Earlier than expected, NJ starts paying 75,000 unemployed after error
TRENTON — State labor officials said this weekend that payments would begin going out to the 75,000 people who had lost their benefits extension.
On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy and Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo had said that it might take another week for the payments to resume. But officials said the department was able to reprogram its system earlier than expected.
The reprograming was necessary after the federal government approved an 11-week extension. But Asaro-Angelo said the federal government had not afforded states enough time to make the transition. He said his department made it a priority to get out the $300 weekly supplemental benefits, forcing the benefits extension onto the backburner.
State officials said this resulted in 75,000 claimants, or about 5% of all the people eligible for relief, getting cut off from the extension after their regular benefits had expired. The state said that those people will receive all the money they were owed, beginning this weekend.
“While we welcome the additional relief for our claimants, the new stimulus relief was signed after CARES Act benefits had ended – too late for most states to program their systems to prevent a lapse in benefits for all claimants,” Asaro-Angelo said in a written statement on Saturday. “This current extension ends on March 13. We urge Congress to act sooner and to provide long-term relief so our claimants are not in a similar situation next month.”