Is nj unemployment open today

Is nj unemployment open today DEFAULT

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration set an Oct. 18 deadline for all state workers in New Jersey to return to their offices full-time for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state.

But when that date arrived Monday, the plans had changed. Only some of the state government workforce was required to come back. The rest would return on a rolling basis through the end of November, Murphy’s office said.

The delay caused some confusion in Trenton and left some lawmakers — from both parties — unhappy.

State Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Passaic, said she was “disappointed” that Murphy, a Democrat running for re-election Nov. 2, failed to “live up to live up to his promise” to reopen all services on that day.

Corrado said she heard from angry residents who went to One Stop unemployment centers in Hackensack and Paterson on Monday only to get turned away.

“When everything in the private sector is open, the continuing closure of important state offices, including unemployment centers, sends a message that the Murphy administration doesn’t care that lots of people need help,” Corrado said.

State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said the delayed deadline is “very confusing to constituents who do need services.” Weinberg said she’s also perplexed as to why critical offices still aren’t open or fully staffed nearly 20 months into the pandemic.

“They should put in all the reasonable health regulations to keep the public and workforce safe,” she said. “I don’t understand when you can go into a restaurant and schools are open and all kinds of events are being held that the state of New Jersey is the last holdout.”

RELATED: It’s back to the office today for N.J. state workers as Murphy order takes effect

Murphy’s administration originally planned to have all workers return Sept. 7, after the Labor Day weekend. Employees have so far been required to work at least part-time from their offices.

But the deadline was later moved to Oct. 18 to coincide with a new state requirement taking effect that day for all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.

The requirement also led to this new delay. The governor’s office sent an email to departments last week saying “we have encountered some challenges with testing infrastructure and will move forward with bringing state employee’s back on a rolling basis,” according to a copy obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Murphy’s office did not make a public announcement about the change until Monday, when asked about it by the press.

The governor said Monday the state wants to have “a smooth testing rollout” for those who choose not to get the vaccine.

“That’s the area that has made it more complicated,” Murphy said at his coronavirus briefing in Trenton.

Asked to respond to lawmakers’ concerns, Murphy said Wednesday he would “like a magic wand” to have everyone back in the office “safely, responsibly at one moment in time.”

“We think this is the most responsible way to do it,” he said during a virtual coronavirus briefing. “And we’re doing this over a period of weeks, not months or years.”

”You see this being done in the private sector, and there are examples all over the map,” Murphy added. “I spoke to a CEO yesterday that delayed their back-to-office to January.”

The vaccine requirement for state employees did take effect as planned Monday, with workers having to show proof of getting their shots. But unvaccinated workers will face regular testing only when they return to work in person, Murphy said.

Among the offices that reopened Monday were in-person services such as motor vehicle, labor, and children and family offices. Employees in Murphy’s office also returned.

The rest of employees will be phased-in on the following schedule:

  • Nov. 8: Workers at agencies with more than 2,500 people — including the departments of health, corrections, treasury, environmental protection, transportation, and human services.
  • Nov. 15: Workers at agencies that have between 500 and 2,500 employees, including education, the state Parole Board, and community affairs.
  • Nov. 29: Workers at agencies that have fewer than 500 employees — including the departments of banking and insurance, agriculture, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Civil Service Commission, the state Board of Public Utilities, and more.

As for One Stop unemployment locations? Murphy said those will be “phased in over the next number of weeks.”

NJ Advance Media staff writer Matthew Arco contributed to this report.

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Brent Johnson may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @johnsb01.

Sours: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/10/nj-state-workers-will-now-return-to-offices-on-rolling-basis-some-lawmakers-arent-happy.html

The battle continues with the state Division of Unemployment Insurance. My wife is a 10-month employee for the Voorhees Township school district who filed a legitimate claim for summer wages lost due to the pandemic in 2020. She’s been paying into the compensation fund for 30 years.

