This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story: nj.com/coronavirus/2020/07/nj-has-started-paying-the-extended-20-weeks-of-unemployment-benefits-state-says.html
Due to the high unemployment rate from the coronavirus crisis, New Jersey announced earlier this month that many workers will be eligible for an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits.
The Labor Department said Thursday that workers who exhausted their benefits are starting to get paid.
The agency said it paid out $2.2 million in extended benefits for the week ending July 11.
It did not immediately report how many workers received the extended benefits.
“Double-digit unemployment amid COVID-19 has triggered 20 weeks of extended benefits the state is permitted by federal law to offer to those who have exhausted all other state and federal unemployment aid without returning to work permanently,” the Labor Department said.
Under regular unemployment benefits, eligible workers can receive 26 weeks of payments. That was extended by the federal government by another 13 weeks for a total of 39 weeks of payments.
On top of that, the extra 20 weeks of payments bring the total to 59 weeks of benefits for most workers.
Workers will be automatically enrolled into extended benefits as their federal extension ends, the agency said. They do not need to contact an agent or reapply for benefits.
Gig workers and the self-employed are not eligible for the full 20 weeks, but instead will receive a seven-week extension.
In all, the Labor Department said it paid out $825 million in state and federal unemployment benefits for that week.