Unemployment benefits lag in New Jersey

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to expedite the payment for residents who’ve filed a claim with the state for unemployment benefits.

 

Sen. Shirley Turner said some of her constituents are angry that it’s taking more than a month to get their first unemployment check.

“They’ve lost their job and they’re in fear in many cases of being evicted because they can’t pay their rent or being foreclosed on their homes because they can’t make their mortgage payment,” said Turner, D-Mercer. “So we need to do something to speed up this process.”

Current law requires the initial determination of benefits to be made promptly, but no time period is specified.

“‘Promptly’ is not going to cut it now because people are waiting too long, and I understand there is a backlog because they don’t have as many people working in that area to process the claims,” she said.

The Senate Labor Committee has advanced a bill Turner sponsored that would require that decision to be made within three weeks after someone files a claim.

She said the Labor Department has told her it’s doing the best it can to process the claims.

“Sometimes it’s the employer’s fault. They don’t give them all of the information or they don’t get back in a timely fashion,” she said. “Sometimes they say it’s the claimant who doesn’t provide the information that they need.”

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