After months of haggling and calls to state Sen. Fred Madden’s office, D-Gloucester, the benefits were paid in January 2021. But we received a notice this July to pay them back. We appealed and sat through a conference call with a rude and condescending appeals examiner who expected us to know everything about how unemployment works. I think they will deny the appeal based on the scant 10 days they gave us to respond.

I would challenge a forensic accountant to explain how the unemployment system works. The bottom line is, many people are struggling and suffering in this pandemic, and it would be useful if state employees could do their jobs and explain things to the people they are supposed to serve.

Their advice is to call unemployment for answers. Seriously, don’t they think we’ve done this a thousand times? It was OK for them to pay the benefits to which my wife was entitled five months late, but to ask for this money back is absolutely insane.

Due to the appeal process, my wife has been unable to apply for similar benefits for the summer of 2021, because her summer program was again cancelled due to the pandemic. We have been chasing our tails and receiving no answers. This needs to stop.

John J. Gardiner, Washington Township

Biden brings end of U.S.A. as we know it

“The End,” a song made popular by The Doors and then in the Vietnam war movie “Apocalypse Now,” now seems prophetic.

The situation in Afghanistan is horrible. U.S.-operated Bagram Air Base, which our military closed down in July, should have remained open, since it was a safer option for evacuation of American personnel and our Afghan allies than Kabul’s commercial airport. Bagram was a fortress that was controlled by the our own military and had multiple runways available.

The Kabul airport was chosen with assurances from the Taliban that Americans and their allies would be granted safe passage. The Biden administration asked the Taliban if the Aug. 31 deadline to remove U.S. troops could be extended. The Taliban said “No.” Why do we need their permission?

We are seeing gas prices rising steadily which is common during the summer travel months. So, the Biden administration asked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production even more than they’d already planned, in order to increase American supplies. OPEC said “No!”

Yet, not too long ago, the Biden administration stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline, causing a loss of jobs and reducing the amount of fossil-fuel energy that will flow into the United States from Canada in the future.

Illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border is out of control and an estimated 18% of migrants leaving Border Patrol custody and allowed to cross into the United States have tested COVID-19 positive.

Inflation is growing at a steady rate, yet the Biden administration supports a $3.5 trillion “social” infrastructure bill and a $1 trillion traditional infrastructure bill. We, the taxpayers, know and for who know how long government will be digging deeper into our pockets.

Perhaps “This IS the End” of the America we once knew, yet still love.

Ken Seigle, Turnersville

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Sours: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2021/08/nj-unemployment-system-is-still-one-hot-mess-letters.html
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Thousands of workers are still trying to reach the Labor Department about their unemployment benefits.

While some have reported the new call center has allowed them to reach a live person, others say they still can’t get through. Many of those who did reach an agent said they were told they would get a call back from a “specialist” who can handle their claims.

Others say they have given up on getting through by phone and they’d much rather go to an office, even during the coronaviruspandemic.

Indeed, at least two posts in unemployment Facebook groups said at least one office was open but wouldn’t help on individual claims.

But the Department of Labor said the admonishment was “incorrect.”

“While we remain closed to the public, due to Covid-19, it is indeed incorrect to say `they aren’t going to serve us,‘” Labor spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi said. “Our staff are serving customers every day, just not in person. Our virtual and telephone services are fully available and accessible to customers. We encourage their use.”

She said while the majority of Labor Department employees are working remotely, there are a small number who are reporting to their offices.

“Our employees are fully engaged in helping customers online and on the phones,” she said.

When asked if there was a schedule or a timetable to reopen offices for in-person help, Delli-Santi said: “All field office services will remain virtual and telephonic.”

Workers interviewed by NJ Advance Media speculated the agency wants to avoid long lines and overcrowding, similar to what happened when Motor Vehicle Commission locations reopened last week.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

This comes on the heels of an announcement Friday that the agency’s One-Stop Career Centers will “offer a full suite of online and telephonic jobseeker services” starting Aug. 10.

The agency said in-person services will not be available at any One-Stop location because of health concerns for its customers and staff. It said “comprehensive support for unemployment customers remains available online, and through the regional call centers, which have expanded their capacity.”

