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Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
$696
Max. Weeks of Benefits
26
Current Jobless Rate
3.2%
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
$696
Max Weeks of benefits
26
Current Jobless rate
3.2%

Updated : March 19th, 2020

New Jersey Unemployment Benefits

The unemployment insurance program in NJ is designed to provide financial support to those who lose jobs for no fault of their own. The state’s UI benefits activities are handled by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). The funds for UI benefits are collected in the form of payroll taxes from employers and workers.

The unemployment benefits will partially compensate your wages with an intention to help you with your financial responsibilities while looking for employment opportunities. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must meet the required eligibility criteria as set by the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law.

Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in New Jersey (NJ)

The DLWD has established the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits. The first step to applying for unemployment benefits is to know the eligibility criteria for UI benefits. Lack of information or misinformation regarding the eligibility will lead to cancelations of UI benefits.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits in NJ depends on two factors- monetary eligibility and reason for separating from the previous organization. Please note that you must adhere to the rules and regulations of the DLWD throughout. Even after qualifying for benefits. If at all, you do not maintain your eligibility, you will end up losing your eligibility for unemployment.

Monetary Eligibility

To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have earned a minimum prescribed wage during the base period. A base period is a duration of one year in which the applicants have worked and have earned wages. Monetary eligibility in NJ is based on the wages earned by the applicants during the base period.

The state uses two methods to calculate the wages earned in the base period- regular base period and alternative base period.

Regular Base Period

To calculate the wages of the applicants, the DLWD will first use the regular base period method. It is the first four of the last five calendar quarters. The wages earned during this period will be used to examine if the applicant is eligible or not.

For instance, if you file your initial claim in April 2019, your base period will start from January 2018 and last till the end of December 2018.

To gain monetary eligibility, applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • During the base period, the applicant must have earned $172 per week for 20 or more weeks in covered employment during the base period or
  • The applicant must have earned an overall wage of at least $8,600 in covered employment

The wages earned by the applicant during the base period will determine the weekly benefits amount he/she may receive.

Alternative Base Periods

If in the event, you don’t qualify for UI benefits through the regular base period calculation, you will automatically be considered for alternative base period calculations. The state of New Jersey is perhaps one of the few states to have two alternative methods instead of one. 

The first alternative base period method includes wages earned in the last four completed calendar quarters before the date of your claim. The second alternative base period calculation considers the last three quarters before the date of the claim along with the weeks in the current filing quarters up to your first date of claim.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

The reason for separating from your previous organization will play a major role in determining your eligibility factor for UI benefits. As per the DLWD, only people who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

If your reason for leaving the previous organization is not due to the lack of/shortage of work, a claims examiner will set up a fact-finding interview by either phone or email to find out if you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must satisfy the below conditions:

  • You must not have lost your job due to your fault.
  • You must not have quit the job voluntarily, without any work-related reasons.
  • You were not fired from your previous organization due to misconduct.
  • You were not involved in any illegal or unethical activities in your previous organization.

The claims examiner will contact your employer to verify your claims. If the reason given by you doesn’t match with that of your employer, you may cease to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

    Eligibility Calculator

    Eligibility requirements – overview

    Maintaining Eligibility

    There are some additional eligibility criteria that must be fulfilled by the applicants once they start receiving UI benefits. Claimants must maintain their eligibility throughout their benefits period to receive benefits without any stoppages.

    In order to receive benefits every week without any stoppage, you must fulfill the following requirements:

    • Applicants must be mentally and physically able to work throughout the base period
    • Applicants should actively be seeking new employment opportunities. They are expected to submit a job search report every week, detailing about all the employers they met in the week seeking for a job
    • Applicants are expected to be available for work at all times during the benefits period
    • Applicants must not reject any suitable job offers made during the benefits period
    • Applicants must keep up with all the appointments with the DLWD. Missing ay appointments might lead to the stoppage of weekly benefits

    To summarize, applicants must be on a look-out for a new job opportunity and must accept a suitable offer made to them. They must also fulfill all the meetings, interviews, or training obligations with the DLWD. If any of these are not fulfilled by the applicants, the DLWD may stop their weekly benefits.

    Find out on job search requirements

    How to Apply For UI Benefits in New Jersey?

    To apply for UI benefits in NJ, applicants must carry the following documents:

     

    You can apply for benefits through an online portal or by placing a telephone call to DLWD.

