Labor Dept.: Unemployment benefits distribution reaches $16.2B in less than 7 months  

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Thursday it has paid out $16.2 billion in unemployment benefits since the pandemic began nearly seven months ago.

The department also announced it has started accepting certifications for up to six weeks of FEMA Lost Wages Assistance payments. Applicants who qualify will receive a benefit of $300 a week for up to six weeks for a maximum sum of $1,800. 

“Our overarching concern is for New Jerseyans whose lives have been upended by the pandemic – workers who lost their jobs and those who were already out of work when COVID-19 hit, workers who have gotten sick themselves and those who can’t work because their child’s school or daycare is closed due to COVID,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We are pleased to be able to make these additional payments to more than one million workers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.” 

For the week ending Oct. 3, the department said it received 23,607 new unemployment applications, a 13% decline from the week before after two weeks of increases. The number of new weekly claims has averaged 23,000 over the past eight weeks. It also distributed $262 million in wage-replacement benefits during the same week.

New Jersey’s weekly total of new unemployment claims:

Source: New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development

And the weekly breakdown of payments:

Source: New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development