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Murphy Administration’s Mismanagement of Unemployment System Hurting New Jersey Families

Phill Murphy -Sara Medina del Castillo

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Senator Anthony M. Bucco said Governor Phil Murphy’s continued mismanagement of New Jersey’s unemployment insurance system is hurting both workers and businesses that are struggling to recover.

“We have this perverse situation where unemployed workers with families still can’t get their benefits approved by the Murphy administration, while freeloaders who could go back to work continue to get checks they no longer deserve,” said Bucco (R-25). “I still have constituents who have been waiting months for their claims to be approved, and I have a growing number of businesses telling me that workers would rather stay on unemployment than return to work. On both sides of the equation, the Murphy administration is at fault.”

Regarding workers with legitimate claims pending, Bucco said many have been stuck in limbo for months while trying unsuccessfully to resolve issues over the phone or online without access to walk-in unemployment centers that Governor Murphy still hasn’t reopened.

“Now that the CDC has said vaccinated workers face little risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 and don’t need to social distance, Governor Murphy has absolutely no excuse to keep walk-in unemployment centers closed,” said Bucco. “He should open them immediately to serve people who have been failed by the unemployment system for too long.”

Regarding individuals who are collecting unemployment benefits and refuse to return to work, Bucco said the Murphy administration isn’t doing enough to enforce requirements that workers must accept a suitable job if it is offered to them.

“Governor Murphy can reduce the burden on the unemployment system by enforcing work requirements that no longer should be ignored,” added Bucco. “That would help legitimate claims get considered faster and address the growing labor shortage that is slowing the pace of New Jersey’s economic recovery.”

6 thoughts on “Murphy Administration’s Mismanagement of Unemployment System Hurting New Jersey Families

  1. Escalation process for NJ Unemployment claims-
    I am writing to you this morning to perhaps get some answers and or solutions from the administration that oversees the NJ Unemployment system.
    In reading all the articles on the internet about the dollar figures paid out thus far, system issues, hiring more employees to oversee claims, waiting on guidance
    or funding to update their systems, I’ve yet to hear of read what is being done as far as solutions within their “Escalation process.”

    In Dec. 2019 I moved from NJ to FL, keeping my job in NJ and working remotely. March 2020, I was furloughed from that job and filed my claim in NJ. I lived in NJ my entire life which is where my work history is. I had the usual issues at the height of the pandemic waiting on my benefit’s.

    In November 2020 I took a temp. assignment based on a need of a company. I work in finance, more often than not you are working with recruiters/headhunters for jobs. When a company has a specific need, it is for someone to come in & get that role caught up on the day-to-day functions until
    no longer needed. I was called and interviewed by a recruiter and the company, then accepted this role. The assignment was for a duration of around 600 hours. Each week I went on during my day/time and truthfully entered all my information as far as that job goes. (NJ Unemployment system)
    That assignment ended on April 9th, 2021. Trying to reopen my claim has been nothing short of a nightmare. I was unable to do it online since the date that still remains on my claim is 3-29-20. April 12th 2021, I called one of the call centers. I’m sure you already know the nightmares with that.
    Basically, in my situation and will 5 weeks later, (on Monday 5-17-21) I was told my claim would go into escalation and would take 8-12 weeks to get resolved. When I go into “check the status of my claim” (per the only updates or instructions given to me for 5 weeks) everything is updated except for the date of the claim, which is still March of 2020. When I claimed my weeks for April 17th to May 8th, 2021 each week is “non payable at this time.”
    My main question for NJ Unemployment is why would it take 8-12 weeks to review a claim? Yes, I’m mindful of any system problems, lack of staffing etc. At the same time, I have paid any expenses I could on a credit card to hold me over waiting to get some sort of resolve with my claim. My credit card is now maxed out. This Friday, I will have to have a conversation with my rental office about leaving. I have 20.00 in my checking account and still waiting..
    I have all records of every job I’ve applied to, every zoom interview, phone interviews etc. That’s not an issue for me to prove. When unemployment states that “you must take a suitable job, if offered” and you do, why is it so very difficult to reopen your claim if the job ended? What they fail to discuss or recognize is the amount of time they are asking folks to have patience to review your claim. If it takes 8 to 12 weeks to review your claim, (or longer from what I’ve read)they don’t understand what happens during that time? Things start getting shut off and go into collection agencies. Don’t have money to pay car insurance? You are unable to drive. Don’t have money to pay rent? You are displaced, while making arrangements with the courts to pay any unpaid rent.
    I have sent emails to Phil Murphy’s office, no replies. I have tried calling the Commissioner of NJ Unemployment. They don’t answer their phones. I have called and emailed through the NJ Unemployment website. As stated, the only reply is “keep checking on the status of your claim.”
    I have one week left to check the status of my claim, before having to pack up my apartment and break my lease. And I’m still seeking full time day and night employment while dealing with this mess.
    While I can appreciate the dollar figure of what NJ Unemployment has paid out thus far, (which seem to be the only updates the Commissioner likes to discuss) I don’t appreciate the lack of doing what it takes to follow up with folks, so they are not forced out of their homes. I have 41 years of work history paying into NJ Unemployment. It is my opinion that their Administration must do better. For the people trying to get answers and or get their claims fixed, being put in a loop for 8-12 weeks ( or longer) is the only solution they have? It is not acceptable that anyone should have to lose everything to wait on one person to fix a problem. If there is a shortage of employees that know how to fix claims, why is the Commissioner and his staff not in there to help the escalation process? It seems that the only thing the staff are trained to say is “keep checking the status of your claim” or “it could take 8-12 weeks.” For myself and I’m sure for others, this is not a solution.

