Singleton: Invest In NJ’s Unemployment System Now To Address Claims Backlog

Trenton– State Senator Troy Singleton today issued the following statement regarding the State’s backlog of unemployment claims:

“For seven weeks, New Jerseyans have cooperated to flatten the curve and abide by the Governor’s stay-at-home order. However, many of these people – over 1,000,000 of them –have been unemployed and out of work for the duration of this pandemic.  Even worse, a significant number still have not seen one dollar of their unemployment benefits. Understandably, their patience has worn thin.

“My office has heard from hundreds of people in our district, and beyond, who need help with unemployment claims. They come to us out of desperation, after weeks of waiting, days of calling, and hours spent emailing seeking answers.

“While no one could have predicted the consequences of this pandemic, the current unemployment system is woefully outdated, and the New Jersey Department of Labor staff is simply not plentiful enough to address the full scale of this crisis due to years of reductions in manpower.

“That is why I am seeking a supplemental appropriation to the New Jersey Department of Labor that would draw down $50 million from the $1.8 billion in federal CARES Act money allocated to the state for information technology upgrades and a temporary hiring of personnel to fill unemployment claims processing positions in the Department. Additionally, the Department would be required to submit an implementation plan no later than 20 days after the enactment of this act to effectuate this process.

“We must make this investment in our unemployment system now. The men and women of New Jersey have waited long enough.”