Madden/Sarlo Bill Allowing Unemployed To Collect Full Benefits Clears Senate

A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

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 full Senate.

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.

“The Senate continues to work on bipartisan legislation to address the need for jobs in New Jersey. But as we continue to work, it is important that we assist those who have fallen victim to the sagging economy. By passing this extension, we can help these individuals continue to put food on the table and keep their homes,” said Madden, chair of the Senate Labor Committee.

“This is only a temporary fix, but it is an important one. As we examine ways to assist the hundreds of thousands who are desperately seeking work, these benefits will help the unemployed to be able to provide at least the bare essentials for their families. Hopefully, Congress is able to come up with a more permanent solution in the near future,” 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 Assembly is expected to vote on the legislation later this evening. After passage there, it would head to the governor’s desk.