    Thank you for your time in reading my concerns.

  2. I have been waiting 2 months for an issue to be resolved. I have called four times, and the first 3 times I was told it would take 8-10 weeks for review and the agents told me they would escalate the claim. I decided to call today again, and this agent told me that my claim is being held up for fraud suspect and that I would have to go through a process to validate my ID. I asked the agent why this was never told to me previously by three other agents, and that I was never notified of this problem either by e-mail or us mail. I said I wanted to speak to a supervisor, but I was refused. Is this a gimmick just to hold up claims???

  3. The governor’s mismanagement of the unemployment system is unacceptable. My family was also caught in the nightmare of being unable to log in, told to call (like the black screen of death) and never being able to get through on the phone lines (all day, anytime, the message is “we are too busy, call back tomorrow” and they hang up.

    Now he’s adding salt to the wound–workers are expected to return to offices and other locations, but DOL Unemployment workers are able to stay home, and much-needed walk-in offices remain closed.

    He rarely addresses this, I’ve asked several times, once in a public forum, where one of his aides took my information (and didn’t allow the question to be asked in a Town Hall), but then did fix my issue with their special connections.

    And I’m a Democrat. It’s going to be hard to vote for him in November, despite the good he has done.

  4. The entire unemployment system needs an over haul. Starting with the At will Laws involving your benefits. I worked all my life contributing to NJ unemployment. I am close to retirement. I was falsely accused by my employer, DISCRIMINATED and RETALIATED against after 21 years of service and a model employee. The At Wills Laws supports my employers FALSE ALLEGATIONs, which denied me unemployment benefits. I put in an appeal. It is now over 5 months with no income coming in. I wrote to Governor Murphy for help or solution. I wrote Appeals Tribunal many times, I have talked to Lawyers. Due to the Laws, employers can just take someone livelyhood with no remorse. I was suspended without pay and terminated for doing my job. My employer/supervisor allowed hate at my workplace, disrimination, retaliation, as a result, I have no job, no money coming in and about to lose my home.

  5. All concerns and issues are all being felt all over the country. Same thing my unemployment is on hold and don’t give you any reason. Check your emails , your spam and on and on, all lies.. you listen to the recording and it sounds like.. you know we at call center cannot help you… I have a list of things I can say.. this goes on.. what for 3, 4 months now.. you feel like a jerk.. listening to a recorded message.
    there is no money…that is the answer… judgement will come when it is time for our vote…

  6. 2022 and 2024 will be a “get back” year for a lot of people. Murphy is very lucky he can’t be easily recalled as this mess is on him. And being that itis going on nationally, it is on the entire party. 4 months of waiting for someone to take a hold off of my payments. Allegedly everything is fine. I have had the escalation excuse thrown out 3 times with no results. Also, I requested a call back from a person authorized to do this and was told it would be within 24 hours. Instead it was nearly a month later and they then CLAIMED there had been no escalation as I WAS TOLD before. Beyond hopeless right now.

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