TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Jim Beach expediting unemployment benefits for residents who have filed a claim with the state cleared the full Senate today, sending it to the governor’s desk.
The bill, S-1564, would require the Division of Unemployment and Temporary Disability Insurance in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to make the initial determination of a claim for unemployment benefits and notify the claimant no later than three weeks from the date in which the claim is received by the division.
The bill would provide the Division an additional two weeks to make a determination in the case of insufficient documentation.
“My office has received numerous complaints from constituents regarding significant delays with the processing of unemployment benefits claims,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “Many callers have had to wait five to six weeks before receiving a claim decision. That’s an eternity when you have no income, and you have children to feed and bills to pay.”
“Unemployment claims should be filed in a timely fashion,” said Senator Beach. “This bill will establish a process to ensure that claims will move quickly when people experience sudden layoffs, including those employed in retail during the holidays and subsequently laid off after the New Year. Sudden unemployment can be scary and overwhelming, and removing those hurdles which prevent individuals from receiving their benefits in a timely manner is simply the right thing to do.”
S-1564 ensures that the initial determination of benefits is made in a timely fashion so people who are unemployed will receive their benefits sooner. Under current law, the initial determination is required to be made “promptly,” but no time period is specified.
The legislation cleared the Senate 36-1 and cleared the Assembly 66-4. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.