New Jersey will not extend unemployment benefits when they expire Sept. 4

(The Center Square) – New Jersey will not extend expanded unemployment benefits when they expire on Sept. 4.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the expiration on Monday during his weekly COVID-19 briefing. The governor said extending the benefits would cost the state at least $314 million per week and more than $1 billion per month.

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the federal government extended the additional $300 weekly supplemental benefit for unemployed workers. The governor said the correct way to extend the benefits is through federal legislative action, not a “patchwork” of action at the state level.

“The reality is that continuing the $300 per week benefit through state resources would be cost prohibitive,” Murphy said during his briefing.

“We have some of the most generous unemployment benefits in the country, and God knows we needed them,” Murphy added. “And we consistently hold the top ranking for percentage of unemployed workers receiving benefits.”

The state has doled out $33.7 billion to 1.6 million New Jerseyans amid the pandemic, Murphy said. Of that, $25 billion was from federal taxpayers.

The governor pointed to various actions the state has taken in recent months to help residents, including $750 million to help New Jerseyans pay their rent and utility bills and creating a new office to help tenants find assistance programs.

New Jersey’s unemployment stands at 7.3%, the fifth-highest in the country. Nevada has the highest unemployment (7.7%), followed by New York (7.6%), New Mexico (7.6%) and California (7.6%).

In Pennsylvania, the $300 weekly benefit similarly will not be extended. Officials there are grappling with a backlog in claims, leaving thousands of residents unclear about whether they will receive unemployment compensation.

Separately, on Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is working with state legislative leaders to call a special session to address a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on eviction moratoriums.

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