SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The wait seems never ending for many unemployed residents in New Jersey.

Hundreds of thousands of people still have not received their benefits and some of them filed nearly two months ago, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported Monday.

Behind every closed sign still lining our streets is someone’s family member, neighbor or a tax payer still out of work.

“You know, I trusted the whole process, and then it wound up not working out for me,” said Sarah Cuttone of Springfield.

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Cuttone applied for unemployment benefits on March 17, the same day the Millburn clothing store she manages closed. She is still waiting for a check from the state.

“Recently, I’ve been calling as soon as I wake up in the morning. I’ve emailed four or five different people. Most emails you get back are generic,” Cuttone said.


Unemployment claims in New Jersey recently soared past the 1 million mark. The state has made payments to about 700,000 people, leaving 300,000 yet to get a single penny during the pandemic. On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy touched on unemployment concerns, urging Congress to pass a bill that would give billions to state and local governments to keep paying for essential services.

“The men and women of the Department of Labor who are working through hundreds of thousands of unemployment applications to deliver every penny to the residents who need it most,” Murphy said.

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The governor has repeatedly asked those waiting for their benefits to be patient. But as Layton pointed out to the governor’s office on Monday, patience doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the the table.

The response in part: “The Department of Labor is receiving thousands of new unemployment claims per day. We are serving the majority of claimants and getting to those issues as soon as possible.”

That’s not soon enough for Cuttone, who has had to depend on personal loans from family and friends to get by.

“It’s a very frustrating process, especially when you’ve worked your whole life and then when you need something that you’ve paid into, you can’t get it,” Cuttone said.

It may very well be that she’s back to work before the state gets its act together.


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