Thousands of jobless New Jerseyans who exhausted their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits will soon be able to apply for an extra 13 weeks of pay.
The money is being made available under the federal stimulus starting this Sunday, the state Department of Labor announced.
The first round of eligible workers will be notified this week, the agency said. Approximately 70,000 New Jersey residents have exhausted their jobless benefits.
New Jersey has processed about 760,000 jobless applications, and many residents remain frustrated by delays and long waiting times on Labor Department phone lines.
The state lost 757,700 jobs in April, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Thursday. New Jersey's unemployment rate hit a record 15.3 percent last month, the highest since the federal government began tracking such data in 1976. (The second-highest rate was 10.7% in 1976 during the oil crisis.)
Since April 4, New Jersey has paid out $1.8 billion in extra $600 federal stimulus payments each week, in addition to $1.4 billion in regular jobless benefits since mid-March.
The state will send everyone who has qualified for unemployment benefits an email or text explaining when they should certify for additional benefits starting Sunday according to their Social Security number.
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