News Department

NJ Labor Department distributes $300 FEMA payments to unemployed workers

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has successfully processed $1.2 billion in FEMA payments, and eligible claimants can expect to receive this supplemental benefit as a lump-sum payment over the next two business days, depending on their bank.

FEMA Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) is a limited-time federal program that pays supplemental benefits to most workers unemployed during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. The benefit is $300 per week for up to six weeks, for a maximum payment of $1,800.

“Processing these payments required us to develop new programming that had not been tested previously, and it took longer than anticipated for the payments to go through. Our team worked around the clock to get this extra help to hundreds of thousands of people in our state who are in dire need because COVID-19 has upended their work situations.”

The Labor Department announced last week that  800,000-plus claimants were unemployed for at least part of the six-week period covered by the federal program, and would be eligible. Most had already declared their joblessness to be COVID-related, and thus were in line to receive the benefit automatically. Those who had not affirmed a COVID-related reason for their unemployment were required to provide an attestation by Oct. 16. Those claimants received emails, text messages and calls from the department with instructions.

Because this is a federal program, the New Jersey Labor Department has no control over whether additional funds will be released for another round of payments.

The Labor Department has received 1.7 million unemployment applications since mid-March, including 28,669* new claims for the week ending Oct. 17, a 1 percent decline from the prior week. Roughly 1.45 million applicants have met the monetary requirements for benefits, and 96 percent have received payment.

The Department has distributed $16.7 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic, including $256 million last week. Benefits to the average worker top $12,000.

Click the images below to view them full-size.

Here is a look at the number of new unemployment claims received by the department each week:New Claims Week of October 22

*This represents the final number for the week ending Oct. 17. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 27,652 – 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), which 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.

For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov and 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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