Rep. Chris Smith says he is again able to help with unemployment claims after the state dropped a new protocol that limited the number of claims that could be filed by a third party. But another legislator, meanwhile, is still having trouble.

The Department of Labor had told lawmakers in Washington and Trenton to each pick 50 cases for unemployment officials to address and then they would be limited to 25 claims every two weeks. Smith says he helped 800 constituents in 2020.

The Republican told the Asbury Park Press that the limit was eliminated and that three staff members from his office would be allowed to file claims on behalf of constituents. According to Smith, he was told that the Department of Labor would accept all cases.

But state Sen. Serena DiMaso, R-Monmouth, told New Jersey 101.5 that her staff is having trouble logging into the new case management system and that the Department of Labor still will not look at all the claims submitted.

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She said that every legislative office was asked to send just 50 claims for a two-week period so they could catch and transition to the new system.

"We sent over 104 because we couldn't narrow it down by more. They've only replied to or done anything with 35 of them," DiMaso said.

Going forward, DiMaso said that her office can send over as many claims as they want but the Department of Labor will reply to no more than  50 every two weeks.

"They took back their limit on how much you could send them but they're only answering 25 per week," DiMaso said.

Her office has 1,600 claims because the password and username sent to her staff doesn't work and the Department of Labor has not been able to resolve the problem.

"The majority of these are easy fixes. They hit the back button, they typed in the wrong letter, they did something that's an easy fix. Unfortunately, our hands are tied with this new case maintenance program they put in," DiMaso said.

Smith's office and a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor did not return messages from New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday afternoon.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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