • Many low-income N.C. workers are locked out of Medicaid, By Karen Garloch, July 25, 2014, Charlotte News and Observer: “They’re construction workers, waitresses and cashiers. They care for our children and elderly parents, clean our offices and bathrooms. But they go without health insurance because their incomes aren’t high enough to qualify for federal subsidies and too high to qualify for North Carolina’s current Medicaid program for low-income and disabled citizens. More than half of the 689,000 uninsured adults North Carolinians who fall into this so-called “Medicaid gap” are employed in jobs that are critical to the state’s economy, according to a report released Thursday by the North Carolina Justice Center, the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and Families USA…”

Child Care Subsidies – North Carolina

State budget could cost thousands child-care subsidies, By Emma Baccellieri, July 11, 2014, Charlotte Observer: “Hundreds of Charlotte children – and thousands across the state – could lose their after-school care when the state budget is approved. In an attempt to give higher priority to North Carolina’s youngest and poorest children, both the House and the Senate budgets include changes to how the state determines eligibility for child care subsidies. But while the proposed system would open up space for disadvantaged children under the age of 5, it would remove funding for nearly 12,000 school-age children – leaving many families in a difficult position…”

Farmers Markets and SNAP – North Carolina

Some NC farmers markets struggle to accept food stamps, By Andrea Weigl, April 10, 2014, News and Observer: “Consumers can use food stamps to buy produce at grocery stores, but the freshest local fruits and vegetables for sale at farmers markets are often not available to them. Many local markets would love to sell to those shoppers but find they don’t have the manpower or money to be able to accept food stamps. In Wake County, five small markets with grant funding and government or other financial support already accept or will soon be accepting food stamps; a few farmers at the state-run market off Lake Wheeler Road near downtown Raleigh accept them, too. Without such support, other markets have found the process daunting…”