TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Fred Madden (D-Gloucester, Camden) and Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic) that would permit the unemployed to receive 100% of their benefits for at least the next two months has cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The bill, S-3186, continues an option made available by the federal “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” – and mirrored in a 2011 New Jersey law – permitting laid-off workers to receive 100 percent federally funded extended unemployment benefits. Both the federal and state laws were set to expire at the end of 2011; Congress, however, acted in late December to extend the extended unemployment benefits provision through the end of February 2012. This legislation would reflect that action.
“Ensuring that this extension passes is critical to making sure those who are unemployed, essentially through no fault of their own, continue to be able to provide for themselves and their families,” said Madden, chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “We are working on several pieces of bipartisan legislation that will help create jobs in New Jersey, but in the meantime, we simply cannot allow folks who need assistance to fall by the wayside.”
“Thankfully Congress acted before it was too late. But their resolution was only a short term fix. Passing this bill will help those who are unemployed hang on for two more months, but the bottom line is that a more permanent solution is needed from Congress. I hope they are able to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” said Sarlo.
The bill would also extend the three year look back until the time when the 100% federal funding of extended benefits ends. With this provision in place, if Congress were in the future to extend the provision permitting states to use a three year look back, New Jersey would continue to provide extended benefits to its residents until either the three year look back expires or the 100 percent federal funding ends.
The legislation now heads to the full Senate.