(NEW JERSEY) — New Jersey workers who have exhausted their state and federal jobless benefits will receive another 20 weeks of unemployment benefits.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on July 1 that the extension will kick in after claimants exhaust up to 26 weeks of state unemployment, plus 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

Calling the extended benefits "music to the ears of many" at his June 2 press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy reported that the labor department received nearly 8,000 initial unemployment claims last week — a decrease of about 5,000 from the previous week. Over the past three and one-half months, more than 1.3 million claims have been filed with the department, representing 96 percent of all eligible persons. In total, $9.1 billion have been put into the accounts of New Jersey families.

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"The department continues its work to ensure that every New Jersey and who is eligible for benefits gets every penny which they deserve," Murphy said, thanking Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo and his team "for working hard every day to get answers for everything they are doing to support our deserving workers and their families in this time of extraordinary need."

The additional 20 weeks of benefits brings to 59 the maximum number of weeks an eligible claimant may receive in benefits at this time. Independent contractors, self-employed workers and others receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will see their benefits end in December, after a maximum of 46 weeks, which includes extended benefits.

Claimants will be automatically enrolled into extended benefits as their federal extension ends. They do not need to contact an agent or reapply.  
 
The state is able to offer these extended benefits because it has reached federally mandated requirements, such as the rate of unemployment, which was recorded at 15.2 percent in May.  
 
“New Jersey went from being at almost full employment last winter to double-digit unemployment almost overnight,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “These triggers are put in place for just such eventualities — so that claimants have access to an income safety net for an extended period of time during times of high unemployment.”  



Additionally, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which brought an additional $600 weekly payment to everyone collecting unemployment, runs through July 25. 

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