The state of New Jersey has been hit quite hard by the current economic downtown and state unemployment levels have been rising. The unemployment rate in NJ is now 9.7% (up from 9.3% prior to August) which is coincidentally the same as the national average. New Jersey has lost 155,700 jobs since December 2007, when the jobless rate was 4.5 percent.
As a result of these high unemployment rates New Jersey state has qualified for unemployment benefit extensions which were introduced as part of the 2009 stimulus package.
Unemployment benefits currently available in New Jersey
At the moment there are a total of 79 weeks of unemployment available:
- Initial unemployment benefits (UB – 26 weeks) – These are the regular unemployment benefits which are available regardless of the economy.
- Emergency unemployment benefits Tier I (EUC Tier I – 20 weeks)
- Emergency unemployment benefits Tier II (EUC Tier II – 13 weeks)
- Emergency benefits will be paid by the same method as the regular benefits (direct deposit or check).
- Extended benefits (EB – 20 weeks)
- 13 weeks from bill H3548 – Note that this has not passed yet.
The past year has not been very good for a lot of American workers. Because of the 2008 financial crisis and recession – millions of Americans have lost their jobs. The current national unemployment rate is 9.7% as of Sept 4. While many workers will find new jobs within the time period of existing employment benefits – many more will run out of benefits before finding a new job.
On September 22, the House passed legislation called Bill H3548 which will allow any states with a total unemployment rate (TUR) of 8.5% or higher to be eligible for federal funding which will allow 13 more weeks of extended unemployment benefits for those people who have exhausted all the current benefits. If this bill is passed then New Jersey would qualify for another 13 weeks of extended benefits.