News Department

Pandemic unemployment relief to jobless workers tops $25.6B, as new weekly claims rise

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has now distributed more than $25.6 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits to New Jersey workers, as the state reported a one-week spike in new claims last week.  

For the week ending March 27, the department received 16,716* new unemployment claims, an increase of more than 6,000 from the prior week. The increase was broad-based across industry sectors and included a bump in claims from the self-employed.  

For the week, the department distributed $431 million in benefits. The average claimant has received $17,122 in pandemic-related benefits. 

More than a year into the pandemic, the vast majority of unemployment claimants are transitioning seamlessly onto their new benefit year, thanks to automated reviews of their claim, which are occurring automatically. New Jersey, the only state to automate this federally mandated review, is reporting a 98 percent success rate among claims that have gone through the benefit year end review. 

The department has also begun its partnership with, a third-party identity authenticator, that is designed to protect legitimate claimants’ identification and stop those attempting to commit identity theft or fraud. Tens of thousands of claimants are expected to verify their identity through in the weeks and months ahead. 

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

*This represents the final number for the week ending March 27. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 19,475 – is based on advanced reporting.    

**The total  number of new initial claims, 2,083,536, includes 249,643 claims that have been reopened by residents who returned to unemployment after a period of employment within a calendar year, as well as claims that turned out to be fraudulent. 

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

The American Rescue Plan signed March 11 extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – the $300 supplement – to eligible claimants for 25 weeks, through Sept. 4.  

The maximum eligibility for PUA is now 75 weeks. PEUC now provides up to 49 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Extended benefits (EB) adds a final 20 weeks of benefits, though that will drop to 13 weeks once the economy recovers sufficiently. The $300 FPUC supplement is for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount during eligible weeks. There is also a provision in the new rescue law that excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from having to be reported as income on federal taxes for households earning less than $150,000/year. 

For more information on state or federal unemployment benefits, visit       

Information on virtual Career Services can be found here: 

Visit New Jersey’s jobs portal here:       

For national unemployment data, visit and for archived NJ claims data, visit      

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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