New Jersey's 1st Legislative District

Senator Michael Testa

Senator Michael Testa

Testa Encouraged that Independent Workers May Soon Receive Unemployment Assistance After Long Delays

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Says Other COVID-19 Extension and Backlog Cases Must Be Addressed As Well

Senator Michael Testa said he is “hesitantly optimistic” after Governor Phil Murphy announced federal money available to contractors and gig-workers may finally reach the unemployed people who need it.

Federal pandemic stimulus money may soon be on its way to gig workers and independent contractors, but Sen. Testa said the Governor must deliver on his promise. (Pixabay)

“The process has taken far too long for people who desperately need help,” said Testa (R-1). “On the surface, this is good news, but we’re going to have to remain vigilant to ensure the reality lives up to the promise and money starts arriving next week.”

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, providing assistance for millions of newly jobless workers in both traditional and non-traditional jobs, was created by the federal CARES Act, the third round of COVID stimulus funding.

At his press briefing from Trenton today, Murphy said that money will begin going out as early as next week.

“Hundreds of thousands of hard-working New Jerseyans have grown weary of the delays and the frustrating lack of any answers,” Testa said. “They may finally be getting close to realizing some of the help intended by the federal stimulus. The onus now is on the Governor and the labor department to make it happen.”

The CARES Act expands unemployment benefits to gig workers. Most will be eligible for 39 weeks of benefits, plus an additional $600 weekly.

Self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors can get more information on eligibility and applying for help at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s web site, and the frequently-asked-questions page found by clicking here.

Senator Testa noted that his constituents are still awaiting NJDOL guidance on extensions and individuals with error messages who still deserve answers.

“The department has been telling people that if you have not heard from them, there is no need to call or email,” Testa said. “I want to urge people in the First Legislative District, if they haven’t received a check or more information by next week, they should call our district office for assistance at (609) 778-2012.”

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