New Jersey Unemployment Eligibility

New Jersey’s unemployment compensation law sets the requirements that must be met to obtain unemployment compensation in the state.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • You must have lost job through no fault of your own.
  • Be available for work
  • Be actively seeking work
  • You must quit your job for good cause
  • Your must not be fired for misconduct

Monetary Eligibility

To be monetarily eligible for unemployment benefits,

  • You must have worked at least 20 base weeks in covered employment
  • Must have earned $8,500 in your base year
  • You must earn a minimum dollar figure ($169) for each week worked during a 52 week period called a base year

There are alternate plans that may come into effect if you did not meet this 20-week requirement. The unemployment department will consider the previous 18 months and make a determination about eligibility.

There are alternate plans that may come into effect if you did not meet this 20-week requirement. The unemployment department will consider the previous 18 months and make a determination about eligibility

Eligibility Questions

Can I receive unemployment if I am fired?

Benefits in New Jersey are not obtainable to people who were fired for misconduct or performance related issues. People who were fired for reasons mot related to their performance, however are eligible for benefits. So, for example, if an individual was fired because the company for which he worked chose to cut back and restructure, then he is possibly eligible. However, if he was fired for carelessness, he is not qualified.

Can I Get Unemployment If I Quit My Job?

You might be able to receive unemployment if you quit a job in New Jersey, but it depends in documentation and circumstances. New Jersey considers the reason why you are out of work and the basic law is that is must be for a cause that is not your fault. If you leave willingly, it’s not easy to qualify.

New Jersey does recognize a few special cases, such as

  • Domestic violence
  • Leaving job to join a military spouse assigned to a new location
  • Quitting job for  “good cause”

The ruling also says New Jersey law clearly intends to keep out claimants who leave a job for personal reasons.

Can I obtain unemployment benefits if I am laid-off?

Usually, in New Jersey you have to lose your job through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are eligible should apply immediately to apply for unemployment benefits.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. Getting laid-off means that the company that you worked for did not have enough work for you to do, and could no longer pay for your job.

  1. I have been working at the same job for over two years and I was told after January first I would receive a 40% pay cut because my company felt that I am getting paid over the average. I have been trying to stick it out and be a good employee but I feel like after this I have been coming to a hostile work environment every day. With both reasons combined if I quit will I be eligible to collect unemployment?

    • You can be eligible to quit under such circumstances and draw UI benefits until you find another job.

      I suggest you call the local Unemployment Office to confirm before deciding to quit.

  2. I worked for my company full time (salaried) since May 2003. As of the end of April they will no longer pay me as full time salaried employee BUT will pay me an hourly wage IF there is work for me to perform. Am I eligible to collect unemployment to cover the amount that I would have earned if I remained full time?

  3. I am currently a medical receptionist for a family practice. The practice is being sold to the hospital and I was told last week that they will be downsizing and will have to let me go because I have least seniority. They advised that my last day will be 3/31/17. My question is that if I leave before this date, will I still be eligible for benefits?

    • If you leave before being laid off, you may not qualify.

      Please wait if you do not have compelling reasons to move out sooner.

  4. I worked in NJ, live in PA. I was laid off in January and will receive a severance package, paid biweekly for six months, along with unused vacation pay, paid out immediately. Am I eligible to receive unemployment at the same time I am receiving this severance package? The company has indicated they will not contest any unemployment claims.

  5. I lost my job in NJ after two months of work, this past November/December (2016). My income was over $8400 so I meet the income qualifications. I filed and received a letter that my claim was denied because the base year is 10/1/15-9/30/16. (My employment was from 11/1/16-12/28/16)

    Did I apply too early?

  6. We have a relatively new employee who just entered the US workforce 18 weeks ago when she started working with us. She just informed us that she has an old injury that makes it too difficult to continue to perform her job and unless we can provide a different role (which we don’t have), she intends to leave in 4 weeks (after working 22 base weeks). We know someone who would like to have her soon-to-be vacated role and would like to hire the new person. If we hire her replacement now and terminate her at 18 weeks vs letting her work for 22 weeks that she wants, will she be eligible for benefits?

  7. I had back surgery a couple years ago. I was diagnosed and failed back surgery syndrome and my back is in really bad shape. My job requires me to drive a lot. I cannot handle it anymore. If I was to quit my job due to medical reasons and have documentation of my injuries would I qualify for unemployment? of course I would try to be still looking for a job that I can manage with my back while I’m collecting unemployment. Thank you for your time.

