Search for COVID-19 and Reopening Information Here

How do the federal relief packages help me or my business? How do I get my economic impact payment?

Last Updated: 03/31/2021

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021

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

Benefits to Unemployed Workers:

The American Rescue Plan Act extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA now provides up to 75 weeks of benefits, up until September 4, 2021, to NJ workers who are (1) not eligible for unemployment benefits in any state, including self-employed workers (independent contractors, "gig" workers), (2) otherwise able and available to work except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason, and (3) able to demonstrate labor market attachment, through earnings or an official work offer.

Additionally, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) was extended. PEUC now provides up to 49 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits, for a maximum of 75 weeks. Individuals who exhaust these benefits may be eligible for an additional 20 weeks of state unemployment extended benefits.

Approved claimants must certify for these benefits online each week. The latest certification schedule -- based on Social Security number -- can be found at myunemployment.nj.gov.

The American Rescue Act extended Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through September 4, 2021. Those collecting unemployment insurance or PUA can receive an additional $300 per week from January 2 through September 4, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act also makes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits tax free for households with incomes below $150,000. This is administered by the IRS, there is no need to call the NJ Department of Labor. Learn more at irs.gov.

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 dol.gov and irs.gov

CONTINUED ASSISTANCE FOR UNEMPLOYED WORKERS ACT OF 2020

On December 27, 2020, the federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (CAA) was signed into law. It extended some assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act, PEUC now provides up to 49 weeks of additiona benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment for a maximum of 75 weeks. Individuals who exhaust these benefits may be eligible for an additional 20 weeks of state unemployment extended benefits.

CAA also extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Under PUA, individuals typically not eligible for unemployment compensation, such as independent contractors, self-employed workers, or those with limited employment history, may be able to receive unemployment benefits. Through the American Rescue Plan Act, eligible claimants can now receive up to 75 weeks of unemployment benefits.

CAA provided those collecting unemployment insurance or PUA an additional $300 per week from January 2 through September4, 2021, through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

For more information visit: nj.gov/labor/covidfaq

The law also extended employer tax credits for federal paid sick and childcare leave. 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 dol.gov and irs.gov

2020 CARES ACT

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020 contained provisions that supported individuals and small businesses in a number of ways.

Increased Unemployment Insurance Payments, Duration, and Eligibility

Until July 25, 2020, Unemployment Insurance provided an additional $600 per week, on top of regular and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits (known as "Pandemic Unemployment Compensation"). Benefits were issued for any eligible weeks, April 4, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

The CARES Act created Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) which extended regular unemployment benefits. Through the American Rescue Plan Act, PEUC now provides up to 49 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment for a maximum of 75 weeks. Individuals who exhaust these benefits may be eligible for an additional 20 weeks of state unemployment extended benefits.

In addition, under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, individuals typically not eligible for unemployment compensation, such as independent contractors, self-employed workers, or those with limited employment history, may be able to receive unemployment benefits. Additionally, workers who left their job to provide coronavirus-related care to themselves, their family, or other relatives, may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act, eligible claimants can now receive up to 75 weeks of unemployment benefits.

For more information, visit nj.gov/labor/covidfaq

Direct Payments to Individuals and Households

Economic impact payments have been distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 automatically received an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

Those who met the requirements received a second stimulus check of $600 from the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act, signed into law December 27, 2020. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law March 11, 2021, authorized a third stimulus check of $1,400.

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

Federal Student Loan Forbearance

Student loan payment suspension extended through at least September 30, 2021.

To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, under the CARES ACT, federal student loan borrowers were automatically placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment.

Payments were automatically stopped from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020. These emergency relief measures, which included suspending loan payments, stopping collections on defaulted loans, and waiving interest rates on federal Education Department-held student loans, were extended to September 30, 2021.

To determine if your loans are eligible, contact your loan servicer online or by phone. Your servicer is the entity to which you make your monthly payment. If you do not know who your servicer is or how to contact them, visit StudentAid.gov/login or call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY for the deaf or hearing-impaired 1-800-730-8913) for assistance.

For more information, please refer to this frequently asked questions page from the United States Department of Education.

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: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know; https://blog.ssa.gov/commissioner-of-social-security-shares-update-about-covid-19-economic-impact-payments-for-beneficiaries/; https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments; https://www.nj.gov/labor/lwdhome/press/2020/20200429_puapayments.shtml; https://www.nj.gov/labor/lwdhome/press/2020/20200701_20weekextension.shtml; Executive Order No. 233