Automation Enables 246,000 Claimants Thus Far to Continue Receiving Unemployment Benefits – Without Gap – After One Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2021
TRENTON – As the only state to automate the federally required benefit year-end review and re-filing of unemployment claims, New Jersey has extended benefits for 246,000 claimants in the past five weeks, a process that could have taken up to three months without this upgrade in place.
This automation has proved critical as the crush of claims that deluged the state unemployment system when COVID-19 took hold last year are reaching the one-year mark. The automated review determines whether workers can continue to collect benefits on their existing claim and, when a new claim is required because of their earnings over the past year, automatically files it for them.
“One year ago this week, we saw a 2,700 percent increase in weekly unemployment applications from the same week in 2019. New Jersey is the only state to address this issue head-on with automation to allow up to one million claimants reaching the end of their benefit year to continue receiving benefits without delay,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development also announced that its benefit distributions to workers have topped $26 billion, with the average claimant having received $17,357 in benefits.
For the week ending April 3, the department received 19,875* new unemployment claims, the second consecutive weekly increase. Total new unemployment claims since last March exceed 2.1** million.
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 April 3. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 18,458 – is based on advanced reporting.
**The number of new initial claims includes 252,760 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.