    • The system does not consider personal reasons such as health issues. Having said this, there can be exception like yours.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information and decide accordingly.

  8. I quit my job in NJ two weeks ago due to relocating to another state (Maryland). Will I be eligible for unemployment until I find a job?

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

  9. I had my own company, an LLC, from which I drew my last paycheck about 3 years ago. I never filed for unemployment and given the time that has lapsed can I still file?

  10. I have been a resident of NJ since November, 2014. I continued to work from home for my employer, who is located in Harrisburg, PA, as an independent contractor. My contract was cancelled as of March 31st, 2016. I applied for and received PA unemployment insurance until Sept. 3, 2016. Am I eligible for NJ unemployment insurance? Thanks in advance.

    • Well, you will only be eligible to apply and claim Unemployment Compensation from one state.

      UI benefits are not revolving in nature. They are only provided one time.

  11. I worked in PA and got let go for punctuality and I currently lived in NJ. My first question is if I qualify for unemployment since I was let go. Second, is if I work in PA do I file with PA or file with NJ?

    Thank you

    • Voluntary reasons for separation from the job may stop you from qualifying for UI benefits.

      One must file from the state where the employment was based.

  12. My husband is starting a job in VA. We currently live in NJ. His job is the better one because it has benefits and mine doe not. We worked out the current financial status and it would not be enough to support us both living in two different states until I could find a job down there. If I were to quit my job and relocate with him, would I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

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

  13. My NJ Unemployment benefits are due to be exhausted in about 2 weeks. I have been applying for numerous jobs and have been on a several interviews with no success. Is there an extension available at all?

  14. My NJ state unemployment benefits were recently exhausted and I have heard that an extension is/was available. Can anyone verify if this is in fact true? If so, can someone direct me as to how I could go about filing for this extension? I’ve done a ton of reading and I cannot seem to find any particular place to file for said extension leaving me to believe that this may not be an option. Please help!

    • The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  15. I am currently on NJ Unemployment. I just officially formed a company in order to purchase a professional services company. I will not be performing or selling any services until the purchase is completed (likely in June). Can I continue to collect while there is no income? Thanks.

    • Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state.

      Partial Unemployment is extended to people when there is reduction in the standard hours worked.

  16. I quit my job in Feb. 16, due to another opportunity. After starting the job, spending over $500 in classes, etc, and starting the job, it was not what the company had portrayed to me and others so i left. They made it seem as though i would have a base pay. Can i receive unemployment? The job i left in Feb. was a job that i have had since nov. 12. I’m currently seeking employment but i have not found anything yet. I’m willing and able to work. Please let me know.

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

      Leaving voluntarily may go against you. Please check further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  17. I have a unique situation. I was hired in position where I was only required to travel 5%of the time. Since I accepted the position, I have been moved to another department because of being short staffed. I am now traveling 50% of the time. I am away at least 10 to 15 days a month. I have talked to my supervisor and was told it is “other duties as assigned”. I gave my notice since I cannot travel this much. I am a single mother with health issues. I was told that I was being move permanently and my original job is being posted. Will I be able to collect unemployment?

    • If you leave voluntarily, you may not be eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state.

    • Please consider applying after the expiry of severance pay if you’re actively looking for employment.

  18. I was recently laid off due to a reorganization. I am applying to receive UI benefits now. My question is – I have a few network marketing businesses. I don’t generally earn a lot from them – certainly less than my bi-weekly benefit will be. Last year in total I earned $3000 between the 2 and I received 1099s. If I report these earnings, do I run the risk of losing my unemployment? If I don’t report them, then I could get in trouble if I do earn enough for another 1099 at the end of the year, correct? I was going to focus on growing these businesses now to bring in extra money, but I don’t want to put my benefits in jeopardy because the money I will be making won’t be consistent. I read somewhere that if I earn too much one week and don’t receive benefits, the company could deny the claim going forward.

    • Please report the income. I don’t think it will have a grave impact on your application. You will still be eligible.

  19. Hello, I was given notice this morning that I have been terminated because I haven’t successfully completed my probation because I failed to meet deadlines on several occasions. I have also bad attendance record so I have had unpaid time off. I am a single mom and have 3 kids. I am also on medication for anxiety attacks and depression. I have always been employed continuously, even before I took this job. Will I still be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits? Thank you for your help.

