Unemployment Benefits Won’t Lapse with New Federal Relief Bill
By: Gabrielle Saulsbery – NJBIZ
December 30, 2020
Workers receiving federal COVID-19 related benefits won’t see a lapse in payments this week as new stimulus benefits unfold, according to an email from the U.S. Department of Labor to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“We know there are still a lot of questions to answer, but those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation should continue to certify for the benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo in a prepared statement. “We’re glad our federal partners have indicated there will be no missed week, even though the bill wasn’t signed on Saturday, but we will continue to update our claimants as we receive more information from Washington.”
The new bill allots extended benefits to regular unemployment claimants as well as those receiving PUA, such as self-employed, gig and part-time workers, who are typically not eligible for unemployment.
President Donald Trump signed the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law Dec. 29 extending assistance, without interruption, through March 14.
The bill also restarts the FPUC program for all claimants, this time as $300, rather than the original $600, per week from the weeks of Jan. 2 through March 13.
States are awaiting further federal guidance on the program, including how to execute and distribute these new benefits.
Much of the Department’s previously issued guidance on the assistance programs will remain in effect, with some changes, a DOL spokesperson told NJBIZ.
“The Department recognizes that new requirements, program overlap/coordination issues, and complex new programs (such as Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation) will require revisions to previously issued guidance and more time for state implementation and reprogramming to occur. The Department is working expeditiously to help states understand and implement these new provisions as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.
The DOL’s Office of Unemployment Insurance will deliver five pieces of initial guidance “in the near future,” with follow-up guidance as needed, to help states implement the programs.
The spokesperson said that timelines for implementation may vary.