NJ Rolling Out Jobless Benefits for Ida-Stricken Residents
By: Daniel J. Munoz, NJBIZ
September 21, 2021
Some of New Jersey’s residents hit worst by Tropical Storm Ida nearly three weeks ago can go to the state for jobless benefits, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on Sept. 20.
The aid goes to the 12 counties declared disaster zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Ida’s wake: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren.
That comes on top of direct relief from FEMA for homeowners, and a slew of grants of loans available for renters, homeowners and business owners who saw considerable property damage from Ida.
The unemployment aid is called Disaster Unemployment Assistance and the deadline to file is Oct. 20. While it’s a federal aid program, DUA relief is still run by the state, as had been the case with several COVID-19 unemployment relief programs.
Someone not able to get to work because they would have needed to travel through an Ida-stricken area would be eligible, as would anyone about to start a job, but was stopped from doing so because of the storm. Those who lost a family member from the storm and had to become the primary breadwinner would also be eligible for DUA relief, as well as someone injured by the storm and left unable to work.
An applicant has to show that they’re not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, and when filing online via MyUnemployment.nj.gov, need to cite “Impacted by Hurricane Ida” as their reason for being out of work. After that, the state labor department would contact them if they’re deemed not eligible for regular unemployment.
The applicant would have 21 days to submit proof of their employment, such as an income tax return, bank statements, pay stubs or work orders. If they do not submit that proof, then their benefits could be denied.
Aid lasts 26 weeks, the state Labor Department said. As for certifying that they’re looking for work – a requirement for unemployment aid – any recipient has eight weeks before they have a set return-to-work date.
In the case of self-employed applicants who do not plan on reopening their business, they need to apply for at least three jobs a week and offer contact info for those employers in their weekly certification.