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

  20. if i work in 2 part time positions and one of my employers decreases my hours significantly and the other no longer gives me any hours do i qualify for unemployment benefits?

    • Part time jobs do not generally qualify.

      Please contact the labor authorities in your state for precise information.

  21. I am currently a full time employee for a company and have been paying UI since I started working. I also have a side business as a sole proprietorship which has not be profitable. If I get laid off from my full time employee can i still collect unemployment ?

  22. I work for Robert Half and am in a temp to perm position at a client company. Now, I learn that the company I am placed at is relocating. Am I eligible for Unemployment? I worked the required number of periods but am being paid as a 1099.

  23. I have worked for the same company for 6 1/2 years. I was promoted to another office as the manager 2 years ago. While at my new office I had a team member that was completely insubordinate and unwilling to complete the duties required of his position. I had contacted my superior in addition to HR regarding this individual on several occasions. My superior avoided having a conversation with this individual on my behalf after they made it clear that there was a lack of respect for my position at that office. In April of this year I received a subpoena stating that this team member was filing a lawsuit against me. I was made to continue to work in the same environment with this individual. I began to feel unsafe in these conditions, not feeling supported by the company I was working for and knowing that this individual was trying to jeopardize my position at the company along with the fact that the individual was still my direct report and I was told to treat them the same as every other team member. I voluntarily left my position in August as the stress started to take it’s toll on me. Would I qualify for unemployment benefits?

    • Depends. If you’re able to provide supporting documents with regard to your situation, you can be eligible.

      Generally, people who leave voluntarily do not qualify. There can be exceptions though, on case to case basis.

  24. If a military servicemember stationed in California transitions out of the military and relocates to New Jersey, his original home state of record, would he qualify for Unemployment benefits and would he have to contact California prior to applying with New Jersey?

  25. I work as an employee for an IT Consulting company. The client cut my funding due to shift in priority and my position was eliminated. As of today, my company has me on “Unpaid Leave of Absence” (ULOA) for 30 days (Where I am not actually terminated, per se, but not really working and earning either.) If they are unable to place me on a qualified assignment within the next 30 days, then actual involuntary termination will take affect. Since I am not working and not being paid, am I eligible for Unemployment benefits during the ULOA period? (I do have interviews set up for next week outside of my current company, but no guarantee that they will pan out.) Please let me know if I should be applying today for Unemployment benefits. Thanks

    • This is a tricky situation.

      If its involuntary, please call the claims center of labor dept in your state for further advise and apply accordingly.

  26. Work for a non-profit day school in NJ. Have UI withheld from my paycheck. Have heard that if I work for a non-profit school, then I am not covered. Is this true?

    • Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them. Not sure if you are eligible for Unemployment Benefits.

  27. I worked for Walgreen’s as a asst. manager for 5 years and found a new job in January. Medical reasons was the primary reason to find new employment. I quit Walgreen’s (Jan 3, 2014)for the new job and then was fired for ‘poor performance’ in February 2014. The new job as understood was in training, to be evaluated after 4 weeks was ridiculous. NJ unemployment is denying my unemployment claim because I was not in the new job for 8 weeks.

    Do I have any recourse with NJ?


    • Well, if that is what the law says in NJ, it will be frozen.

      Please check for adjudication procedure that will be available on the website of NJ labor dept to see if your case qualifies for an appeal.

  28. I am a crossing guard and worked from 12-13 to 06-14 for 28 weeks total for apox $5400 would this qualify me for any unemployment? I also worked the previous Dec-12 to June-13 for about same amount

  29. I am facing mandatory retirement on 31 May 2014 (age 57) Federal Law Enforcement. Am I eligible for unenployment, and if so are there any restraints such as receiving disbursement from a 401K?

    • If you’re willing and available to work, then you may search for jobs actively.If retirement benefits are being received,it will be challenging as most states consider “other benefits” while process application for UI.

  30. My position will be eliminated in my office that I worked for almost 8 years, they offered me another position that is totally different for position that I use to have, for much less money and different hours. If I will not accept that new position can I collect unemployment?


