For those on unemployment for nearly a year, there will be no need to file a new claim.

“Claimants do not need to take any action other than to continue to certify for weekly benefits according to the schedule,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a written statement.

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Under the new approach, those already receiving unemployment would actually delay their benefits by trying to file a new claim, he said.

Typically, a few thousand claimants in the state each week reach the year-end of their benefits and federal law requires the department to review those claims before more benefits can continue.

But, beginning in mid-March, more than 100,000 claims will hit the one-year mark each week, due to the spike in unemployment filings that washed over the state as COVID-19 ground businesses and schools to a halt in 2020.

“Our Department has been planning for this eventuality for months,” Asaro-Angelo said. “We have the programming in place to complete the historic volume of year-end claim reviews federal law requires.”

A single-day record was set for new unemployment claims filed on March 16 as 15,000 applications crashed the state’s system. The pace continued, as nearly 156,000 state residents filed new claims for unemployment benefits within that week — more than three times greater than any week in the 34 years of record-keeping.

Layoffs in spring 2020 were largely reported in the accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, and educational service industries.

Following the more streamlined process, the Department of Labor will contact individuals only if additional earnings or other information is needed.

“Claimants should receive an email advising them of the review of their claim. They should continue to certify for benefits weekly, according to the weekly schedule. When the review is complete, they will receive confirmation that their weekly certification was successful. The best advice: Do not file a new claim," Asaro-Angelo said in response to New Jersey 101.5, when asked about tips for anyone nervous as their claims reach a full year since last March.

"There is no need for them to take any action at this time. There is no need for them to call the call center. If they have computer access, they can check for Benefit Year End updates.”

Those who have had sufficient earnings throughout the year will have a new claim filed on their behalf. Those without sufficient earnings will be able to continue collecting benefits on their original claim.

To qualify for a new claim, a worker had to earn at least $220 per week for 20 or more weeks during their "base year," or a total of $11,000 during that time.

For a new claim filed in March, the base year is Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020. For those whose benefit year ends in April through June, the base year considered for a new claim would be Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020.

With previous reporting by Michael Symons

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

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