In an effort to help out-of-work residents who have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits amid the current economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a bill to make certain workers eligible for extended unemployment benefits was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy. The measure received final legislative approval in November, passing the full Assembly 74-0 and Senate 39-0.

Previously, an individual who exhausted regular UI benefits may have then qualified for extended UI benefits if the wages they were paid during their base year – which are used to calculate their benefits – were 40 times their weekly benefit rate.

The new law (A-4852) provides that a person would be eligible for extended UI benefits either because they had qualified for regular UI benefits or they attained the current requirement of being paid wages 40 times the individual’s weekly benefit rate, instead of being required to meet both qualifications, as previously required.

The new law applies to claims filed after June 27, 2020.

Sponsors of the law, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) released the following joint statement:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in New Jersey with no clear end in sight, we must do everything in our power to bolster our unemployment program and help unemployed workers through this difficult time. Uncertain times call for innovative measures and extending unemployment benefits for eligible workers under this new law will certainly help bridge the gap for workers to find new employment opportunities.”

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