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I am totally confused about NJ Unemployment insurance extensions... I

Customer Question
I am totally confused about...
I am totally confused about NJ Unemployment insurance extensions...

I will have exhausted my regular NJ 26 unemployment claim next week and still do not have a job...will I qualify for Tier 1...is that still in existence ? I find the explanations of the new legislature completely overwheming...please help !
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 1 hour by:
7/7/2012
Lawyer: Legalease, Lawyer replied 5 years ago
Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16,386
Experience: 15 years exp all aspects of general law
Verified

Hello there

-

According to the US Dept of Labor, NJ, Nevada and RI have all triggered "off" of the Federal Extended Benefits (EB) program as of July 7, 2012 -- meaning that the unemployment rate in your state has dipped below a certain percentage rate and that triggers the EB to shut off. Typically if you were eligible for any extensions of unemployment compensation, then you would receive a letter from the NJ Division of unemployment telling you where to call or how to apply. Because the EB is set to shut off next week, you are most likely not eligible for any further extensions of unemployment benefits in your state. Here is the link to the Dept of Labor website where the unemployment benefits EB program is discussed -- if you scroll down about half way down the page then you will see where it talks about NJ, NE & RI benefits ending July 7. http://jobsearch.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=jobsearch&cdn=careers&tm =146&gps=375_29_1578_736&f=10&su=p284.13.342.ip_p554.23.342.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims_arch.asp Even with this news, however, it cannot hurt to telephone the unemployment office and ask if there are any EB benefits left for NJ residents and if not, has the state itself possibly kicked in a few more weeks for unemployment (some states will do that -- Massachusetts gave all residents on unemployment an additional 6 weeks without the involvement of the feds). I really do wish I could tell you something different here -- and these three states are the ONLY states in the country where there are now no EB benefits available to any resident (all other states have cut down but there are still one or two extensions left for residents of most states). Call your state representatives to Congress -- senators and representatives (you can find them online by doing a search for NJ senators and representatives) -- and file a complaint about this happening in NJ and it is only THREE states where this is happening right now -- if enough people call to raise a stink, your elected representatives may take some action (all reps and senators have people on their staff who handle issues from the voters from their offices).

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MARY

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Please press the THIRD, FOURTH or FIFTH face below so I will be paid for my time. I realize that you may be disappointed by this answer but I have no choice but to tell you what the law is -- whether it is good news or bad news -- and I ask that you be fair when you press a rating button below (I was also unemployed for a long time and now do this because the economy has taken so long to turn around). THANK YOU

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

You really did not answer my question. You directed me to the sites that I originally told you were confusing. Also, you referred to EB...they are benefits that were used after all tiers are exhausted.


Sorry- but you don't seem to have any better understanding than I do. I am not paying $ 40 to be told to call the unemployment office.

Lawyer: Legalease, Lawyer replied 5 years ago

Hello again

I actually understand the programs and all of the extensions because not only am I lawyer but I was collecting unemployment after a layoff in late 2008 and the unemployment I collected also went into the extensions -- the Extended Benefits or EB program refers to ALL of the extensions which extensions were originally enacted in 2008 under President Bush and then continued under Pres Obama. (Here is the definition of Extended Benefits from the Dept of Labor: "Extended Benefits may start after an individual exhausts other unemployment insurance benefits (not including Disaster Unemployment Assistance or Trade Readjustment Allowances)". What that means is that any benefits you receive after the regular state benefits are paid are part of the federal Extended Benefits program -- or EB). These benefits are enacted by Congress, are applicable to the entire country and have nothing to do with the unemployment payments made by individual states. The only thing that matters and has any affect on these EB benefits enacted by Congress is the unemployment rate in the state where you are collecting AND the states chosen method of calculating and accepting those benefits from the federal government -- so there is some variation of the number of weeks available in each state once a claimant has exhausted their regular unemployment benefits that were paid by the state they live in and were laid off in.

-

When the federal EB extensions were available in all states, there were 4 extensions called TIERS. Originally, the number of weeks available through May 2012 was as follows:

  • Tier 1: 20 weeks
  • Tier 2: 14 weeks
  • Tier 3: 13 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 6% or higher
  • Tier 4: 6 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 8.5% or higher unless state doesn't have EB, then 16 weeks
  • -

    Congress then changed the guidelines in February 2012 and the Tiers, starting June 1, 2012 to August 31, 2012 are as follows:

  • Tier 1: 20 weeks
  • Tier 2: 14 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 6% or higher
  • Tier 3: 13 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 7% or higher
  • Tier 4: 6 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 9% or higher
  • -

    From September 1 through Dec 31, 2012 the Tiers then adjust as follows:

  • Tier 1: 14 weeks
  • Tier 2: 14 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 6% or higher
  • Tier 3: 9 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 7% or higher
  • Tier 4: 10 weeks if the state unemployment rate is 9% or higher
  • -

    After December 2012 there are no provisions for further EB unemployment benefits so whatever tier a claimant is collecting as of 12/31/13 will be the last weeks available to that claimant and the unemployment benefits will stop (for example, if a claimant is collecting regular state benefits in a state where such benefits are available and then begins to collect Tier 1 benefits (14 weeks) in November of 2012, that claimant can collect until the end of the 14 weeks (bringing him or her into the year 2012) but then the last three tiers of benefits will not be available to that claimant unless Congress passes legislation to extend the unemployment benefits extension program further into 2013.