Delli-Santi, the Labor spokeswoman, said Monday it will remain virtual “indefinitely.”

“We must restart thoughtfully and carefully, so as to maximize our impact to those wishing to start or change careers while the health and safety of our customers and staff remains paramount,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a press release about the One-Stop online services.

The Labor Department also said remote-access services available will include career planning; assessment of training needs; occupational skills training and job search support for unemployed adults and dislocated workers; Re-Employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA), which help unemployment claimants find work before they exhaust their benefits; career services for individuals with disabilities, including resume building, accommodating equipment and job placement; and online workshops.

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Karin Price Mueller may be reached at [email protected].

Sours: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/07/nj-unemployment-offices-will-remain-closed-for-now-state-says.html
NJ labor commissioner answers unemployment questions I Chat Box

State of New Jersey SealOfficial Site of The State of New Jersey

INFORMATION FOR JOBSEEKERS: Visit CareerServices.nj.gov to learn more about the resources and trainings that are available to get you started on your next career opportunity. This includes access to more than 5,000 free online courses, our Job Source search tool, and one-on-one virtual support.


CERTIFICATION SCHEDULE:Check the schedule to find the correct time slot to certify for benefits based on your Social Security Number (SSN).


FEDERAL EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPIRED ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2021: Please note that you will still be able to receive benefits for weeks prior to September 4, if you are found eligible for a claim filed before September 4, 2021. Any funds that appear as remaining in your unemployment account related to these federal programs will not be available for certification or payment for weeks of unemployment ending after September 4, 2021. Learn more about state extended unemployment benefits here.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND SUPPORT: Click here for links to assistance with food, housing, child care, health, and more.

Sours: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/

Nj open is today unemployment

State of New Jersey SealOfficial Site of The State of New Jersey

The local phone numbers below all go to the same place. Local phone numbers are offered as a courtesy for callers who are charged more for long-distance calls.

If you are in a phone queue, you will not move ahead by trying one of the other phone numbers.

If you hang up to call a different number, you will lose your place and move to the end of the line.

   Camden 856-614-3801
   East Orange 973-680-3518
   Elizabeth 908-820-3969
   Hackensack 201-996-8021
   JerseyCity 201-217-4602
   Neptune 732-775-5131
   New Brunswick 732-937-4525
   Newark 973-648-7601
   Newton 973-383-4432
   Passaic 973-458-6724
   Paterson 973-977-4307
   Perth Amboy 732-937-4525
   Phillipsburg 908-859-5467
   Plainfield 908-412-7779
   Pleasantville 609-441-7581
   Randolph 973-328-6490
   Somerville 908-704-3366
   Thorofare 856-853-4177
   TomsRiver 732-286-6460
   Trenton 609-292-6800
   Vineland 856-696-6591

Sours: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/help/contact-us/
More return to work as federal unemployment payments end?

After months of having their offices inundated with calls from unemployed residents, lawmakers are looking to put new pressure on New Jersey’s unemployment offices to reopen.

A new bill will be introduced Thursday requiring the Department of Labor’s One-Stop Career Centers to immediately reopen and remain open to help the thousands of claimants still struggling to certify or claim their benefits, said state Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Passaic.

“I’m beyond frustrated that unemployment offices aren’t open. The government serves the public, so they should be accessible and open,” she said. “In the beginning, offices needed to be closed but now it’s beyond time to reopen and help people.”

She said her office has trouble reaching the Labor Department to pass along cases that residents call about. Many people, she said, are having their claims escalated and told it will be eight weeks before getting money, or never getting through to the call center to address an issue.

“I don’t know where the disconnect is that you can go to a restaurant but not to unemployment offices,” she said, pointing to Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent lifting of restrictions and loosening of mask mandates. “We’ve called for the service centers to be open, and nothing happens, so now we need legislation to address it.”

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, echoed Corrado’s frustrations and said she’s also expressed the need to reopen offices to the governor and Labor officials, to no avail.