    Online

    Submitting applications through the online portal is one of the most convenient options for applicants in NJ. Follow the steps given below to know how to apply online:

    • Create an account in the DLWD online portal page and complete your account registration
    • Once you complete setting up your account and log in to your account, you will have access to the ‘Unemployment Insurance Dashboard’. The dashboard will assist you in submitting a new application or to submit your weekly application

    Telephone

    To submit your applications through a phone call, you could call the following numbers:

    • North New Jersey:  201-601-4100
    • Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020
    • South New Jersey:  856-507-2340
    • Out-of-state claims: 888-795-6672 (you must call from a phone with out-of-state area code)
    • New Jersey Relay: 711

    How to File Weekly Claims

    You will file your first claim on a Sunday, and the first time you claim benefits will be on a Wednesday,  which will be 17 days after your date of claim.

    You must follow the below-mentioned steps to file your weekly benefits:

    • Log into your account
    • You must certify for benefits, wherein you will submit your weekly job search report and other documents that would attest your qualification for the benefits
    • You are required to create a PIN if you are certifying for benefits for the first time
    • Receive an email confirmation of filing a claim in the given week

    Learn how to claim weekly benefits

    UI Benefits Amount

    Benefits Calculator

    Use the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator to find out the approximate UI Benefits amount that you may receive in the state of New Jersey.


    State Name: New Jersey
    Number of Dependants:


    $0
    $25000
    $0
    $25000
    $0
    $25000
    $0
    $25000
    Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

    Know more about the Benefits Calculator

    Things to Know After Filing An Application

    Applicants must be aware of certain important information such as overpayments and fraud to make sure that there are no hindrances in the benefits period. Also, having sufficient information about training programs will help applicants in improving their competence in the job market.

    Overpayments and Fraud

    As per the DLWD, the overpayment occurs when you receive UI benefits to which you were entitled. In such a scenario, you are expected to return the excessive amount you received back to the DLWD.

    The department will send you a notice as soon as they identify an overpayment. The notice will contain the reason why the DLWD considers any payment made as an overpayment. It will also mention the total amount that is considered an overpayment, and about your right to appeal against the decision of the department if you do not agree with the decision. 

    If the overpayment is justified by the court, you are expected to make the payment to DLWD. To make the payment, you can use the ‘E-Payment Service for Benefit Overpayment’ website launched by the DLWD.

    To use this e-payment service, you will need the following documents:

    • Claimant ID number
    • Your social security number
    • A valid credit card or a bank account

    If you have a balance that is yet to be paid, it may be submitted to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The unpaid debt records of the claimants are submitted to the IRS to collect any federal payments to offset the outstanding debts. This method will only be employed if all other attempts failed and that the DLWD is left with no other option to recover the outstanding debt.

    In the event, if any applicant received overpayments by wilfully withholding important information, or by lying, forging or manipulating important information, it will be considered as fraud. The DLWD takes matters of fraud very seriously and if proven guilty of fraud, the applicant will be made to face grave consequences.

    To identify fraud, the DLWD conducts a random audit to investigate your payroll records, eligibility status, job-search reports, etc., among other details. You may also be called for an interview if your case gets picked for a spot check.

    Note that the DLWD will consider that you are committing fraud if you indulge the following activities:

    • You knowingly fail to report all your earnings or you report false data with the hope of receiving more UI benefits
    • You fail to provide the correct reason for your unemployment
    • You submit fake documents to the DLWD 
    • You fail to report to DLWD that you have returned to work
    • Someone else other than yourself certifies for UI benefits on your behalf, with your approval
    • You take up somebody else’s identity to file for UI benefits
    • You hide/lie about any facts that would make you ineligible for unemployment benefits in New Jersey

    If it is found that you are indulging in fraudulent activities, the consequences you face will be as follows:

    • You will face criminal prosecution and imprisonment
    • You will have to pay fines and penalties
    • Your state or federal income tax refunds may be submitted to satisfy the money you owe to DLWD
    • You could be denied unemployment benefits in the future

    Benefits Extension

    The federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is not available in the state of New Jersey as of 2019. Contact your local unemployment office to find out about the reemployment programs offered in NJ before you complete your benefits period.

    Job Training Assistance

    The state of New Jersey provides ample opportunities for job seekers to improve their skills or to learn a new one to improve their competency in the job market. The state offers various training programs in this respect and some of the most sought-after training programs in the state are:

    Trade Adjudgement Assistance (TAA): This is a federal program that is intended to help those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade. People who have lost jobs due to any reason that is related to international trade. The TAA program is designed to give an opportunity to these workers to acquire the skills and support required to become reemployed.

    Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA): The WIOA program along with the New Jersey Opportunity Partnership Program offers to cover the cost of training for job-seekers. Both programs offer to cover a part of all the training cost, provided if the training takes place in New Jersey.

