More than $25 Billion in Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Reaches NJ’s Jobless Workers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2021
TRENTON – New unemployment claims inched higher last week, as the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that pandemic relief to state residents now tops $25 billion in federal and state benefits.
For the week ending March 20, New Jersey saw 10,441** new unemployment claims filed, about 200 more than the prior week, a 1.6 percent increase. Also last week, the department distributed $443 million in benefits, including the final $1 million in FEMA Lost Wages Assistance before closing out the program, per federal requirements.
The average New Jersey unemployment claimant has received nearly $17,000 in benefits to date.
New Jersey is the only state to automate a federally required review of unemployment claims at the one-year mark, and that process is proceeding seamlessly for most claimants. The department has reviewed and cleared 125,000 claims in the past three weeks that would have taken many weeks to review manually, and assisted 13,000 additional claimants whose wages over the past year required a new claim to be filed.
The department continues to work as quickly as possible to resolve claims that are held up for another issue besides the one-year anniversary of the initial filing.
“So long as there remains one claimant who is waiting for a determination, that’s too many. We won’t rest until everyone’s claim is settled,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This department is able to serve more claimants more quickly than we ever imagined possible due to automation and innovation, which is a tremendous time savings for our claimants.”
Here are the week-by-week totals of new unemployment claims:
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 myunemployment.nj.gov.
Information on virtual Career Services can be found here: nj.gov/labor/career-services
Visit New Jersey’s jobs portal here: jobs.covid19.nj.gov.
*This represents the final number for the week ending March 20. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 9,404 – is based on advanced reporting.
**This number includes 247,150 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 later turned out to be fraudulent.