The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development received roughly 20,000 new unemployment claims last week, virtually the same number as were filed the prior week, though the number could fluctuate in coming weeks with the limited reopening of schools and gyms and the resumption of some indoor dining.
The Labor Department paid out $343 million in benefits for the week ending Aug. 29. The total of federal and state unemployment compensation monies to reach New Jersey workers since mid-March is $14.7 billion.
A total of 1.54 million people have applied for unemployment since mid-March. Of those, 1.35 million have met the monetary requirements for benefits; 96 percent have received payment. The average total benefit is $11,400 per claimant.
“As long as this pandemic continues to show its power over our economy, the Labor Department will continue to pump vital, family sustaining benefits into the bank accounts of out-of-work New Jerseyans,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “While our Department is bound by federal laws and regulations that can slow the process, we remain committed to get every penny to every claimant who deserves benefits.”
Also last week, the Labor Department announced it had applied for a grant through FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance (LWA) program, which provides up to $300 per week for a limited time to eligible individuals, on top of other unemployment benefits they receive. FEMA requested additional information on New Jersey’s application, which the Department compiled; the revised application will be submitted Thursday. The disbursement of funds will not be adversely affected.
PUA, PEUC and FPUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits through the end of the year; maximum eligibility is 46 weeks, including extended benefits. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. State extended benefits (EB) automatically offers an additional 20 weeks of assistance once PEUC ends. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week to everyone eligible for unemployment for the weeks of April 4 through July 25. Congress has thus far failed to extend the program.
For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.