New Jersey Unemployment Calculator
If you are eligible for NJ unemployment insurance, the amount of money you will receive each week is referred to as your weekly benefit rate (WBR). This rate is calculated based on your earnings during the base year period, which is the period of time before you applied for benefits. The amount you will receive each week will depend on the total amount you earned during the base year period.
New Jersey Unemployment Benefits Calculator
Here are some examples of what you can expect:
- If you make $300 per week in New Jersey, your estimated weekly benefit is $180 for up to 26 weeks.
- If you make $500 per week in New Jersey, your estimated weekly benefit is $300 for up to 26 weeks.
- If you make $1000 per week in New Jersey, your estimated weekly benefit is $600 for up to 26 weeks.
- If you make $2000 per week in New Jersey, your estimated weekly benefit is $713 for up to 26 weeks.
What is a base period?
The base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters prior to the week when you applied for NJ unemployment benefits. This time period is commonly referred to as the regular base year and lasts for 52 weeks.
The amount of your weekly benefit payments is based on the earnings you received during your base year period. In some cases, a regular base year may not apply, in which case the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJ DOL) uses one of two alternate base periods.
Alternate Base Year #1 uses the four most recently completed calendar quarters to calculate earnings, while Alternate Base Year #2 includes the three most recently completed calendar quarters, which may result in a base year period of less than 52 weeks.
To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned a minimum of $260 per week during at least 20 base weeks of covered employment throughout the base year period. Alternatively, individuals may qualify if they earned at least $13,000 in total during the base year period through covered employment.
How are New Jersey unemployment benefits calculated?
The maximum amount of unemployment compensation you can receive each week is determined by the state minimum wage, with a cap on the weekly benefit rate.
In New Jersey, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $830.
To calculate your unemployment benefit rate, the NJ DOL looks at your average weekly wage during the base year, which is determined by the wage information your employer provides. The weekly benefit rate is capped at 60% of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum amount.
If your weekly benefit rate does not reach the maximum amount, you may be able to increase it with dependency benefits. In case your earnings were not included in the calculation, you can request a monetary review by providing proof of your earnings.
Maximum Benefit Amount
The maximum benefit amount is the total amount of money potentially available to you based on your weeks worked and wages earned before you filed. The NJ DOL uses the following formula to calculate your maximum benefit amount.
To calculate your maximum benefit amount, multiply your weekly benefit rate by the number of weeks you worked in the base period (up to 26)
Let’s say you worked 20 weeks during your base year period, and your weekly benefit rate is $300. Your maximum benefit amount will be $300 times 20 weeks = $6,000.
There is a limit to the total amount of benefits a claimant can receive in one year. For this calculation, the maximum amount a person can receive in unemployment benefits is capped at 26, even if they worked for more than 26 weeks during the base year.
So, if you worked 40 weeks, you have to multiply by 26, not 40.
For example, if you worked 40 weeks during your base year period, with a weekly benefit rate of $400, you would use the following calculation:
$400 x 26 = $10,400. Your maximum benefit amount would be $10,400.
The maximum total benefit amount that anyone can receive in a benefit year is $21,580 ($830 x 26). A benefit year is defined as 365 days from the date of your initial claim.
If you go back to work and stop collecting benefits, but become unemployed again within that same year, your weekly benefit rate will remain the same.
However, if one year has passed since your initial claim date, regardless of whether you have collected all benefits, the NJ DOL will stop paying benefits. If you need to file a new claim, your weekly benefit rate will be recalculated based on the new base year period.
In New Jersey, a dependent is defined as “an unemployed spouse or civil union partner, or an unemployed, unmarried child under the age of 19, or 22 if the child is still in school.”
If you have dependents and your weekly benefit rate is less than the maximum weekly benefit rate, you may be eligible for Dependency Benefits, which can increase your weekly benefit rate.
The amount of Dependency Benefits you can receive is based on a percentage of your weekly benefit rate. 7% is allotted for the first dependent, and 4% for each additional dependent, up to a maximum of three dependents. In total, you can receive up to an additional 15% of your weekly benefit rate in Dependency Benefits. However, Dependency Benefits cannot exceed the maximum weekly benefit rate, which is the highest amount any claimant can receive.
If both you and your spouse are unemployed, only one of you may claim Dependency Benefits. You will need to provide proof of dependency, as well as the Social Security numbers of your spouse and other claimed dependents.
It’s important to note that no one can receive more than the maximum Weekly Benefit Amount.
How to apply for Dependency Benefits
You must apply for Dependency Benefits within 6 weeks of the date of claim and provide proof to the Division before any benefits can be paid.
