Governor Christie Signs Legislation to Provide Relief for Long-Term Unemployed

Measure Ensures New Jersey Remains Eligible for Federal Funds

Trenton, NJ – On Wedneday, April 21, 2011, Governor Chris Christie signed S-2680 to provide meaningful and continued relief for New Jerseyans suffering from long-term unemployment due to the ongoing national economic recession. The measure revises the State’s unemployment compensation law to extend the period for receiving federally funded extended unemployment benefits.  This federally funded continuation, which was part of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” will incur no costs to the State budget, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, or the employer community and will extend eligibility through the end of the current calendar year.

“We’re happy to continue a safety net, in cooperation with the federal government, for more than 60,000 unemployed people in New Jersey as our economy slowly improves and our small, but steady job growth continues,” Governor  Christie said. “This legislation provides relief for the long-term unemployed and at the same time will positively impact our economy by extending the purchasing power of unemployed New Jerseyans.”

Specifically, the measure revises the eligibility formula for extended benefits by using three preceding years of data, as opposed to the current formula which looked only at the two preceding calendar years of information.  By revising the State’s eligibility formula for extended employment insurance benefits, New Jersey will no longer risk ineligibility because of the recent decline in the unemployment rate. 

“This legislation will rescue many people who are about to exhaust their ability to collect benefits. At the same time, there will be no impact on New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund,” said Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Christie Administration has aggressively worked to provide reform to the State’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund while at the same time modernizing access for the unemployed.  Last February, in the face of a fiscal emergency and 10.1 percent unemployment, Governor Christie took action that protected businesses from an average $400 per employee, or 52%, increase in the unemployment insurance payroll tax.  The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD), through newly expanded website services, has begun allowing recipients to receive unemployment benefits earlier in the week as well as moving to deliver benefits electronically by using direct deposit to bank accounts and debit cards.

Sponsors of S-2680 include Senators Fred Madden (D-Camden, Gloucester), and James Beach (Camden, Assemblymen Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex, Somerset), Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), Wayne DeAnegelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex), and Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson).




Press Contact:
Michael Drewniak
Kevin Roberts

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