Department of Labor spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi said One-Stop Career Centers are not unemployment offices, and benefits are largely accessed online. Just a third of the centers offered any unemployment services before the COVID-19 pandemic, “because there is nothing that cannot be done online or over the phone,” she said.

Since the major shutdown of businesses in March 2020, unemployment offices have been closed as more than 2.1 applications were filed over 15 months. Since then, the Labor Department has distributed more than $28 billion in benefits to 1.5 million claimants, Delli-Santi said.

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo testified during budget hearings it would be “inefficient” to dispatch individual claims agents to field agents, and staff can better serve claimants through the system that has already been used during the pandemic.

Weinberg pointed to an NJ Advance Media report showing the state paid $11 million from June through December 2020 to subcontractor Navient for an unemployment call center, according to records obtained through an Open Public Records Act Request. In July, 78% of callers got a busy signal.

“It’s irrational to be paying millions of dollars to these call centers. I suggest unemployment offices live up to its title and get the services they need. It’s unacceptable and it doesn’t make sense,” Weinberg said.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

Kentucky is currently the only state with in-person unemployment services. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said unemployment offices will be opening in the state over the summer, and Nevada plans to open offices in June.

“Every action we have taken over the past 14 months has been designed to get the most benefits to the largest number of eligible claimants in the shortest time possible,” Delli-Santi added. “Every IT innovation, every new staff member and every other action are all geared toward achieving the goal of serving our customers in a time of need.”

Assemblywoman Valerie Valerini Huttle said she would look at sponsoring the bill in the state Assembly, where it does not yet have a companion bill. Huttle, D-Bergen, said in-person services for unemployed people should be a priority in reopening.

“We have constituents that are struggling, and we have people who haven’t received their benefits from such a long time ago,” she said. “These are old issues in the backlog we’re trying to resolve and navigate, and it could get better if the DOL deals with these caseloads.”

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at[email protected]. Follow her at@snietomunoz.

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Sours: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/05/nj-unemployment-offices-still-havent-reopened-a-new-bill-could-change-that.html

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NJ unemployment: Workers can't reach claims agents, still desperate for help with benefits

Be patient and you will get your entitled benefits, labor officials and Gov. Phil Murphy have repeated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The overwhelming number of claimants have received at least one payment, they note. New Labor Department staff have been trained to help deal with the unprecedented number of claims and calls coming in, they say.

But that is little comfort to the tens of thousands of New Jersey workers who, 11 months into the pandemic and the economic hardship it sparked, continue to have trouble reaching a live person to help them with claim issues.

The Labor Department estimates that 96% of eligible claimants have received at least one check. But workers submitted about 1.9 million claims since mid-March, leaving roughly 78,000 workers who have yet to receive a single check. Reasons range from "a discrepancy over the reason for separation, reporting wages in more than one state or returning to work," among others, said department spokesperson Angela Delli Santi. 

And that doesn't include the estimated 33,000 people who exhausted their jobless benefits and are eligible for a few more months of relief under the latest federal stimulus. The state says it is interpreting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor about how it is allowed to distribute these checks, so thousands have gone more than a month without relief. 

These workers say they are not getting answers.

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"We have made every effort to help claimants through the weekly certification process, including posting a tip sheet on our website on how to correctly answer the questions, which we are required by the U.S. Department of Labor to ask every week," Delli Santi said. "We urge claimants to visit myunemployment.nj.gov for the most up-to-date information on how to certify, continued eligibility and more."

The state Department of Labor launched a new call center in June and said it "continues to hire, train and reassign staff to assist where they are most needed." Call center staff members speak with roughly 6,000 people each week day, Delli Santi said, and about 3,000 people on weekend days. 

But even though the agency takes an estimated 36,000 calls a week, workers continue to contact The Record and NorthJersey.com seeking answers to questions they don't have the chance to ask the Department of Labor, because they can't get through to a claims agent or an agent can't fix their problems. 