You will have a chance to express your interest in Dependency Benefits when you file your claim. An email will be sent to you containing instructions and a link to the application. You can also call the NJ DOL within six weeks of filing your claim, and an agent will email you instructions and a link to the application.
After applying for Dependency Benefits, you will receive an email determination indicating whether you are eligible. If you qualify, your letter will state your new unemployment benefit rate. It is important to continue certifying for benefits while waiting for the determination.
Can I work part time in New Jersey and still collect unemployment benefits?
If your work hours were reduced but not fully eliminated, the state of New Jersey may still allow you to receive partial benefits.
When claiming partial unemployment benefits, you must report any part-time wages earned, even if you have not yet been paid. Please be aware that purposely providing false information about earnings can constitute unemployment fraud, and you may be subject to penalties and criminal charges.
To calculate your partial unemployment pay, you must report where you worked during that week, how many hours you worked, and your gross earnings for that week.
You cannot work more than 80% of the hours typically worked in your job. If you earn 20% or less of your weekly benefit rate from an employer, you can still receive your full weekly benefit rate (WBR) for that week. If you earn more than 20% of your WBR in a given week, your partial weekly benefit payment will be reduced dollar-for-dollar for all gross wages earned that week. Keep in mind that you must report income for the week it was earned, not when it was paid.
For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $300, your partial benefit rate (PBR) is $360 (20% higher than $300). If you earn $100 during a week, you would receive $260 in unemployment benefits ($360 – $100 = $260).
If at any time you feel you are not receiving the correct payment, you can call the claim center or file an appeal.
How pensions can affect your benefit payment
Receiving a pension can affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits, depending on the terms of your pension. If your pension is from an employer that you are claiming unemployment benefits from, your weekly benefit amount may be reduced by either 50% or 100% of your weekly pension amount.
If your employer paid the entire amount towards your pension and you made no contributions, your weekly benefit amount may be reduced by 100% of your weekly pension amount. However, if both you and your employer contributed towards your pension, your weekly benefit amount may be reduced by 50% of your weekly pension amount.
If you were the sole contributor to the pension, your unemployment benefits will not be affected. Additionally, if you received a lump sum payment of retirement pension after being involuntarily separated from work before the age of 59 1/2, your unemployment benefits may be reduced for the week in which the payment was received.
Social Security benefits do not affect your eligibility for NJ unemployment insurance benefits in any way.
Do I have to pay taxes on my New Jersey unemployment compensation?
Yes, you are required to pay federal income tax, but not state tax. The IRS treats unemployment benefits as income when filing your federal taxes. You do not have to pay New Jersey state income tax on your benefits, however.
You will receive a 1099-G form in the mail that shows the amount of benefits you received and taxes that were withheld. This information is also sent to the IRS.
You can have the NJ DOL hold 10% of your benefits if you’d rather not have to make a federal tax payment at the end of the year. You will see this option during the unemployment application process.
You can change your withholding status at any time by writing to:
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
PO Box 908
Trenton, NJ 08625-0908
How to receive your weekly payment
You can choose to receive your unemployment insurance payment by direct deposit or with a prepaid debit card. You can select your preferred payment method during the application process. If you don’t enroll in direct deposit, you will automatically receive a prepaid debit card in the mail.
To set up direct deposit, you will need to provide your bank account number and your bank’s 9 digit routing number. The routing number is printed on a paper check and will also be listed on your bank’s website.
Funds are typically transferred to your bank account within two full business days after you certify for unemployment benefits.
To update your direct deposit information, log in to your account and go to the “Manage My Claim” section of the dashboard, where you can select the “Update Direct Deposit” option. The NJ DOL is unable to update this information over the phone.
If you want to switch from direct deposit to a prepaid debit card, you can fill out the Authorization for Benefit Payment by Direct Deposit or Debit Card form and email it to [email protected]. Your payments will continue to be deposited into your existing account until the change is made, which can take up to four weeks to process.
If you do not set up direct deposit, you will receive a new Money Network/My Banking Direct debit card within 10 days of your application being reviewed. The card will arrive in a plain envelope with an Omaha, NE return address.
Note: This card is sent out before your application is approved. Receiving the debit card in the mail is not a guarantee of benefits. Benefit payments are only made to the debit card account if your claim is approved.
You can keep this card for up to four years, even after you return to work or your claim year ends. If you need to file a new claim or reopen a claim within four years, benefits will be paid to the same debit card account.
If your debit card is lost, stolen, or damaged, call My Banking Direct at 888-292-0059 right away. One replacement card is available per calendar year free of charge. Additional replacement cards cost $10.
If you currently receive benefits through a debit card but would like to switch to direct deposit, you can easily make the change through the nj.gov dashboard.