Only 3 of 8 people Kane In Your Corner interviewed 1 month ago have received unemployment benefits

More than 1 million people have filed for unemployment in New Jersey, the state Department of Labor said on Thursday.

News 12 Staff

May 8, 2020, 12:21 AM

Updated 1,438 days ago

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More than 1 million people have filed for unemployment in New Jersey, the state Department of Labor said on Thursday.
But many people hoping to claim unemployment insurance are struggling with the 40-year-old system and have yet to successfully complete their claim. One month after Kane In Your Corner first investigated the problem, less than half of those interviewed received a check.
Three of the eight subjects – Nick Genito, Michelle Cox, and Steve Estok – are receiving benefits. A fourth, Sandra Pierre, hasn’t been able to collect any money yet, but she has been able to reset her PIN. The other four say they are in the exact same situation they were in four weeks ago.
“I'm down to a couple of hundred dollars in my bank account now,” says John Wisneski, “I don't know what I'm gonna do. Am I gonna wind up going out on a food line or something?”
Phil Batista says he’s been asked the same question via email three times – if he was laid off due to COVID-19.
Even when people get answers from the state, they may not make sense. Deana Furtado was notified that she has a phone appointment to talk about her claim, but that appointment is scheduled for 20 years from now, April 11, 2040.
“They screwed up the system, so now I'm in limbo,” says Furtado, “because they're holding my pay due to this issue with the year.”
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During the press briefing on Thursday, Kane In Your Corner asked Gov. Phil Murphy and Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo to explain why this is happening. The governor suggested it might be a typo and deferred to Asaro-Angelo, who said early on the future dates came up automatically as place holders, and were not an indicator of how backlogged the system is.
“That was fixed weeks ago,” said Asaro-Angelo.
But as recently as last week, Furtado tried to claim her benefits and was told her claim was not payable. The Labor Department writes that if she had a pending appointment, which she does, she would get paid then, but that appointment is still 20 years away.
“So, everybody suffers because the system is out of whack,” says Furtado, “which is sad.”
The only way for Furtado and others like her to fix the problem is to talk to someone over the phone in the unemployment office, something that has been difficult for many unemployed New Jerseyans.
 


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