‘I’m making a personal plea to Gov. Murphy’ – NJ man still hasn’t received unemployment benefits

A Winfield Park man is making a plea to Gov. Phil Murphy after still not receiving unemployment benefits that he has been promised for months.

News 12 Staff

Jul 15, 2020, 3:07 AM

Updated 1,376 days ago

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A Winfield Park man is making a plea to Gov. Phil Murphy after still not receiving unemployment benefits that he has been promised for months.
“I’m making a personal plea to Gov. Murphy. Please help me, sir. We’re thousands and thousands of dollars now in debt, charging things,” says Arthur Cole.
News 12 New Jersey first spoke with Cole on May 20. He is eligible for unemployment benefits and has been told that he can receive funds in his account dating back to April 4.
“’Look next week or so, it’ll be in your account.’ I’ve been told that five times,” says Cole.
On Tuesday Cole tells News 12 that he actually did get through to a human being on the phone at the State Labor Department, but still did not have much luck.
“Today I was lucky to get through,” Cole says. “I said, ‘Do you have my phone number in case we get off?’ ‘Yes, I do Mr. Cole.’ OK, I’ll hold onto the phone. I get cut off, no call back.”
Cole was attending classes at Union County College to advance his career in supply chain management when the pandemic hit. He was eventually able to finish online. But his wife is retired, and with no income, paying for food has become difficult.
“No money for 16 weeks. You can’t live like that,” he says.
Cole is not the only New Jersey resident struggling with the unemployment department. Many New Jerseyans have told News 12 about not being able to get through on the phone or online.
There are now legislators in Trenton who want the Labor Department to set up satellite offices around the state. No more phone, but in-person service.
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The work hasn’t slowed at the Labor Department. Around 47,000 workers filed for benefits during the week ending July 4. It was a massive, 70% increase due to furloughed state workers filing for benefits.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a statement, "The number of people in need is staggering. We've had 1.35 million applicants since mid-March, 1.2 million of them have met the earnings requirements to receive benefits, with 96% of them having received payment."
But Cole has still not seen any money. He says that he does not have a complex issue, so he cannot understand what the holdup is.
The Labor Department has not commented on the idea of opening satellite offices.


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