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How did the federal relief packages help me or my business?

Last Updated: 02/17/2023


On March 11, 2021, the federal American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. The act extended unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility, provided direct payments to eligible individuals and households, and expanded the federal Child Care Tax Credit.

Benefits to Unemployed Workers:

Federal expanded unemployment insurance benefits expired September 4, 2021 including:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provided unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who are not typically eligible for benefits
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extended unemployment payments to those who already exhausted regular unemployment benefits
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which added a weekly supplemental payment to regular unemployment

If you have a new unemployment claim, and are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, there are no additional unemployment benefits for you at this time.

To see if you are eligible for New Jersey's Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Disability Insurance, Earned Sick Leave, and Family Leave Insurance programs visit

Direct Payments to Individuals and Households

The American Rescue Plan Act authorized a third stimulus check of $1400.

You can check the status of your payment on the IRS's Economic Impact Payment webpage.

NOTE: Governor Murphy has issued Executive Order No. 233 exempting stimulus payments under the American Rescue Plan from garnishment by creditors and debt collectors. In addition, the State has secured the support of dozens of banks and credit unions to protect these payments. Participating institutions have put in place measures to protect access to stimulus funds regardless of whether the consumer's bank account is overdrawn or has a negative balance. This service shall be available for a period of at least 30 days from receipt of funds in the consumer's account. For more information, visit the NJ Division of Banking and Insurance.

Paid Sick and Childcare Leave Tax Credits

The American Rescue Plan Act extended employer tax credits for federal paid sick and childcare leave through September 30, 2021. Employers are not required to provide this leave after December 31, 2020, but may voluntarily do so and receive a tax credit. Learn more at

Note: These tax credits can now be used to take time off related to COVID-19 vaccinations and side effects. Learn more here.

Federal Student Loan Forbearance

For the latest information about the federal student loan payment pause, visit the U.S. Department of Education's frequently asked questions page.

Retirement Accounts

The usual 10% penalty on early distributions of IRA and defined contributions plans (like 401(k) plans) has been waived for coronavirus-eligible distributions up to $100,000.

Source:;;;;;; Executive Order No. 233