Christie Seeks Tougher Unemployment Benefit Requirements

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Chris Christie wants to require unemployed New Jerseyans to conduct weekly searches on a state-managed job website in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, according to a published report.

    Currently, people seeking those benefits are only required to touch base with state authorities by phone, mail, online or in person. 

    Christie believes that if people are required to search Jobs4Jersey.com on a weekly basis, they'll be more likely to find work faster, which would save the state -- and taxpayers -- money in unemployment checks.

    The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said checking the jobs site weekly is "the very least that a claimant can do," and that if an individual won't even register with Jobs4Jersey, "he or she is not actively seeking work and should not collect benefits," according to NJ.com

    About 150,000 New Jersey residents file unemployment claims each week, according to Bureau of Labor statistics cited by NJ.com. The state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 9.6 percent.

    Opponents of the proposed requirement argue that such a requirement would unfairly impact jobless residents who do not have Internet access in their homes.

    Mercer County Democratic Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, who has fought to make it easier to obtain unemployment benefits, told NJ.com the proposal "would prove very cumbersome for those without access to the Internet, those who may not feel comfortable using technology and those who may have trouble understanding the directions."

    Neither the Christie administration nor the Labor Department would respond to NJ.com's requests for comment.

    A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Friday.

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