    • I’m not sure what to do? I have worked for 32 years with the same company, as a retail manager. In Aug. 2012, my life partner was diagnosed with breast cancer. In May 2013 I had to take a Leave of Absents, the cancer had gone to her brain, I was her care taker till she past away in June 2013. During this period my supervisor was not understand to the situation, just the numbers. I came back to work on July 22, 2013. My supervisor continue to show no compassion for my situation, He actually put me on a Performance Improvement Plan, because my store had done poorly during my Leave. This pressures between myself and my supervisor build up. I did my best to meet expectation but was never enough, I also had an employee problem with people stealing, this happened when I was on leave also.
      In October 2013, my stress level went through the roof and being Bipolar didn’t help. I have been on LEAVE and was extended under the American Disability Act, till Jan 23,2014. I tried to go back to work last week only to suffer a depressing anxiety attack. I have never been unemployed… Do I qualify.

      • I can understand what you must have gone through.Some people do not seem to have any humanity left in them.
        You should be eligible if you leave the job due to no fault of your own. Please consider applying for benefits if you are terminated or decide to leave.Its better to leave that suffer.

        Each state has an adjudication process to address claims that are denied incorrectly.Feel free to write to us if you need any other advice/suggestions.

  32. My company downsized leaving me with no job. I collected benefits from 10/2012 through 10/2013. I am still with no job but atifly looking. Am I entitled to have my benefits extended or can I reopen my claim???please help….


  34. I am employed from a teacher exchange program based in New Jersey. The actual job is in a foreign country. I will not be offered a new contract next year. They did deduct for FICA and Medicare. Am I eligible?

  35. I am contract worker. My company will not have any work for me for 3 weeks at the end of the year. I will not be paid for these three weeks. I will resume working in January. Can I file a claim for these 3 weeks?

  36. I have worked for my previous employer for 5 years. While working for him I have found another job which promised higher pay and was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest if my life. I quit and started to work for the new employer, after 2 weeks he informed me that I was not a good fit and am no longer needed. The new employer hired me as 1099 old job will not take me back at same pay rate. Can I still be eligible for unemployment?

  37. My husband is active duty in the US Army. He has received orders for an out of state duty station. I will have to relocate and leave my job. Will I qualify for unemployment?

  38. The company is moving, which would force me to take three buses,and hours of travelling time. I only make 11 an hour, the cost and time would not make it worth the move. Would I be eligible for unemployment if not laid off?

  39. My company wants to reduce my hrs from 40 per week to 20.
    Am I eligible to collect unemployment since my salary was reduced by half?

  40. I was hired as part time but have been working full time hours (40Hours) for closed to a year, now my hours have been reduced to 24-25 hours per week. Can I receive any benefits and do I have to submit a claim, or is there a number to call to answer any questions ?

  41. My family can no longer care for my 10 year old daughter. This was the support system that allowed me to work for years. I have to quit because my long working hours will not permit me to be able to care for my daughter. Would i be eligible for unemployment benefits while i search for a job that has the hours i need to go back to work?

  42. I have quit my job, being that im harassed about losing it always…im totally stressed there and it is an unfair place to work. Im not a child and never quit a job….My stress levels were so high and uncalled for. I plan on finding work asap and do believe a place of business has no right to threaten your job for no real reason, I just got so sick there literally.. Had to go , now scared that the money I have pd in for ten years will not be entitled too me??

    • Please start your application for unemployment. Tell them your side of the story – it is the unemployment office that makes the determination and they may agree you had a compelling reason to quit. Even if they don’t, you may just have to earn a specific amount until before you apply again.

  43. If my current position is going to be done away with and I already collect social security, am I eligible to collect unemployment.

  44. I Relocated to New jersey ON 06/28/2013. I Have actively Applied for work, I have had some interview but no offers of work. I work for U.S. SECURITY ASSOCIATES,INC. in Fort Lauderdale FL from 6/11 to 1/12. U.S. security lost the account and I stayed on with S M I security Inc. of Doral FL from 01/01/20012 to 06/02/2013 at the same job site. due to my pay rate at $8.00 a hour I was unable to pay my rent along with Electric and water bills. I was evicted from my apartment and was on the street, my family said to come home to N.J. were I could stay with them until I found a job. can I collect unemployment in new jersey Thank you Vincent j saitta

    • This is not the unemployment office. Please contact the local unemployment office and explain your situation. It is likely you will qualify.

  45. I am enrolling in school full time so won’t be able to work my full time job. Does this qualify me for unemployment? Would I be eligible for unemployment if I stay on at work for only 8-10 hours a week?

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