Here are some of their stories:

Still no funds from March 

As a single mother, Marve Luz Pereira used to work two full-time jobs and one part-time gig to support her family. But the boutique hotel that employed her in Princeton shut down, and her late and weekend hours were cut at the Ralph Lauren store where she worked, so she filed an unemployment claim in mid-March. 

It took two months for Pereira to begin receiving her jobless benefits. The weeks she went without a check caused her to fall two months behind on rent. 

“Luckily, they can’t evict you or take you to court, but I don’t want the debt to pile up on me,” said Pereira, 51, of Hillsborough. “I’m recovering from a divorce. We were homeless for six months. I’m feeling anxiety kicking in, because I don’t want to be homeless again. We were in a good place, and now I’m having to depend on another system that is broken.”

Pereira has never gotten through to a live claims agent on New Jersey’s unemployment phone line. She has read “every inch” of the Department of Labor’s website, mailed a letter asking for help, and visited the local unemployment office, where a large “closed” sign hung on the window. 

“I thought Governor Murphy said that every penny would be paid out, and that they hired people to handle our questions,” Pereira said. “I don’t want my debt to grow and get out of control, because then where am I going to get the money?”

Error message: ‘Benefit year expired’

Karen Sepulveda joined Facebook groups to learn how to “crack the code” and get through to a live person on New Jersey’s unemployment phone line. She redials the number for several hours a day. “You make a nuisance of yourself,” she said. 

Sepulveda, 42, was laid off in December after working for close to four years at a nonprofit health and social services organization serving vulnerable communities in Camden. 

The Milford resident followed the directions she received in the mail after filing an unemployment claim, but encountered an error message: "Benefit year is expired." 

Sepulveda got through to a person twice, and each time the call center agent said her claim was under review — but they didn’t know why, or what she could do to fix it. 

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“I am spending hours a day every single day trying to reach a human at the Department of Labor with the hope that the next agent will have the knowledge and skills to fix the issue with my claim,” Sepulveda said. 

She said she feels “betrayed by the state.”

“I hung on to my job through most of 2020, in addition to having two children at home with special needs who are having difficulties with their behavioral health challenges, much less trying to get them to stay on their meds,” Sepulveda said. “And because I don’t know how long this will take, and how long my savings will last, I don’t know whether I should be taking out a loan or selling furniture versus looking to move.”

Pending for four months

During the handful of times that Joe Almstadt was able to reach someone on New Jersey’s unemployment line, he didn't receive any helpful answers about why his claim status has been pending for four months. 

“I ask what the problem is, and they say, ‘Well, sir, we’re in a pandemic,’ ” Almstadt said. “They keep saying they’re escalating my claim, but I don’t see anything changing. It’s frustrating to not have a way to get this resolved.”

Almstadt worked at a leasing company for close to 10 years and was let go on Sept. 2. He is now taking care of his brother, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer. 

“He’s in bad shape. We go back and forth to the hospital, which makes it tough,” Almstadt said. “I’m 64 years old, and finding a new job is not that easy.”

Status switch

David Anderson was at a restaurant when he finally received a call back from the unemployment office. He ran to his car in excitement, but by the time he hung up, he felt demoralized. 

“It was clear the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing,” Anderson said. “The woman had no idea why I wasn’t paid. I doubt I’ll ever get closure on this.”

Initially, Anderson, 35, didn’t have problems claiming his benefits after being let go from his job as a retail district manager in February. But that changed in December. He accepted a job, but left after attending three days of a training program and learned he would not receive the salary he was promised. 

“That changed my status, but there was no way to get in touch with anyone to talk about that adjustment and what changed,” Anderson said. “I would call eight hours a day.

“I literally drained every bit of my savings and borrowed money from my family so I could bridge this gap," he said. "I was lucky enough to have savings to begin with. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I’m still having to think of Plan B and C.”

Ashley Balcerzak is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to her work covering New Jersey’s Legislature and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @abalcerzak

Sours: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2021/02/01/nj-unemployment-workers-cant-reach-agents-still-desperate-help/4291648001/


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