Jobless-benefits extension bill signed

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill today that will enable unemployed resident to continue collecting their unemployment benefits for at least two months.

The bill’s sponsors, Sen.  Fred Madden, (D-4), of Turnersville, and Paul Sarlo, (D-38), of Wood-Ridge, were pleased with the outcome.

The legislation continues an option made available by the federal “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” – and mirrored in a 2011 New Jersey law – that permits laid-off workers to receive 100 percent federally funded extended unemployment benefits.  Both the federal and state laws were set to expire at the end of 2011; Congress, however, acted in late December to extend the unemployment benefits provision through the end of February 2012.  The new law reflects that action. 

“Ensuring that this extension passes is critical to making sure those who are unemployed, essentially through no fault of their own, continue to be able to provide for themselves and their families,” said Madden, chair of the Senate Labor Committee.  “We are working on several pieces of bipartisan legislation that will help create jobs in New Jersey, but in the meantime, we simply cannot allow folks who need assistance to fall by the wayside.”

Sarlo said, “This is only a temporary fix, but it is an important one.  As we examine ways to assist the hundreds of thousands who are desperately seeking work, these benefits will help the unemployed to be able to provide at least the bare essentials for their families.  Hopefully, Congress is able to come up with a more permanent solution in the near future.”

The law also extends the three-year loo- back until the time when the 100 percent federal funding of extended benefits ends. 

Jobless-benefits extension bill signed