News Department

New Jersey continues FEMA distributions, awaits word on additional federal pandemic relief

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development continued disbursing its federal allotment of $300 FEMA payments by distributing another $19 million to 18,000 newly eligible claimants, who are receiving the money this week. In all, New Jersey workers have received $1.35 billion in FEMA benefits.

The Department, meanwhile, awaits more information on a $900 billion economic relief bill approved by Congress on Monday that would extend federal unemployment benefits through March 14, if the President signs it. Those benefits are set to expire on Dec. 26, affecting roughly 500,000 New Jerseyans.

“Unemployed and underemployed workers are in dire need of additional economic assistance to make it through this pandemic. These federal benefits are sorely needed now – to help our fellow residents keep food on the table, keep the lights and heat on, and, in some cases, keep them from becoming homeless,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We can’t even begin our work to distribute these benefits until the President acts, then allows the USDOL to write the rules to implement the legislation.”

For the week ending Dec. 19, the Department saw 17,611* new unemployment claims, an increase of 1,243 (7.6 percent) from the prior week, driven largely by a bump in construction claims because of the snow. The Department has received 1.87 million unemployment applications since COVID-19 took hold in mid-March; that figure includes closed claims that were later reopened.

The Department distributed more than $256 million in benefits last week, for a total of $20.2 billion in pandemic benefits to New Jersey workers. The average claimant has received $14,144 in benefits.

 Here are the week-by-week totals of new unemployment claims:

Here is the breakdown of weekly benefits payments to eligible New Jersey workers:

PUA, PEUC and FPUC were authorized by Congress under the CARES Act through the end of the year. The maximum eligibility for PUA is 46 weeks. PEUC provides up to 13 additional weeks of federal benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Extended Benefits (EB) adds a final 20 weeks of state benefits. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week unemployment supplement before expiring in July. LWA provided up to six weeks of supplemental benefits to people unemployed the weeks of 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.

For national unemployment data, click here and for archived NJ claims data, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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