The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday it has begun accepting certifications for an extra $300 in unemployment benefit to be paid to eligible workers. Money for the time-limited program comes from $44 billion that President Trump in August made available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. The payments are for workers who earned at least $100 in unemployment benefits between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. Payments will be limited to $300 a week for up to six weeks, for a maximum lump-sum payment of $1,800. Claims for the additional benefit can be made online here. Workers who are already certified do not need to do anything.
Since the coronavirus pandemic idled a large portion of New Jersey’s workforce starting in mid-March, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has dispensed $16.2 billion in unemployment benefits. Over the past eight weeks, the number of new weekly claims has averaged 23,000. For the week ending Oct. 3, 23,607 people filed new unemployment claims, a 13% decline from the previous week.