Unemployment benefits for 2010 will increase to a $600 a week maximum for those laid off in the new year, according to an announcement made Thursday by the state Labor Department.
The 2.7 percent increase for employees who file claims after January 1, 2010, will have no impact on claimants who filed in 2009 or earlier, according to Kevin Smith, spokesperson for the Department of Labor. Workers who were laid off in 2009 currently receive a maximum benefit of $584.
"The claim is for the year in which you first file," Smith stated. "You are only eligible for when you claim."
If you lost your job in December 2009, and have yet to file a claim, you would be able to receive the new maximum rate. However, if your claim was processed in December, your payment would be at the 2009 level.
In addition to unemployment benefits, the maximum weekly benefit for temporary disability insurance and family leave insurance claims will rise from $546 to $561. Workers’ compensation maximum weekly benefit rates will also increase from $773 to $794.
The raise happens every year due to state laws associated with Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Disability Insurance, Family Leave Insurance and Workers’ Compensation programs. Smith says it has nothing to do with the increase in unemployment, in which New Jersey is at 9.7 percent, just below the national 10 percent average.
The formula is established by recalculating the maximum benefits rates and taxable wages based on the statewide average weekly wage for its insurance programs.