For an unemployed individual seeking unemployment benefits in the State of New Jersey who has been denied and has filed an appeal, the wait to be scheduled for a hearing can be as long as 6 months. Recognizing that this can cause serious problems in the lives of the unemployed, a New Jersey Senate Committee has passed a bill aiming to relieve the pressure this puts on the unemployed. Under the proposed bill, the State would be required to rule on an unemployment appeal within 60 days of receiving the appeal. If the fails to do this, the claimant would be paid any withheld unemployment benefits and would begin receiving benefits as they would normally accrue under the law. If the State decides after the 60 day deadline has passed, that the claimant is legitimately ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits, then the benefits may be modified or denied from that point forward, but the law would require that any funds which were withheld and paid out resulting from the State's delay in handling the appeal would not have to be repaid, unless the funds were paid as a result of intentional fraud by the claimant.
Since its approval by the Senate Committee last fall, the bill has been sent to the full Senate for its consideration.
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