Legislators report N.J. residents jamming phone lines with unemployment concerns, worse than Sandy

Legislators report N.J. residents jamming phone lines with unemployment concerns, worse than Sandy

TRENTON, N.J. – Thousands of New Jerseyans have been waiting weeks for their unemployment checks, and the Murphy Administration’s Department of Labor has been slow to adjust.

Some legislative offices report phone lines jammed by desperate New Jerseyans.

“The volume of calls we are getting to our legislative offices from those having issues with unemployment claims is unprecedented, even compared to the calls we received during Sandy,” said Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger of Monmouth County’s LD13 in a joint statement issued Tuesday. “Families are terrified and struggling simply to put food on their tables. We need to add staff, hours, and resources immediately to end the backlog of claims.”

576,04 new claims crushed New Jersey’s decrepit unemployment system over the three weeks ending April 3rd. 

Exacerbating the unemployment picture is a double-whammy of Governor Phil Murphy’s draconian shutdown of “non-essential” businesses and aid-related concerns including an under-funded federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“The original appropriation for the PPP forgivable loans may be exhausted as soon as this week,” the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) complained in a letter directed to congressional leaders seeking a new $251 billion appropriation. “As the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis, further delays in appropriations will slow the forgivable loan approval process and lock out those business owners who are only recently eligible to apply such as independent contractors and self-employed individuals. If the funds are exhausted or financial institutions are forced to limit applications, the smallest businesses will be harmed the most.”