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N.J. a step closer to assigning unemployment agents to legislative offices to solve problems with claims

Sophie Nieto-Munoz | March 28, 2021 | NJ Advance Media |

New Jersey lawmakers are one step closer to getting an extra set of hands to help them sort through the dozens of unemployment complaints they’ve received daily since the coronavirus pandemic began.

A bill, S3505, which would require at least one unemployment claims handler to be assigned to each legislative district and partisan office to help with the onslaught of unresolved unemployment claims, passed the Senate without any no votes on Thursday.

More than 2 million unemployment claims have been filed since March 2020 — another 10,400 were filed just last week — and the Labor Department has faced several hurdles in quickly distributing benefits to jobless residents. Thousands of claimants who need to call the Department of Labor to resolve their claims turn to local legislators for help.

“While we are fortunate that there has been a decline of cases so far into 2021, there are still more claims being filed than normally, and the Department of Labor and Workforce has been overwhelmed with handling this excess of claims,” said state Sen. Nicolas Scutari, D-Union. “The legislation will be key in alleviating the stress filing these claims have put on our government offices and will allow them to be filed at an increased rate.”


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