DePhillips introduces bill to modernize state’s unemployment system, calls for audit and cost estimates
TRENTON, N.J. – The state’s half-century-old unemployment system that was crushed by the weight of record-setting unemployment claims this year will be audited under legislation (A4359) introduced by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips.
“The unemployment insurance system has put thousands of residents in a financial bind,” said DePhillips (R-Bergen). “We need to find out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to fix it. There is a good chance the system has run its course and needs to be replaced altogether.”
New Jersey had a massive unemployment backlog due to the economic shutdown by Gov. Phil Murphy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because the system was overburdened, and state employees weren’t reassigned to help the Labor Department handle the caseload, legislative district offices had to pick up the slack. DePhillips wants to ensure the system will be able to handle anything that comes its way in the future.
“I have heard from thousands of constituents over the past few months that they haven’t been receiving unemployment checks,” continued DePhillips. “They had to wait weeks, and in some cases months, to get the help they need to pay their bills. We need a complete review and possibly overhaul the way things are done to avoid this problem in the future.”
The audit must include an analysis of how federal and state funding was used, whether personnel was sufficient, the system’s ability of efficiently handling workloads during a state of emergency, and bring to light any deficiencies in the unemployment insurance system and organization.