    Workforce Development Partnership (WDP): Under this program, qualified unemployed job-seekers may get an extra 26 weeks of benefits to complete approved training programs that extend beyond the regular unemployment period. Job-seekers are required to get approval from an employment counselor to enroll for WDP.

    The interested individuals must inform DWLD that they are interested in training within 60 days of the last day worked, 30 days from the time the DWLD informs of the ABT program, or 30 days from the time the job-seekers and their counselors make an employability plan, whichever date is last. 

    Self-enrolled training: In order to be able to collect benefits while attending a training program, you must make sure that the training program is approved by the DLWD. 

    The DLWD will approve the training program that you want to self-enroll to if the following conditions are met:

    • The training must be for ‘labor demand occupation’ which will enhance your skills and the chances of earning a better wage
    • The training could be either vocational or remedial or a combination of both
    • The training program must be full-time. If a part-time program is chosen, the applicants must be available and be actively seeking for work
    • The training center must meet all the state and local requirements 

    Note that the approved training cannot be on-the-job training or any other training program provided by an employer where you are also paid wages.

    Know more about job training opportunities in New Jersey

    NJ Office Locations and Phone Numbers

    If you wish to resolve any of your issues relating to UI benefits through a telephone call, find the contact details of the various departments below:

    CA Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

    Reemployment Call Center: North New Jersey201-601-4100
    Reemployment Call Center: Central New Jersey732-761-2020
    Reemployment Call Center: South New Jersey856-507-2340
    Reemployment Call Center: Out-of-state claims888-795-6672
    Appeals (Fax)609-292-2438
    Report fraud (Fax)609-292-5593
    Report fraud (Phone)609-777-4304
    Treasury Offset Program609-659-4050
    You can also pay a visit to the one-stop career centers in New Jersey to know more about the services offered by DLWD.

    Locate your nearest unemployment office



    Frequently Asked Question

    Q. Will I lose my eligibility if I do not take a job offer that is not suitable to me?
    Ans. You must accept a job offer that is suitable for you. In the event, you end up refusing a suitable job offer, Because people's experience and circumstances are different, the definition of a "suitable job" varies. It depends on your skills, place of residence, and your past salary. While you are unemployed, you will look for a job similar to your last job in terms of commute, job duties, and salary. The longer you stay unemployed, the more flexible you'll have to be in terms of accepting a new job. For example, you may have to travel a greater distance, accept a different type of job, or start at a lower salary.
    Q. Will I be eligible for Unemployment Benefits if I lost my job due to a labor dispute?

    Ans. If your unemployment is due to a labor dispute (strike or lockout) at your employer's premises that resulted in a work stoppage, you may be disqualified for benefits.

    If it appears you are participating in a labor dispute, you must continue to claim your benefits by phone or on the Internet while we determine your eligibility. The decision is made by the labor dispute officer in the Division of Unemployment Insurance after your employer and union give us the required information.

    Q. Is a claimant eligible to receive unemployment benefits when he/she receives training or attends school?
    Claimants are eligible to receive unemployment benefits when they are receiving training. The claimant needs to get approval from the department of labor and workforce to receive unemployment benefits. Students are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The only way for a student to be eligible to receive UI is to establish 20 or more base weeks of employment. Or meet the alternative earning test during the student’s academic years in the base year.
    Q. What happens if I’m offered a job but don’t think it’s the right fit for me?
    Ans.If a suitable job is offered you should accept it. Failing to accept the job may deny your benefits for the week for which you did not accept the job and also the next three weeks. The definition of a suitable job may be different for each person. Everything depends on your past salary, where you live and your skillset. The time you remain unemployed you must look for a job similar to your last job in terms of job duties, commute, and salary.
    If you remain unemployed for a longer period of time the more adaptable you’ll have to be when it comes to accepting a new job. E.g you may have to accept a job which is further from your home with a much lower salary.
    Q. What happens if I Can’t start a new Job Immediately?
    Ans. When unemployed you must be available for work and be able to join the new company at any given point in time. You should have access to transport which will help you get the job immediately. Individuals must have no particular reasons stopping you from getting the job. If you are traveling for a week or more or you’re on vacation you will not be able to receive unemployment benefits for that given point of time.
    Q. What happens when you're claiming unemployment benefits and you return to work full time?
    Ans. Once you return to a full-time job while you are claiming unemployment benefits, you should notify the DLWD. You will be asked to answer a specific set of questions which are as follows:
    • The exact date which you returned to work
    • Gross wages you earned
    • Number of hours you worked
    • Your employers' name, address and phone number
    Q. What happens if I hold an H-1B visa but recently lost my job. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
    All H-1B visa holders are legally allowed to work in the United States for one specified employer. If you are separated from that employer permanently and your status which is alien has not changed you are not allowed to legally work for any other employer, which means you are ineligible for unemployment benefits. The only way you can be eligible for benefits is if you are on a temporary layoff from your current employer with a definitive day for you to return to work.
    Q. What if I don't have a job due to a strike or labor dispute. Can I claim unemployment benefits?
    If you are unemployed due to a strike or a labor dispute at the premise of your employer which in turn resulted in a stoppage of work you can be disqualified and will not receive unemployment benefits.If it seems like you are participating in a labor dispute, you should continue to claim your benefits while the DLWD determines your eligibility. The final decision is in the hands of the DLWD once your employer and union give us the necessary information.
    Q. Do I wait until my severance pay ends to file my claim?
    It’s important to file your claim as soon as you stop working. Even if you are getting severance pay. Severance pay includes any payment that does not extend employment based on the number of years you have served your employer.When you file your claim via the phone, the agent reviews all separation payments with you. When you file your claim online, and if it seems your payment may affect your UI benefits, the department will conduct an important fact-finding interview.