    -

    Now, when you review the above explanation you are probably thinking that these benefits are available to you in NJ. However, there are several methods that the state uses to calculate their overall unemployment rate for the purposes of qualifying for these funds from Congress and there are some states that choose a method of calculation that limits the number of weeks available under the unemployment programs in their state. According to the US Dept of Labor, the method of calculation used by the states of New Jersey, Nevada and Rhode Island operated to completely exclude those three states from receiving any further funds for federal extensions (the EB program). So, as of July 1, 2012, there are no federally funded EB extensions available in those three states. I directed you to the Dept of Labor website and told you to scroll down to where it speaks of these three states -- but here is the paragraph in its entirety that refers to the NJ unemployment participation in the federally funded EB program:

    -

    "Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island triggered "off" EB due to the three year look-back.
    Based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 15, 2012, the three month average, seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate for Nevada (11.7%), New Jersey (9.1%), and Rhode Island (11.1%) did not meet one of the necessary criteria to remain on in the EB program: having a rate at least ten percent greater than the comparable rate in any of the three prior years. This triggered these states "off" the EB program with the week ending June 16, 2012. The end of the payable period in Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island in the EB program will be July 7, 2012."

    -

    So, as you can see, it is pretty clear that as of the current date, NJ claimants will not be receiving any of the federal unemployment extensions any longer. As I stated above, the state of New Jersey itself may have enacted or may be going to enact some emergency legislation to either get their claimants (such as yourself) back into eligibility for the Congressionally enacted federally funded EB program OR they may pass legislation to fund some additional weeks of unemployment using strictly STATE funds and not federal EB funds (this is not unheard of). That is why I told you that you should check with your local unemployment office (I know it is difficult to get through by telephone but you may want to try to get to your local office and make your inquiries in person. If the unemployment office tells you that there are no further benefits available, then the party you should be angry with is your state representatives and senators within the state of New Jersey and your Governor for permitting your state to be only one of three states that will not grant unemployment extensions any longer. In fact -- here is a link to the NJ state page where you can find the names and contact information for these folks and if you learn that there isn't even any thoughts about passing legislation to get NJ back into the federal EB program, then you should start calling, e-mailing and writing the representatives in your state that make these decisions: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp

    -

    I know that you were looking for a positive answer here and that you would be able to apply for another extension and everything would be okay. I also think that may be the reason why you were a bit snappy with me earlier in your response -- I very much DO know what I am talking about when it comes to unemployment benefits and I also know that the way that each state treats the benefits and the number of weeks available has been very, very confusing for people these last few years but I have made it a point to stay on top of what has been happening with unemployment benefits at the federal and state levels because not only was I laid off from a law firm in 2008 and spent nearly 2 years looking for work, I have friends and family across the country who are dealing with the same things. There is a perception out there that all lawyers are wealthy and that is simply NOT true. While there are a few ambulance chasers who have made millions by doing that, most of us struggle along as prosecutors or real estate closing attorneys and we do not earn much more than a teacher or a firefighter in most instances -- and we have higher student loans because we have to spend 3 extra years in school to become lawyers. And then we get laid off just as quickly as the next person. I absolutely feel for you in this situation and can say that I HAVE been in your shoes, so please do not think I am unsympathetic and if I could have given you good news here or I could have found a way around this problem for you in New Jersey I absolutely would have found it for you and told you all about how to apply for it and get it going for yourself. I like to deliver happy, good news to people and I wish I could do that all of the time. Sometimes I cannot do that and all I can do is hope that my customers will be fair and understanding about that and not take their frustration at the law out on me or my answer. Currently the economy is still terrible and the pundits and politicos are trying to put a spin on things so they can cut back and cut off the unemployment benefits still needed by many Americans. It is NOT right and I do NOT agree with it -- but the only way to make a difference is to contact your reps and senators and complain about it.

    -

    If you have further questions or do not understand something above, please ask me and I will explain further.

    -

    MARY

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    Customer reply replied 5 years ago

    I am not looking for a "positive answer" I am looking for clarity. Again, you are just regurgetating the unemployment info and not offering the info I am asking about. I can cut and paste from the website and send as well. NOT WHAT I WAS ASKING !

    Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 5 years ago
    INFOLAWYER
    INFOLAWYER, Attorney
    Category: Legal
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    Hello and thank you for the question. I am sorry to read of this dilemma. Reviewed answer provided. It is accurate and thorough.
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    Customer reply replied 5 years ago
    It really isn't...I didn't need to spend $ 40 to re-read what I already read on the NJ Unemployment web site. This attorney wrote quite a bit, but did not answer the question. Which was quite simple. Instead, she provided lots of further confusing legal jargon. I am filing a complaint with paypal, as I did not receive the service requested and I don't feel I should have to pay $ 40 for " cut and paste" info.
    Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 5 years ago
    Not a problem. Customer service will close the question and refund any money on deposit for the question.
    Ask Your Own Legal Question
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