TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey residents still awaiting their extended unemployment benefit payments can expect to receive them by Fri Feb 12.
Since an 11-week extension in federal benefits was approved at the end of December, there has been a lapse in payments for some 75,000 residents whose jobless benefits had expired prior to the signing of the new COVID-19 relief legislation.
The reason for the delay: the Department of Labor and Workforce Development needed to reprogram its computer systems to accommodate the federal expansion of claims under the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act.
“The good news is we've completed the programing as of Tuesday, so that no one else who exhausted benefits will be stuck,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo, who made the announcement during Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 press briefing on Feb 5.
“We expect to be able to process the 75,000 retroactive claims by Feb 12,” he said. “Claimants will receive an email from us that their claim is ready.”
While Asaro-Angelo has been under mounting pressure for the payment delay, which has affected five percent of all New Jerseyans currently collecting unemployment benefits, he stood by the work done by his department during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since October alone, 10 million payments have been sent to workers. Since last March, we paid out $22 billion to more than 1.5 million claimants,” he said. “The average New Jersey claimant has received more than $15,000 in benefits, with 54% receiving more than $20,000."
"Even the population we're talking about currently waiting for this additional relief has received approximately $25,000 to $35,000 in family sustaining benefits these past months," he added. “But I know it's of little comfort to the small percentage of people who are waiting for their benefits. During this pandemic, even a small percentage is tens of thousands of claimants,” he said.
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