Unemployment Benefit Period Shrinking For New Jersey’s Jobless

STATE – New Jersey residents who lost jobs during the recession were once able to collect unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks, but the maximum benefit period has been shrinking.

Though New Jersey’s unemployment rate averaged 8.6 percent over the last three months for which data is available, down just one percentage point from the worst of the recession, Garden State jobseekers are now eligible for a maximum of 63 weeks of benefits.

Qualifying workers are eligible for up to 26 weeks of state-funded unemployment benefits, which must be exhausted before they can receive up to 37 additional weeks under a temporary federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program that was enacted in 2008.

As a state’s unemployment rate drops, the number of weeks of EUC benefit eligibility also declines. When New Jersey’s three-month unemployment rate average was at 9 percent, the program offered 47 weeks of benefit, for a maximum of 73 weeks of benefits for qualifying job seekers.

States with three-month average unemployment rates between 6 and 7 percent qualify for 28 additional weeks of benefits under the EUC program; states with three-month average unemployment rates below 6 percent qualify for 14 additional weeks.

Some New Jersey unemployed workers were able to collect an additional 20 weeks of benefits under the federal government’s Extended Benefits program, but that ended on July 7, 2012 in New Jersey.

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