Unemployment – A Lifeline or Work Disincentive?

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TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced July 1 that it would begin providing 20 weeks of extended unemployment this week to New Jersey workers who have exhausted their state and federal jobless benefits.

According to a release, the state extension begins after claimants exhaust up to 26 weeks of state unemployment, plus 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The additional 20 weeks of benefits brings to 59 the maximum number of weeks an eligible claimant may receive in benefits at this time.

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 can offer these extended benefits because it has reached federally mandated requirements, such as the rate of unemployment, which was recorded at 15.2%, in May.

“New Jersey went from being at almost full employment last winter to double-digit unemployment almost overnight,” stated 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.”

All states, except South Dakota, have begun offering extended benefits.

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.

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

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