The NJ Department of Labor announced Thursday they will begin notifying workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits they may be eligible for a 13-week extension of assistance under the CARES federal stimulus program.

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It is estimated that about 70,00 New Jersey workers who were out of work before the pandemic, have exhausted their benefits could qualify for these additional funds.

Starting Sunday, workers who are eligible for federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation will be notified via email and test message when they should certify for their benefits based on their social security number.

“We have completed the modifications to allow our unemployment insurance systems to process these applications,” according to Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.

“Many of these workers were unemployed before the pandemic began, and the current health crisis has obviously made their job search exponentially more difficult. We are pleased to able to now offer both extended benefits and the $600 weekly supplemental payment through the week of July 25 to help these workers through this difficult time.”

The New Jersey Department of Labor has been criticized for its inability to respond to calls from workers and for problems with its outdated computer system that processes claims.

Officials say that tens of thousands of residents per week are responding to one or more certification questions in a way that makes the claim ineligible for benefits under federal law.

The NJ Dept of Labor claims those errors cause residents to see a sudden halt in their benefit payments. A claims agent must then amend the claims to make benefits payable again.

If you need information on certifying for weekly benefits or about eligibility and the benefits offered through the CARES Act, visit the New Jersey Department of Labor website.

Source: Northjersey.com