(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, Troy Singleton, Annette Quijano and Connie Wagner sponsored to ensure ex-service members fully receive their unemployment benefit received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor's desk.
The bill (A-2993) would provide supplemental unemployment benefits to ex-service members in an amount such that the total benefits they receive between their federally-funded benefits for ex-service members and the supplemental benefits under this bill equals 26 times their weekly benefit amount. The supplemental benefits under the bill will not be paid until the federal benefits are exhausted and will not be charged against any employer.
This bill would become effective immediately.
"A service member may be honorably discharged before completion of their required service, whether for medical reasons, a family emergency, or other uncontrollable circumstance," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "In the event of an early honorable discharge, the ex-service member may not qualify for the full 26 weeks of their federally-funded unemployment benefits. This legislation would ensure that they would receive their full 26 weeks of eligibility, it's unquestionably the right thing to do."
"Our service members sacrifice a lot for our nation," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This bill ensures that even in the event of unforeseen but honorable circumstances, we ensure we treat those who defend our freedom the right way."
"These brave men and women protect our freedom, and we should always strive to protect their wellbeing," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This bill is the least we can do for our heroes who through no fault of their own must leave the service."
"A service member who leaves through an honorable discharge to deal with medical or family concerns should not be punished," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "We need to do the right thing and ensure the sacrifices they made for us do not go unnoticed in their time of need."
"Quite simply, this bill is common sense," said Quijano (D-Union). "If a service member is honorably discharged, they should not be penalized. It's that simple. With this bill, we're doing what's best for our heroes and making sure they are not punished due to unforeseen circumstances."
"We can never forget the bravery of these men and women, so let's make sure we don't forget them when they need our help," said Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Let's make sure none of these honorable ex-service members fall between the cracks."
The bill was approved 38-0 by the Senate Thursday and 78-0 by the Assembly on Monday.