Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Wayne DeAngelo, Raj Mukherji and Joann Downey sponsored to allow individuals who have served in the military to apply for unemployment benefits online gained final legislative approval from the Assembly on Thursday.
Under state law, people claiming UI benefits who previously served in the military, worked for the federal government or worked outside the state are excluded from online application and must apply on the telephone or in person. The bill (A-3606) would require the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to allow these individuals to apply for benefits online.
“All claimants should have the same access to online certification, and this bill will provide veterans and the other claimants the same universal access,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “I see no reason why our veterans should be treated differently than anyone else when it comes to this most basic of government programs.”
“This is 2016,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Everyone should have the same access to much-needed services, especially our veterans. This is the right step forward.”
“Those who answered their nation’s call to serve should not have to go out of their way to apply for unemployment benefits,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson), a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. “Common sense dictates that we correct the law on behalf of New Jersey’s veterans.”
“We have the infrastructure in place to allow people to apply for unemployment benefits online, and it’s more efficient than calling or applying in person,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “There’s simply no excuse for veterans, former federal employees or those who worked out-of-state to be excluded from the online application process.”
The legislation, which gained unanimous Assembly approval on Thursday, also received unanimous approval from the Senate in June. It now awaits the governor’s consideration.