New Jersey Unemployment Tips

1. Q: Where do I apply for unemployment?
A: In general, you should apply for unemployment in the same state in which you work. So even if you live in New York, if you work in New Jersey, you should apply in New Jersey.

To create an account to apply for unemployment online go to: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/before/createaccount/index.shtml

  • North New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (201) 601-4100
  • Central New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (732) 761-2020
  • South New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (856) 507-2340
  • Out-of-State Claims: (888) 795-6672 (you must call this number if you call from a phone with an out-of-state area code, even if you live in New Jersey)

During the coronavirus crisis, record numbers of people have applied for unemployment benefits, which has led to a number of technical issues as states try to process a huge increase in weekly claims. We want to know how many of our members who work in New Jersey are having trouble getting their unemployment benefits processed. We will use the information we are getting from our membership to communicate with the state so that they can continue to make improvements. Please come back and fill out this survey to let us know if you were able or not to get through and file your unemployment claim: NJ Unemployment Link and Union Survey.

2. Q: Can I apply for unemployment if I have been temporarily laid-off?
A: Yes, you can and it is crucial that you apply as soon as (but not before) you are laid-off. If you apply before you are laid off (even if you know you will be laid-off), they will very likely reject your application and that will delay when you can start collecting your benefit.

3. Q: Can I apply for unemployment, and how do I know I’m eligible for unemployment in New Jersey?
A: To be eligible, you must meet the following two requirements:

First, your unemployment must not have been due to something that was your fault (like being fired for misconduct on your part). So, in this case, you all meet this requirement, because layoffs are occurring due to Coronavirus, and not something you did wrong.

The second requirement is more complicated and depends on when and how much you worked in New Jersey and what your earnings were. Generally, to qualify for benefits:

  • You need to have worked in jobs covered by unemployment insurance in New Jersey at any point in the past 18 months, and also need to have made a minimum amount of money during either a “basic base year period” or one of two “alternate base year periods”.
  • If you are applying in April, May, or June 2020:
    • Basic base period: During the period from January 1-December 31, 2019, you must have earned at least $10,000 or have made at least $200 per week in 20 or more weeks during that period.
    • Alternate base period #1: During the period from April 1, 2019-March 31, 2020, you must have earned at least $10,000 or have made at least $200 per week in 20 or more weeks during that period.
    • Alternate base period #2: During the period from July 1, 2019 - date of claim in April 2020, you must have earned at least $10,000 or have made at least $200 per week in 20 or more weeks during that period.

4. Q: What information do I need to have when I apply for unemployment?
A: Make sure you have the following information when you apply (either online or over the phone):

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Recall date (if you have one),
  • Complete name and address of each employer that you’ve worked for in the past 18 months (even if the job was outside of New Jersey) .
  • Telephone number of each employer that you’ve worked for in the past 18 months
  • Your occupation with each employer that you’ve worked for in the past 18 months
  • Beginning and ending dates of employment
  • Reason for separation

5. Q: How should I respond if unemployment asks why I’m not working?
A: Since you are being laid off, the correct answer is “lack of work.” If you mistakenly give a different answer, your unemployment benefits may be denied.



6. Q: What if I need a translator’s help to apply for unemployment?


A: Then you should probably apply on the phone, with the help of someone you know who can translate for you. If you are represented by our union and need translation help to apply, we will help you and you should call (212) 245-8100 and press option 1 and leave a message.




7. Q: How frequently will I receive my unemployment benefits?
A: Every week you “certify” to unemployment that you are at least partially unemployed.



8. Q: How much money will I receive in weekly unemployment benefits?
A:
The amount of money you receive in unemployment benefits is based on how much you were earning while you were working. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will calculate your weekly benefit amount.


Before you apply, you can use an online calculator on the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website (https://lwd.state.nj.us/uiapp/Start.html) to get an estimate of how much in benefits you will receive each week.



9. Q: How long can I continue to receive unemployment benefits?
A: Under normal circumstances, assuming you’re eligible, you are entitled to a total of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits over a period of 1 year from the date of your claim. Given the financial hardship that many Americans are facing, on March 27, 2020, the Federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or “CARES Act” which extends unemployment insurance by 13 more weeks through December 31, 2020. This will allow you to collect unemployment benefits for a total of 39 weeks in New Jersey.  

Theoretically, if you are unemployed for 3 weeks and you go back to work for 4 weeks and then you are unemployed again, you would be entitled to another 36 weeks of unemployment benefits on the same unemployment claim. If you have already collected unemployment during the one year time period that will count against the 39 weeks that you’re entitled to.  

If you have filed for unemployment at any point during the last year, your claim should still be valid. You should only need to start certifying for benefits again, you don’t have to file a new claim. 

If you remain unemployed after the expiration of the year, and had sufficient employment over that year, you may qualify to file a new claim.

10. Q: What do I need to do to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits?
A: To continue receiving unemployment, you need to certify for your benefits each week online or by phone by using the account you created when you filed your claim, as well as a PIN that you create when you first certify and your Social Security Number. This is very important. You must “certify” each week (or every 2 weeks if claiming by phone) in order to demonstrate that you are still unemployed. Certifying is essentially claiming your unemployment benefits. If you fail to certify each week, you will not receive benefits for that week.

New Jersey has created a schedule for certifying for unemployment weekly, based on the last 4 digits of your social security number. The windows are limited to 1 hour, 1 day a week. Please check the schedule carefully on the State’s website: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/schedule.shtml

You can certify for your benefits weekly by phone at the numbers listed below, depending on where you live in New Jersey or if you live out of state.

  • North New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (201) 601-4100
  • Central New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (732) 761-2020
  • South New Jersey Reemployment Call Center (856) 507-2340
  • Out-of-State Claims: (888) 795-6672 (you must call this number if you call from a phone with an out-of-state area code, even if you live in New Jersey)

11. Q: What if I get called back to work part-time for some weeks while I’m collecting unemployment?

A: If you are called back to work part-time and you make 20% or less of your weekly benefit amount (for example, you make less than $100 if you receive $500 from unemployment each week), you will not have your benefits reduced. If you make more than 20% of your regular rate, New Jersey calculates a partial weekly benefit rate that is 20% more than your regular rate and reduces your benefit dollar by dollar from there. So for example, if you normally receive $500 a week from unemployment, New Jersey would calculate your partial weekly benefit rate to be $600 ($500 + 20%). If you return to work part-time and make $200 in a week, you will receive $400 in benefits ($200 less than your partial weekly benefit rate of $600).

12. Q: How does the new federal stimulus (the “CARES" Act) affect my unemployment?
A: On March 27, 2020, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or “CARES Act,” that expands who can collect unemployment and increases unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Under the Act:

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) is extended by 13 weeks for a total of 39 weeks in New York and New Jersey, available through December 31, 2020; and
  • Those eligible may receive an additional $600 per week starting the week of April 5, 2020 until July 31, 2020

13. Q: If I work part-time, am I still eligible for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act? 
A: Yes, part-time employees are eligible.

14. Q: What do I have to do to receive these enhanced benefits?
A: If you have already filed and are receiving unemployment, you don’t have to do anything. Your benefits will automatically be extended by 13 weeks for a total of 39 weeks, and you will receive an extra $600 per week via the payment method you have already signed up for (i.e. direct deposit or check).

If you have not filed for unemployment, you must file for unemployment through the the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (See Question 1)

For more information you can visit: https://myunemployment.nj.gov