Pandemic-related federal programs that extended unemployment benefits to those who are typically ineligible and provided a $300 a week supplement on top of regular unemployment payments all end on Saturday.
Among the federal programs expiring Sept. 4 are:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provided unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who are not typically eligible for benefits;
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extended unemployment payments to those who have already exhausted regular unemployment benefits;
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which added a $300 weekly supplemental payment to regular unemployment.
These programs are ending, and claimants cannot claim benefits under these programs for weeks after Sept. 4 regardless of whether a balance appears on their accounts, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday. The change affects about 500,000 New Jersey residents now receiving unemployment benefits.
People who exhaust their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits beyond Sept. 4, and have not yet collected state extended benefits, will be transitioned to 13 weeks of state extended benefits, if eligible. These extended benefits were triggered in July 2020 due to the state’s 7.3% unemployment rate, which is among the highest in the nation.
New Jersey has paid $34 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to more than 1.6 million claimants since March 2020, including hundreds of thousands of people who normally would have been ineligible for benefits without the federal expansions.
Although President Joe Biden has suggested that states use their federal COVID-19 relief funds to extend expanded unemployment benefits past Sept. 4, Gov. Phil Murphy declined to do so, noting that it would cost the State of New Jersey $1 billion a month.
Earlier this week, NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka said New Jersey businesses grappling with the current labor shortage are hoping that the end of enhanced benefits, and the reopening of schools in September, will bring more people back to the workforce. The switch from virtual learning to in-person learning as schools reopen this month means many working parents will be able to go back to work, she said.
The DOL said career and community resources are available for those affected by the expiration of the federal UI programs.
Those seeking career services are encouraged to visit careerservices.nj.gov for help with their job search, resume writing, interviewing skills, education and training, and other specialized career services.
Also available are FREE training courses provided by Metrix Learning. Courses are offered in a variety of high-demand industry sectors, including information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management, and digital literacy. Courses range from basic work readiness for new workers to tailored training for high-level professionals and management, with topics such as Customer Service, Microsoft Office, Adobe, Quick Books, Analytical Skills, Data Management/Reporting, Time Management, Leadership Skills, Health & Safety, and First Aid, among many others.
There are also numerous state and community programs and resources available to those who need additional support. For information on assistance in the areas of family, food, childcare, health, substance use disorder, rent, housing, utilities, and specialized services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and survivors of domestic or sexual violence, please visit myunemployment.nj.gov/morehelp.
New Jersey residents who have received at least one week of unemployment compensation in 2021 are eligible for nearly free health coverage through GetCoveredNJ.
Another helpful resource is NJ 211, a statewide information and referral service for a wide variety of health and human services. Search the online resource database, or dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 for live assistance.
For the most up-to-date information on New Jersey unemployment insurance benefits, please visit myunemployment.nj.gov.