75,000 NJ residents to start receiving unemployment benefits this weekend

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
NJ responds to residents' complaints over unemployment benefits
7 On Your Side went all the way to the governor with residents' complaints and questions over not receiving unemployment benefits.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- There's great news for 75,000 residents waiting as far back as last Christmas to receive unemployment benefits from the state of New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Saturday it was able to successfully complete testing earlier than anticipated to program the 11-week benefits extension onto more than 75,000 claims that expired.

The state's Department of Labor Rob Asaro-Angelo says recipients will be getting an email this weekend, enabling them to certify benefits and get paid soon after.

There's great news Friday night for 75,000 residents waiting as far back as last Christmas to receive unemployment benefits from the state of New Jersey.

"While we welcome the additional relief for our claimants, the new stimulus relief was signed after CARES Act benefits had ended - too late for most states to program their systems to prevent a lapse in benefits for all claimants," Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. "This current extension ends on March 13. We urge Congress to act sooner and to provide long-term relief so our claimants are not in a similar situation next month."

7 On Your Side went all the way to the governor with residents' complaints and questions, and got answers.

Earlier Friday in Trenton, Asaro-Angelo told Eyewitness News benefits would be available this time next week.

Asaro-Angelo came prepared with data and a date to combat the growing tide of frustrated unpaid unemployment claimants.

"We now expect this group to be up and running by a week from today, Friday, February 12th," Asaro-Angelo said.

But by Friday evening, he said they're moving that timeline up a week after their IT department was able to fix the programming problem.

Earlier this week more than 100 people vented virtually, holding up signs showing how much unemployment benefits each is owed.

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Anette Guagilardo, who works as a bartender, has been out of work for a year.

"All of my savings are depleted. I don't have a dollar," she said.

One frustrated resident Jeff Gish says he called the NJ Department of Labor 47 times to get through.

At the end of December, former President Donald Trump approved an additional 11 weeks of unemployment benefits, along with an additional $300 per week benefits.

New York and Connecticut didn't miss any payments, but in New Jersey, 75,000 recipients are still waiting for benefits.

After 7 On Your Side's first story, they got flooded by frustrated residents.

Nina Pineda reports on those still waiting for unemployment benefits in New Jersey.

Hundreds of emails came in from Cape May to Clifton. Every person claimed they were out thousands of dollars in benefits.

"It's disgraceful, we need to be heard that our system is so behind. We need answers," Kalimah Farley said. "I'm owed $6,100 dollars. My bills are piling up. I'm due to be evicted."

But some good news, Ryan -- a plumber who's been out of work, forced out of his apartment and living in a motel, finally started getting some of his back benefits.

Brian went to Target after finally being able to buy some toiletries and even a winter coat.


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