The three supplemental unemployment insurance benefit programs established under the federal CARES Act in March 2020, renewed by the Continued Assistance Act in December 2020 and again by the American Rescue Plan in March, finally are expiring — on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Here’s a look at what that means:
What are the three programs?
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC: This added a weekly supplemental payment to regular unemployment (and was the most popular of the three;
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA: This provided unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who are not typically eligible for benefits;
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC: This extended unemployment payments to those who already exhausted regular unemployment benefits.
Can I still collect if I haven’t exhausted my benefits?
No. These programs are ending, and claimants will not be able to claim benefits under these programs for weeks after Sept. 4 regardless of whether a balance appears on their accounts. Claimants certifying for weeks prior to Sept. 4 will receive the enhanced benefits if found eligible for a claim that was filed before Sept. 4.
What happens when my 26 weeks of state UI runs out?
Claimants who exhaust their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits beyond Sept. 4 and have not yet collected state extended benefits will be transitioned to 13 weeks of state extended benefits, if eligible. These extended benefits were triggered in July 2020 due to the state’s unemployment rate. Claimants moved to state extended benefits will see “Extended Unemployment Benefits” as their claim status in their accounts.
Are there any other ways my UI benefit can drop?
Yes. Federally required reviews for new wages, which occur after one year, when a claim reaches its benefit year end, may result in a lower weekly benefit rate for some claimants starting Sept. 5.
How much has New Jersey paid out in UI claims?
New Jersey, which was experiencing record low unemployment before the pandemic, reached historic numbers of unemployment claims in the weeks and months following the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S. With the aid of the enhanced federal unemployment benefits programs, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development has paid $34 billion in benefits to more than 1.6 million claimants since March 2020, including to hundreds of thousands who would have been ineligible for benefits without the federal expansions.
How else can the DOL help me?
The DOL’s Workforce Division has been assisting job seekers virtually and by telephone throughout the pandemic. Those seeking career services are encouraged to visit careerservices.nj.gov for help with their job search, resume writing, interviewing skills, education and training, and other specialized career services.
Also available are free training courses provided by Metrix Learning. Courses are offered in a variety of high-demand industry sectors, including information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management and digital literacy. Courses range from basic work readiness for new workers to tailored training for high-level professionals and management, with topics such as customer service, Microsoft Office, Adobe, QuickBooks, analytical skills, data management/reporting, time management, leadership skills, health & safety and first aid, among many others.
There are also numerous state and community programs and resources available to those who need additional support. For information on assistance in the areas of family, food, child care, health, substance use disorder, rent, housing, utilities and specialized services for older adults, individuals with disabilities and survivors of domestic or sexual violence, please visit myunemployment.nj.gov/morehelp.
“New Jersey has continually used every program and tool in our arsenal to get as many benefits to as many claimants as quickly as possible,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We understand these federally enhanced benefits have been a lifeline to our workforce and our economy during these trying times; our department and our state will continue to support those in need, and assist those looking for work.”
Where can I get more info?
For the most up-to-date information on New Jersey unemployment insurance benefits, click here.