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The Department of Labor and Workforce Development said today that it has distributed $18.1 billion in unemployment benefits to jobless and under-employed workers so far amid COVID-19.

The average unemployed New Jersey worker has received just over $13,000 in wage-replacement benefits since the pandemic sidelined a significant portion of New Jersey’s workforce.

The $18.1 billion total includes $1.2 billion in FEMA payments, known as Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) , which is a limited-time federal program that paid a $300 weekly supplement to most workers unemployed during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. The maximum benefit is for six weeks, for a total of $1,800.

“During these times we really appreciate the importance of safety-net programs such as unemployment insurance, which help bridge the gap until people return to work,” said New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Our mission is to get these benefits out to people while they are hurting financially, and to help them get back to work as quickly as possible through our workforce training programs and services.”

DOL said it completed a second run of FEMA payments on Wednesday for claimants who had earnings during the covered period. As a result, $90 million will hit the direct deposit accounts and debit cards of an additional 88,000 NJ workers.