New Jersey receives $11.25M federal grant to continue Unemployment system improvements

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The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development on Thursday said it received a federal grant of more than $11.25 million to continue its work on updating and strengthening its Unemployment Insurance systems.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Labor will go toward advancing new features to the Unemployment Insurance systems, like the check your claim status page to help claimants receive their benefits faster by being able to view, manage and resolve initial application, weekly certification and identity verification issues online.

“Looking at the data, a majority of delayed claims get held up toward the beginning of the process,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We identified the most common pieces keeping claims from moving forward, and we created tools to help claimants and our agents reach a resolution quicker so workers can get all the benefits they’re due in a more timely manner.”

While claimants will still receive email notifications regarding their claims, NJDOL intends for these new features to provide a more precise claim status and clear actions needed for resolution in an easily accessible, central location.

“We understand inboxes are often full and overflowing, and emails can be missed or inadvertently sent to the junk folder,” Gillian Gutierrez, senior adviser and director of Unemployment Insurance modernization, said. “By putting what a claimant needs to know in one, easy-to-use location, we’re removing unnecessary obstacles to make the process as easy as possible so claimants can access their benefits.”

Per federal rules, a claimant must verify their identity before UI benefits can be distributed. NJDOL enlisted federally credentialled security vendor to perform this critical step.

Claimants can confirm if their identity verification was completed and cleared with NJDOL by logging into their account through “Check your claim status”. If identity verification has not been done, claimants will see a notification on their claim status page along with a secure link to initiate the process. If there is an issue or delay after completing identity verification, the claim status page will provide instructions on what to do next.

NJDOL’s recent grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, will support NJDOL’s ongoing efforts spanning enhancements in UI technology, experience and security. As one of 19 grantees across the U.S. and its territories, NJDOL continues to be at the forefront of UI modernization.

New Jersey residents can expect continuous improvements to their experience over the coming months.