    Questions & Answers

      1. Peter,

        As much as I am aware, there is no extension available. Please call the Unemployment Office to know if they can offer you additional monetary benefits.

          1. Peter,

            It’s always up to 26 weeks of regular UI benefits. The number of weeks a claimant is eligible for depends on multiple factors.

      1. Richard,

        You need to ask for a 1099-G in this regard. Please visit the website of the office (the form should be available for download on the homepage) or call the Claims Center for an update.

        1. I am possible moving back up to NJ from another state. I had lived in NJ for 20+ years before I loved away. As I will not be able to apply for a job until I officially move back to NJ, would I qualify for unemployment until I obtain full time employment?

          1. Karen,

            If you were separated from your previous employment due to involuntary reasons, you should be able to claim UI benefits.

        2. Hi, so I recently got laid off due to a reorg. I’m waiting for my severance check to arrive. Can I file a claim for unemployment now or do I have to wait until I receive my severance check before I apply for unemployment. I live in New Jersey. The severance check will be a lump sum of 24 weeks

          1. James,

            You should be able to apply for UI benefits right away. Make sure to declare the severance lump sum at the time of application.

          2. Thank you Sam for your reply. You said to apply now, but I don’t know the amount of my severance until I receive it. That could be in a month and you said to declare the severance lump sum at the time of application

    1. If while collecting unemployment I have to have surgery after two weeks, is there a waiting period changing over to disability?

    2. I found out today that I’m eligible to receive a Max claim in NJ. If I was to open a claim today (1 / 2 / 2019) will it be opened with NJ new 2019 Max benefit amount or that of 2018?

      1. I receive a W2 but I am only commissioned base ….technically self employed through the mortgage industry….and my paystubs show commissioned based.
        It’s been very slow for me in the past 6 months…and haven’t earned much money at all….to sustain myself.
        Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits…?
        jacki

        1. Jacki,

          Potential claimants on “Commission” basis do not generally qualify since employers don’t remit Unemployment Taxes. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

      2. it is also distasteful for you to have advertisement’s on this site. we are hurt enough because we can not afford housing. we have to use the services of food banks to eat. than when we become homeless you look down on us.

      1. Cheryl,

        I am not sure of the exact turnaround time. Please contact the adjudicator or your contact to understand more. Alternatively, the details of the process should also be available on the department’s website.

    3. I worked for a small company for 8 years and was fired due to my performance never had a verbal warning, written warning and final warning, I came in never late and never called out. I have a claims examiner interview next week for misconduct. I don’t know why it is called misconduct. never had anything on my file that was negative I also had a bonus in December.
      I think they fired me because I know a lot of the company doing unethical doing. Can I tell this to the claim examiner?

    4. My job is terminating my position, can I collect unemployment and social security too? I have the age for SS.

    5. My husband lost his job, but has salary continuation rather than a lump sum severence. He is not working them during this time. Is he eligible to collect?
      Thanks.

    6. Had a disagreement with another employee. Was after hours. Was pulled into office and told to resign or be fired, I was not given the ability to tell my side of story. I had a witness but was told they didn’t want to involve others. So they fired me. I applied for benefits, had my call now I wait. I don’t think my firing was misconduct. What do you think?

