For the better part of two-and-half-hours today, the State Senate Labor Committee focused on unemployment benefits as members heard from officials with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The question of when federal emergency benefits will come to an end and how many New Jerseyans would be affected was one topic of discussion.

“The emergency unemployment compensation will be ending,” explains James Fink, the Department’s director of Unemployment Insurance. “The last payment will be 12/29 of 2012 and that’s a hard ending date. If anybody were to claim benefits after December 29 they would not be eligible for any emergency unemployment compensation.”

This is a situation that really needs to be addressed in Washington, D.C. Fink says, “Every person will end 12/29/21012 unless there’s new legislation that is passed federally.”

NJ Labor Department records indicate as many as 100,000 New Jerseyans could be impacted.

The Senate Labor panel also approved a bill designed to make the state pay if it takes too long to rule on unemployment insurance appeals. Some lawmakers say it can take up to six months for appeals to be heard.