Thousands of NJ residents still without unemployment benefits

Last Friday, state labor officials trumpeted they fixed the problem and that 75,000 people would be paid weeks of back benefits. However, many residents have still not received their money.

Video Transcript

- We have been listening to so many complaining and desperately waiting to get your unemployment money owed to you by the state of New Jersey. The stories will break your heart.

- Yeah, they do. A young mom selling her car to buy diapers for her toddler. Another lady sending her son away because she can no longer afford-- can afford him.

- So many heartbreaking stories. But finally some good news. From 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda, who has been battling for benefits for so many people for weeks.

NINA PINEDA: What's the first bill you paid?

STEPHANIE KINLEY: My credit cards and PSEG.

NINA PINEDA: Finally some relief for those we featured from the New Jersey unemployment group Facebook page. The majority got their benefits, more than $35,000 and counting, after delays of over two months.

STEPHANIE KINLEY: Thank you for your help because it's-- right after I did the segment, literally the next day the money was there.

NINA PINEDA: Stephanie Kinley was laid off from her job at a mental health clinic. And with no unemployment coming in since Christmas, she had to send her 11-year-old away to live with his dad. Now she's working on bringing Malachi home

ANETTE GUARGLIARDO: I'm a mess because I don't have nothing.

NINA PINEDA: Anette Guagliardo, a catering bartender not working any gigs since March, was down to her last dollar when we first shared her unemployment story and others, like the family selling their car to afford diapers, with Governor Murphy and the Labor Department commissioner.

After that press conference, it was announced 75,000 people waiting for back benefits would start getting paid. And that got her three grand. Yet others are still waiting, like this chef laid off after 40 years.

CLEVELAND BAILEY: I'm being, like, stepped on here. You know, it's like-- it's like a kick in the teeth.

NINA PINEDA: But money came for the Krout family. They didn't have to sell their car. The Lopezs, who had a baby during the pandemic, can pay their mortgage. Anthony Laruse and Kristen Baum, the administrator of the Facebook group, helping so many people, all got or are getting their benefits by next week.

ANETTE GUARGLIARDO: You have no idea how grateful I am for all of you, especially you, Nina.

NINA PINEDA: Aw.

ANETTE GUARGLIARDO: Thank you very much for caring and supporting me and everybody else.

STEPHANIE KINLEY: Thank you, 7 On Your Side. Yay!

- Yay.

NINA PINEDA: Some big takeaways. If you haven't received the email to certify, check your spam folder, call DOL's automated line to see if your account has a balance. If there is a balance, certify on your normal day or on a make-up day. If you don't have a balance, there may be a larger problem. You'll have to keep trying to get a rep on the phone, which we know is not easy.