      1. Mary,

        If you think it was not your fault, I suggest you keep supporting documents/facts/ ready to prove yourself in case it becomes an official dispute.

    7. i am a bus driver but only started driving again due to medical problem
      but i did other work i was able to do. How can i find out how much did i earn in the base period it has to be $3360

      1. Philippa,

        Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website to estimate benefits. The actual determination by the Unemployment Office will be done considering multiple factors.

      1. Ronald,

        You can be eligible as long as you continue seeking work. Please consider applying and declare your SS benefits at the time of application.

    8. I own a store in nj. I am a c-corp and i own 100% of the shares. My spouse was an employee of my company and paid as such. I lost my lease and I am in the process of closing down my corporation. Can my spouse file for unemployment benefits as she is not a corporate officer and owns no equity stake or shares in the company.

    9. I went on an interview on Friday, 9/22, I was told that they would make a decision by the end of day or by Monday, 9/25, the latest. I informed them that that I would be away on Monday, 9/25, that I had prepaid timeshare in Aruba for the week of 9/25. I claimed my week for unemployment on Sunday, 9/24 and Sunday, 10/1. I had my friend go to my house and check my answering machine everyday that I was gone. She had told me that they had called and wanted to speak to me. I called them everyday, Monday, 9/25 through Friday, 9/29 and left several messages to call me on my cell or via email. I received no response. I tried again on Monday, October 2 and received a job offer to start on Tuesday, October 17th. I also returned another staffing company’s call while in Aruba. I was asked if I was interested in a position and replied yes. So the recruiter put me in for that as well. I was denied my weekly claim benefit for the week of 9/25-9/29, because I am told by the claim reviewer that I filed on the internet while in Aruba and that I am not permitted to take a vacation. I do not think that this is fair being that I was actively seeking employment even while out of the country. I can prove this with my phone records if needed. Please understand that I have spent at a minimum of 2hrs daily applying for medical coding jobs, taking assessments since the time that I had been laid off. I live from paycheck to paycheck and feel that I shouldn’t have been penalized for taking a prepaid timeshare week. Please advise.

      1. Michele,

        I can understand your situation and I am sure you’re being pro-active in this regard. I suggest that you call the Claims Center and speak to a supervisor. If they still continue to deny, you can file an “Appeal” and present documents supporting your stance.

    10. My husband was fired due to misconduct, yet is he able to collect after a 6 week waiting period as he has been out of work for 4 months since losing his job.

      1. Your husband may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

        Please call the Unemployment Office for details.

    11. In July of 2014 i was let go from I held a job for 17 years do to reorganization. I collected UE until Jan 2015. I have held a part time job since Oct 2015 and just learned that the org is going out of business and we are all going to be let go, but all of us are eligible for UE. Will my benefit be based on only the PT job or the FT job as II have been paying into the system for over 20 years?

    12. My job was eliminated. While I am searching for a new position, I have taken a seasonal job for 8-10 hours per week. Every time I file, I list the last day worked and the hours, but if I try to submit a new claim I am unable to. I believe the way the questions are worded it looks like I have resumed a new job. I have been trying to fix this, but I am unable to reopen the case for more than a week before same thing happens. I have spent hours trying to reach someone on the phone, but have been unsuccessful. Any suggestions?

      1. Camille,

        Unfortunately, we do not have access to the claims system to help you in this regard. Please look up on the Unemployment Office website for FAQs and guides in this regard.

    13. My position was cut. I was offered a new position with hours I cannot work being a single mom. Can I collect if I don’t not take this position.

      1. Susan,

        You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    14. I am eligible for unemployment benefits from a previous full time job. I also work a part time job which as increased my hours to the point that I cannot get the unemployment benefits. (e.g. My benefit is $336 weekly and I am averaging about $350 gross with the “part time job”.) I don’t want to work 35 hours at this job ($10/hr x 35 hours= $350) anymore. Can I leave this part time job and collect benefits as this job is not the one I was released from originally? Thank You!

    15. I AM WORKING FOR MORE THAN 10 YRS IN A COMPANY 08/08 MY EMPLOYER FOR SOME REASON NOT RELATED TO MY DEPTT THREATEN THAT I WILL PUT YOU OFF THE JOB NOW I FEAR HE WILL CREAT CONDITIONS SO THAT I HAVE TO QUIT AND DO NOT GET UNEMPLOYMENT PLS ADVISE ME IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR UNWMPLOYMENT

      1. Rajinder,

        If you’re able to prove with documentation, you can be eligible. Your employer may raise a dispute after you apply. Make sure to keep supporting documents handy.

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