Charlotte--Fran Butler hopes she's one click away from trading in a small cubicle at the Job Link Career Center for her own office.
She's been searching for work since she lost her job as a counselor for aids patients last September.
"You go from 15 years of working consecutively to unemployment," Butler said.
The East Charlotte resident also lost her home to foreclosure and had to file for bankruptcy.
Butler said her weekly unemployment checks are a huge help.
"I use it and I budget. I pick and I prioritize what needs to be taken care of."
Butlers and other Charlotte residents are outraged the government gave away $555-million dollars worth of improper insurance payments
in North Carolina.
"It's not fair that people sit on their butts and do nothing and get money for it," said Asheville resident Andrew McJunkin.
Federal officials say North Carolina is working to stop the problem that could cost taxpayers even more. When unemployment benefits run out,
officials say businesses get taxed more. And many of those businesses are expected to pass along the costs to you.
South Charlotte Resident Antwan Lipscomb said, "It's not a good thing at all seeing the economy is in the shape its in right now. It's not a good thing."
As Fran Butler hopes for a new opportunity, she says she's going to be even better at helping people people through
"Now I've actually lived it, experienced it and have plans to succeed...so I'll be able to give that back," Butler said.
Violators who receive improper unemployment insurance payments could be forced to pay a 15% penalty.
Anti-Fraud officials could raise that penalty this summer.