For unemployed, extra $300 in benefits is hitting bank accounts this week

New Jerseyans who filed for unemployment benefits Sunday are eligible for the $300 supplemental payments — which may already be in their bank account, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development said.

The supplement payment, which was for the workweek ending Jan. 2, could have reached accounts by as soon as Tuesday.

To be clear, the supplemental $300 is for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount — and is in addition to their regular benefit payment.

This includes those currently collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, who should see no interruption in benefits, and should continue certifying for weekly benefits, the DOL said.

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said the fact that these additional benefits would immediately be available for hundreds of thousands of out-of-work New Jerseyans was due, in part, to staff increases and automation upgrades completed since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold 10 months ago.

“We know what a welcome relief these additional benefits will be to hundreds of thousands of unemployed residents who are struggling to find work,” Asaro-Angelo said.

Anyone whose benefits expired Dec. 26 or later also will be eligible for the 11-week extension, but there will be a lapse while NJDOL reprograms its systems to allow for the additional payments. These claimants will be notified when they can resume certifying for weekly benefits.

Overall, the DOL reported jobless claims are up.

Initial weekly unemployment claims totaled 20,986 for the week ending Jan. 2 — an increase of 2.6%, or 526 claims, over the prior week. The total number of initial claims for benefits now tops 1.9 million since mid-March.

The DOL said nearly $20.7 billion in benefits has been distributed to workers in need and that the average claimant has received more than $14,000 in benefits.