Weeks without unemployment benefits, but Gov. Murphy says progress is being made

Thousands of New Jerseyans who lost their jobs during the pandemic have gone weeks without receiving unemployment benefits.

News 12 Staff

May 7, 2020, 2:38 AM

Updated 1,448 days ago

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Thousands of New Jerseyans who lost their jobs during the pandemic have gone weeks without receiving unemployment benefits.
An unprecedented number of claims, an overworked staff and outdated technology are just some of the reasons state leaders have given as to why it is taking so long for people to get through to the Department of Labor and to get their benefits.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that the surge is 10-times higher than it has ever been before. He says that he understands the frustration. But he scoffed at the idea that he and his administration does not care about their plight.
“I don’t want folks to think we’re not paying attention. This has been an overwhelming avalanche and it’s the best example for health care and economic crisis we’re dealing with and people who have lost their jobs in historic numbers,” the governor says on News 12’s “Ask Gov. Murphy” program.
But the thousands who are out of work hear nothing but busy signals when they call the Department of Labor. And many say that the time for patience and understanding is up.
“I now have $22 in my checking account,” says Desiree Moczydlowski – a mother of two boys, including a 5-month-old.
Moczydlowski of Hillsborough filed for unemployment in March after being terminated from her job while on maternity leave. She had been working at a medical office. She even won an appeal to ensure that she gets unemployment. But so far, she has not seen any benefits.
“I’ve logged in. It tells me X amount of dollars are available to me. Zero have been paid to me,’ She says
Moczydlowski and her partner, who was also recently let go from his job, have even tried to apply for food stamps, but were denied.
“We make too much money to get assistance…I have nothing,” she says.
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Murphy says that the state is expected to get through the backlog of claims by early next week. The Department of Labor reports $1.4 billion has reached the unemployed so far.
The department says that between April 19-25, 71,996 claims were filed.
“We have people working around the clock with expanded manpower…it has been an avalanche,” he said.
But for people like Moczydlowski, time is running out.
“It’s been a stressor. There’s been some arguing, some fighting, because – it’s sad to say – but money does make the world go around,” she says.
Murphy says that those who can’t get into the system will get paid retroactively. They will also get an extra $600 from the federal government.


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