New Jersey Unemployment Weekly Claims
What is the New Jersey weekly claim certification process?
To qualify for New Jersey unemployment benefits and continue receiving them every week, claimants must meet certain requirements such as:
- Being able to work
- Being available for work
- Actively seeking employment
- Not turning down a suitable job offer
- Reporting all income earned that week
You need to be actively looking for a new job and ready to accept an offer when it comes. The weekly certification process ensures the NJ DOL that you qualify for a weekly benefit payment.
You must also keep your scheduled appointments with NJDOL. If you have an in-person meeting or interview scheduled at a New Jersey job center, you must show up on time. If it is a phone interview, be available for two hours after the scheduled time in case of any unforeseen delays. Missing an appointment may lead to the denial of your benefit payment for that week.
Your unemployment insurance claim is dated the Sunday of the week that you filed your initial claim.
Claimants can complete their weekly certification online or by phone. You are highly encouraged to apply online but phone service is available if you don’t have access to the internet.
If you certify online, you must certify each week that you want to receive benefits.
If you certify over the phone, you must certify every two weeks.
This is an important and possibly confusing distinction. Online users must certify each week, while those certifying over the phone must do so every 2 weeks.
The benefit week starts on Sunday and ends at midnight on the following Saturday. Previously, the schedule was determined by Social Security numbers, but this is no longer the case and you can certify any day of the week (except Saturday).
Sometimes, there can be an issue with your unemployment claim that needs to be resolved. Perhaps your benefits were denied and you filed an appeal. DO NOT stop certifying your weekly claim. It is important to continue certifying for and claiming your benefits. This will ensure that you receive credit for the weeks that you have claimed. If you are deemed eligible or win your appeal, you will receive these benefits at a later time. However, if you do not claim your benefits, you will not receive payment for those weeks.
How to certify your weekly claim online
The soonest you can file a claim is 17 days from the claim date, which falls on a Wednesday. To receive your benefits, you must certify for benefits each week by Sunday through Friday from 8 am – 7 pm, after the week has passed.
To access the New Jersey online benefits certification system, click here.
Read the information, then click the “Continue” button at the bottom of the page. On the next page, after reading the disclaimer, click the button underneath “To Claim Weekly Unemployment Benefits” at the bottom of the page.
When you certify for benefits online for the first time, you’ll create a 4-digit personal identification number (PIN). You can create your PIN after entering your Social Security number. Be sure to remember your PIN as you will need to use it each week. Be careful not to share your PIN with anyone.
After entering your PIN, you will be taken to a list of questions that you must answer to verify your eligibility for NJ unemployment insurance compensation.
How to certify your weekly claim by phone
If you are unable to claim your benefits online, you can certify over the phone. However, the NJ DOL recommends that you call using a landline instead of a mobile phone, since cell phones are subject to interference and can lose the signal. If the call is interrupted before your certification is complete, you will lose your place in line and have to start over.
It is also recommended that you disable your phone’s call waiting feature, which can accidentally disconnect you from the claims system.
When you first apply for unemployment insurance benefits, your claim is dated on the Sunday of that week. You will need to certify or claim benefits for the first time on a Wednesday, which is 17 days after your claim date. Note: the claim date is not necessarily the day you applied.
To receive payment, you must claim benefits for every week that you were eligible, but only after that week has passed. The unemployment insurance weeks run from Sunday to midnight on Saturday.
The NJDOL will assign you a Wednesday to call for the first time. After that, you will call every two weeks on either Monday or Tuesday. If you miss your day, you can call and certify Wednesday-Friday. It is your responsibility to claim your weekly benefits on time, so please refer to the list of New Jersey unemployment phone numbers to claim your weekly benefits. The phone number to call depends on where you live, whether it’s North New Jersey, Central New Jersey, or South New Jersey.
During your first time certifying for benefits, you will need to enter your Social Security number and create a four-digit personal identification number (PIN). It’s important to choose a memorable PIN since you will need it when claiming your weekly benefits in the future.
You will then be asked a series of questions to verify your eligibility for UI benefits.
Example questions during the certification process
Were you able and available for work? – To receive New Jersey unemployment benefits, you must be physically and mentally capable of working. If you are not able or available to work, you are likely not entitled to receive benefits.
Were you actively seeking work? – In New Jersey, you must actively search for a job as part of the NJ unemployment work search requirements. You are required to document job contacts and any approved work search activities. NJDOL recommends 3 work searches per week.
Did you refuse any work? – You are required to accept a job offer if it is considered “suitable employment.” Suitable work is defined as paying at least 80% of your average weekly wage during the past year. NJDOL also considers factors such as physical fitness, work experience, earnings, length of unemployment, and commuting distance. The longer you remain unemployed, the more important it becomes to consider different types of jobs at a lower pay rate.
Did you attend school or job training? – To collect benefits, you must be available to work full time. However, some unpaid job training programs allow you to collect unemployment insurance benefits at the same time.
Did you receive vacation pay, holiday pay, retirement pay, or a pension during the week you are claiming benefits? – Vacation pay and pension income are considered to be earned income and may affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits. During weekly certification, workers are required to report ALL sources of income from the previous week. Failing to report income during weekly certification may result in overpayment of benefits and may constitute NJ unemployment fraud.
Did you perform any work during the week you are claiming? – New Jersey asks if you performed any work when certifying UI benefits because any earned income affects your eligibility for receiving benefits. If you worked during the week and earned wages, your benefits may be reduced or denied depending on how much you earned.
What happens next?
After you certify your weekly unemployment claim, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development checks to see if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits for that week. If you are eligible, you will get your weekly benefit payment via direct deposit or debit card. Your preferred payment method was selected when you first applied for benefits.
You can continue certifying for up to 26 weeks. Currently, there are no extended benefits such as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, as these federal government programs have all expired. However, depending on your situation, you may qualify for temporary disability insurance, which provides 26 weeks of benefits while you recover from an illness.
If there are problems with your claim, like wrong or incomplete information was reported, you might have to wait longer to get your unemployment compensation. You may get a notice in your online account or by mail telling you what to do to fix the problem. You might also need to provide more information or documents to prove your eligibility. To avoid problems with your benefits, always certify your weekly claims on time and tell the truth about any changes in your employment status.