TRENTON — State labor officials said Wednesday that some people who are not normally eligible for unemployment will start getting new benefits.

The Department of Labor said self-employed people and independent contractors, as well as people who do not have enough recent earnings to qualify for regular benefits, will begin to receive notification this week about their upcoming payments. The first check for these claimants will be issued May 5.

The money comes from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Those who applied and were denied benefits because of these factors will be notified by the state Labor Department about their new eligibility starting Wednesday. More information is available at

New Jersey and the nation has seen record levels of unemployment in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic shut-down orders that closed non-essential business and kept most people indoors.

In order to be eligible for PUA program, a claimant has to apply for regular unemployment benefits online a be denied.

PUA claims will be backdated to the initial eligibility date, as far back as Feb. 8.

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