NJ unemployment: Workers may start to see $300 checks early next week
Early next week, most workers in New Jersey who recently lost hours or wages should expect to begin receiving $300 extra each week in jobless benefits from the federal government, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Those who exhausted federal benefits will have a delay of an estimated couple of weeks, and will be notified when they can certify.
Under the latest $900 billion stimulus package passed by Congress, people receiving state unemployment benefits and those covered under other federal jobless programs, such as freelancers and gig economy workers, are eligible to receive these extra checks between Jan. 2 and March 13.
“We were among the first states to distribute the earlier federal supplemental payments to workers after the passage of the CARES Act in April, and are equally proud to get this new federal relief out the door quickly,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Staff hires and automation upgrades completed since the spring have helped make it possible for us to get this benefit to struggling New Jerseyans with no gap or delay.”
The Labor Department plans to start processing payments over the weekend, and it typically takes two to three business days for banks to process the payments and make it into workers' bank accounts or prepaid debit cards.
Workers who ran out of eligible weeks most likely will benefit from the 11-week extension of regular and supplemental benefits offered in the stimulus through March 13, but it may still take a few weeks before those checks can be processed as the agency reprograms its systems, Department of Labor spokesperson Angela Delli Santi said.
That goes for those who exhausted benefits on or after Dec. 26 through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, such as self-employed, gig and part-time workers not usually eligible for unemployment, and the Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation program, which provided 24 extra weeks to those who used up the state's 26 weeks of state unemployment. New Jersey also offered an additional 20 weeks of extended benefits after it passed an unemployment rate threshold.
"The Labor Department is working diligently to reprogram our systems to get this extended program up and running," the agency said. "Once these claimants are notified that the 11 additional weeks have been added to their account they will be able to certify for all past weeks, starting with the week ending Jan. 2, 2021."
Thousands of New Jersey workers faced issues with the unemployment system, as the site crashed multiple times and many workers have not been able to claim their eligible benefits.
"If you’re still waiting for your benefits and are frustrated, I don’t blame you," said Gov. Phil Murphy. "If you’re eligible you’ll get every penny you deserve."
Ashley Balcerzak is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to her work covering New Jersey’s Legislature and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.