DOL: Unemployed workers will get $600 in additional benefits this week

Department, which was unable to process supplemental benefits last week, is giving each claimant two weeks’ worth of extra benefits

The state’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development said Tuesday it has successfully processed supplemental unemployment payments for more than 500,000 people.

Those eligible for the supplement should expect to see an additional $600 dollars in their accounts as soon as Tuesday, as the DOL is paying out two weeks of supplemental benefits.

Next week, the supplemental benefit will go down to the normal rate of $300 — although President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants to eventually increase the amount to $400.

The weekly payments are available through a new COVID-19 stimulus package — the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, signed into law Dec. 27 — and are in addition to regular unemployment benefits. The supplemental payments are available automatically to anyone currently receiving unemployment in any amount through March 13. The first week of eligibility was the week ending Jan. 2.

“Claimants are receiving payments for their first two weeks of eligibility,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “These critical funds will continue to be available weekly without claimants having to take any action.”

The DOL said it successfully processed 533,000 payments over the weekend worth a total of $296 million. The action came after the DOL hit an unforeseen snag the prior week, delaying payment, it said. The complication arose running the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program while simultaneously running the prior program, which had different payout amounts, but must be kept active under federal law.

The Department also processed 3,700 payments from the prior FPUC program.

Under the new stimulus act, 460,000 claimants currently collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, plus 80,000 claimants collecting Extended Benefits, are eligible for an 11-week extension, and are seeing no interruption in benefits. They should continue certifying for weekly benefits.

Approximately 33,000 claimants have exhausted their initial PUA, PEUC or Extended Benefits. They will experience a lapse in payments while NJDOL awaits guidance from the US Labor Department on how it is allowed to distribute these benefits. The department has communicated with this group of claimants and they will be notified when they can resume certifying for weekly benefits.

For more information on unemployment benefits, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.