NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development continued to see a post-holiday jump in new jobless claims last week, as it prepared to send $300 supplemental unemployment payments to claimants on their first week of eligibility under the expanded CARES Act.
The supplemental benefit should hit the debit cards and direct deposit accounts of eligible claimants beginning Tuesday, depending on their bank. It is for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount, and is in addition to their regular benefit payment. The first allowable week of the $300 supplemental benefit is the week ending Jan. 2, 2021.
Also under the expanded CARES Act, those currently collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will see no interruption in benefits, and should continue certifying for weekly benefits.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said the fact that these additional benefits would immediately be available for hundreds of thousands of out-of-work New Jerseyans was due, in part, to staff increases and automation upgrades completed since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold 10 months ago.
“We know what a welcome relief these additional benefits will be to hundreds of thousands of unemployed residents who are struggling to find work,” Asaro-Angelo said.
Anyone whose benefits expired on Dec. 26 or later will also be eligible for the 11-week extension, but there will be a lapse while NJDOL reprograms its systems to allow for the additional payments. These claimants will be notified when they can resume certifying for weekly benefits.
Initial weekly unemployment claims totaled 20,986* for the week ending Jan. 2 — an increase of 2.6 percent, or 526 claims, over the prior week — with the total number of initial claims for benefits now topping 1.9 million since mid-March. Nearly $20.7 billion in benefits has been distributed to workers in need. The average claimant has received more than $14,000 in benefits.
Here are the week-by-week totals of new unemployment claims:
*This represents the final number for the week ending Jan. 2. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 19,375– is based on advanced reporting.
Here is the breakdown of weekly benefits payments to eligible New Jersey workers:
PUA and PEUC were authorized by Congress under the CARES Act through Dec. 26, then extended under the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act through March 13, 2021. The maximum eligibility for PUA is now 57 weeks. PEUC now provides up to 24 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Extended benefits (EB) adds a final 20 weeks of benefits. The renewed FPUC benefit is a $300/week unemployment supplement for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount; the original program, which provided $600/week in supplemental benefits, expired in July. Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) was funded by FEMA and provided six weeks of supplemental benefits to people unemployed Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 due to COVID.
For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.
Visit New Jersey’s jobs portal here: jobs.covid19.nj.gov.