Expecting a baby? New Jersey has made it a bit easier, and likely quicker, to obtain financial benefits while you're away from work.

Two state laws enacted on Oct. 7 should expedite the process for receiving family leave and temporary disability insurance.

One law gives an expectant mother the freedom to submit claims for benefits up to 60 days before the benefit period, given she knows in advance when the leave will begin.

The other requires the state to automatically begin the application process for family leave benefits once one's application for temporary disability insurance is received. This saves workers the hassle of filling out another application.

William Rieser, an associate with employment law firm Sidney L. Gold & Associates, in Pennsauken, said a number of laws and changes are coming about to streamline the current process for individuals needing time off to tend to a new infant.

"There's multiple rounds of paperwork, you've got to go certain doctors. Sometimes that is a barrier," Rieser said.

Mothers who are eligible for the benefits may receive four weeks of temporary disability insurance before they deliver their child, and up to six weeks of family leave benefits after the birth (eight weeks if the mother undergoes a C-section), the law firm said. Benefits amount to two-thirds of their pay.

Bigger changes are coming next summer. Starting in July, workers will be able to receive 80% of their weekly wages for 12 weeks.

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