News Department

NJ Labor Department distributes $1.2B in FEMA payments; Total unemployment compensation now tops $18B

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has distributed $1.2 billion in FEMA payments, bringing total unemployment benefits to $18.1 billion for jobless and under-employed workers amid COVID-19.

The average unemployed New Jersey worker has received just over $13,000 in wage-replacement benefits since the pandemic sidelined a significant portion of New Jersey’s workforce.

The FEMA payment, known as Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) , is a limited-time federal program that paid a $300 weekly supplement to most workers unemployed during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. The maximum benefit is for six weeks, for a total of $1,800.

During these times we really appreciate the importance of safety-net programs such as Unemployment Insurance, which help bridge the gap until people return to work. Our mission is to get these benefits out to people while they are hurting financially, and to help them get back to work as quickly as possible through our workforce training programs and services,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.

On Wednesday, the department completed a second run of FEMA payments for claimants who had earnings during the covered period. As a result, $90 million will hit the direct deposit accounts and debit cards of an additional 88,000 NJ workers.

Also Wednesday, the Labor Commissioner joined Gov. Murphy and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross for an announcement on workplace protections for employees at their job site during COVID-19.

The governor’s executive order empowers the Labor and Health departments to ensure that both public- and private-sector workplaces remain safe amid the pandemic. New Jersey’s continued national leadership in workplace protections instills confidence among employers and employees and helps drive New Jersey’s economy forward,” said Asaro-Angelo.

For more information on returning to work during COVID-19, click here.

For the week ending Oct. 24, New Jersey saw a 5 percent decline in new unemployment claims, for a weekly total of 27,201* new claims. To date, 1.74 million people have applied for unemployment since mid-March, and 1.45 million have met the monetary requirements for benefits. Of those, 96 percent have received payment.

Here is a look at the number of new unemployment claims received by the department each week:

*This represents the final number for the week ending Oct. 24. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 26,413 – is based on advanced reporting.

Here is a look at the weekly payments made by the Labor Department to eligible claimants:

PUA, PEUC and FPUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits through the end of the year; maximum eligibility is 46 weeks. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Most of them are able to transition to 20 weeks of state Extended Benefits (EB). Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week to everyone eligible for unemployment for the weeks of April 4 through July 25. LWA provided up to six weeks of supplemental benefits through FEMA to people unemployed the weeks of Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 due to COVID, and who were eligible for at least $100 in weekly unemployment.

For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit

Anyone looking for work is encouraged to visit New Jersey’s jobs portal —

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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