TRENTON – The Assembly Budget Committee approved legislation yesterday that would bring New Jersey’s unemployment benefits system in line with 21st century technology and help struggling out-of-work residents more easily manage their benefits.
The bill (A-3494), approved by a vote of 12-0, would allow for any individual to file, reopen, cancel or close their claim for unemployment insurance benefits online. In doing so, the bill would require the Director of the Division of Unemployment Insurance within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to create a website for the purpose of filing, reopening, canceling or closing a claim for benefits. The website would be available for use by claimants 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The bill would also require individuals to report to the division in order to claim completed weeks of benefits, after they have filed an unemployment insurance claim. The bill provides that all claimants may report to claim completed weeks of unemployment benefits within 45 days of the last day of the designated benefit period via a website that is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
The current UI website allows claimants to file for benefits online only during business hours. It also restricts which days specific claimants can file claims. Meanwhile, many other states have UI Web sites that are accessible 24/7 without restrictions as to what hours or days claimants can file their claims online or close out claims.
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