N.J. lawmaker wants to expedite unemployment cases

A backlog of appeals for New Jersey workers who have been denied unemployment benefits has prompted a state lawmaker to action.

Sen. Ray Lesniak says he’s upset about the six-month backlog to get a decision in those cases.

“Six months could be crucial in them keeping their home and certainly in terms of putting food on their tables,” said Lesniak, D-Union. “That’s cruelty added to the fact that people lost their jobs.”

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Lesniak has introduced legislation that would grant an applicant’s request for benefits if a ruling on appeal is not made within 60 days.

A New Jersey Labor Department spokesman says appeals increased during the recession, and the backlog existed before Gov. Chris Christie took office in 2010.

He says the federal government is paying to add a dozen extra workers to help clear those cases more quickly.

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