(The Center Square) – New Jersey doled out nearly $35 billion in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to 1.6 million claimants between March 2020 and the week ending Sept. 4.
Regular state UI and extended benefits provided roughly a quarter (approximately $9 billion) of that total, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL).
Other funds came from various temporary programs enacted under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and renewed by the Continued Assistance Act in December 2020 and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in March.
“Enhanced federal unemployment programs were critical to helping our state and the nation mitigate an economic crisis while controlling a public health crisis,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a statement. “While we are thankful, the fact that these programs were enacted as temporary emergency measures proves our outdated federal unemployment system is unable to meet the modern needs of our workforce.”
Programs such as the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program account for more than $1 billion. The program provided a $300 weekly supplemental benefit on top of regular UI for up to six weeks through FEMA funds during the fall of 2020.
The enhanced UI programs expired on Sept. 4.