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New Jersey Unemployment

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The New Jersey unemployment insurance (UI) program connects qualified workers around the state with financial support while they are in between jobs. This temporary program, which is also called unemployment compensation (UC), is specifically for employees who are out of work through no fault of their own. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is responsible for determining the state’s eligibility for unemployment requirements. Similarly, the department’s major function is organizing and processing all UC claims throughout the state.

Prospective applicants who wonder what are the requirements to get unemployment in NJ and how to apply for the program will find the answers below. Similarly, petitioners will also learn what types of documentation they must provide when they complete their claims, as well as what to do if they are subsequently denied UI benefits.

What is unemployment in New Jersey?

In order to receive unemployment insurance benefits in New Jersey, candidates must meet a finite set of requirements. Once petitioners qualify, their unemployment claim is active for one year. However, applicants must remember this does not mean they will be able to receive UC stipends for a calendar year. In fact, each state is responsible for imposing a maximum limit on the amount of weeks enrollees may receive UC. In New Jersey, that limit is 26 weeks. Furthermore, the state also provides a limit on the maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) that petitioners may receive through their unemployment insurance claims. In this particular state, that limit is $681. This means that qualified enrollees are eligible to receive up to this amount of money for each week they receive UC benefits. However, there are certain factors that can lower applicants’ benefit amounts. An example of this scenario would include earning extra money during a particular week.

Unemployment insurance coverage provides enrollees and their families with critical financial support during their professional transitions. However, beneficiaries must remember this program does not serve as a long-term solution to job loss. By instilling weekly benchmark requirements enrollees must meet, UC’s goal is to help unemployed workers find gainful work opportunities.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in New Jersey?

The New Jersey eligibility for unemployment requirements are varied, and they address diverse aspects of candidates’ profiles. Specifically, qualifications for unemployment in the state relate to the following topics:

  • Ability to work – In order to receive UC benefits, petitioners must be physically able to work full-time jobs. This means that applicants who are involved in accidents or who have physical disabilities that prevent them from working are unlikely to qualify for this program.
  • Full-time availability – Successful UI applicants are ready and available to start working at a moment’s notice. These candidates do not have alternative obligations that may prevent them from working, such as household responsibilities or conflicting class schedules. Furthermore, petitioners who lack consistent transportation will also be disqualified from receiving UC.
  • Reasons for termination – The department takes into great consideration the reasons that led up to claimants’ job losses. In order to receive UI, applicants must be without work due to situations they could not control.

When determining who qualifies for unemployment, the department will also take into account how much income petitioners earned in previous months. Specifically, it uses the base period to calculate income eligibility. A base period consists of the first four of the last five full calendar quarters. Each calendar quarter is divided into four months, starting in January. Unemployment insurance eligibility examines how much income petitioners earned during their base periods. Specifically, New Jersey UC requires that claimants earned at least $8,500 over at least 20 weeks throughout their base periods.

How can I sign up for unemployment in New Jersey?

Candidates must learn how to apply for unemployment online or over the telephone. These are the only two options petitioners may utilize when they apply for unemployment benefits in New Jersey. Regardless which method claimants choose to utilize, there is specific information they must provide in order to submit a claim. Having this information prepared before petitioners file for unemployment will help to make their application processes smoother. All candidates must provide the following information:

  • Personal – When petitioning for UC, claimants must be prepared to offer personal information about themselves in order to complete their applications. United States citizens are required to submit their Social Security Numbers. Likewise, non-citizens must report their alien registration numbers.
  • Banking – UI enrollees have the opportunity to receive their benefits via direct deposit. This is one of the most efficient ways beneficiaires may obtain payment. In order to enroll in these services, candidates must submit their account and routing numbers to the department when they apply.
  • Professional – Claimants must supply the department with a detailed summary of their work history for the past 18 months. Within this account, petitioners must disclose their employers’ names, addresses and phone numbers. Likewise, applicants are also required to provide their positions at these establishments, the specific dates when they worked at these locations and reasons outlining why they are no longer employed there.

This is the required information petitioners must provide when they complete their unemployment registration process. However, candidates in particular circumstances must also provide additional information. Specifically, union members must report their local hall numbers and addresses. Similarly, military service members who worked within the past 18 months need to submit to the department their DD Form 214.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in New Jersey?

It is possible that petitioners will need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview after they submit their claims. This is a common step in the UI application process. As a result, applicants do not need to worry that being called to participate in an unemployment phone interview in NJ means their UC petitions will be rejected. However, candidates must take the time to prepare for these conversations because they represent an important part of the UI application process.

There are various reasons that will require the department to request a UI phone interview with program applicants. In many cases, these interviews are standard whenever candidates are unemployed for reasons besides being laid off. For these reasons, many of the questions asked during the unemployment interview relate to why petitioners are currently unemployed. In order to prepare these types of conversations, candidates should have ready any documentation that relates to their terminations. These could be exit interview notes claimants took when meeting with their human resources officials or any correspondence with their supervisors regarding workplace conditions.

In some instances, the department may also need to conduct an unemployment interview with the employer petitioners recently had. However, these conversations always takes place apart from the claimants’ interviews.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in New Jersey?

In order to claim unemployment benefits in New Jersey, candidates must fulfill weekly requirements. Simply being admitted into the state’s UC program is not sufficient to ensure enrollees will be able to receive their funds. In fact, petitioners must recertify their unemployment benefits claim each week they are enrolled in the program. Candidates must begin filing these petitions 17 days after they submit their initial applications.

Petitioners who are claiming unemployment benefits have two ways they can submit their claims: online or over the phone. However, applicants who choose to certify over the phone must note they will be required to file every two weeks. Independent of the method they choose, beneficiaries will need to address the following questions when they submit:

  • Are the petitioners able to work?
  • Are the applicants actively searching for work?
  • Have the candidates denied any suitable work opportunities during the weeks they are claiming?
  • Do the claimants have open availability to be employed full-time?

Are you meeting the department’s work search requirements?

Furthermore, candidates who claim UC benefits will also need to ensure they are meeting the department’s work search requirements. These stipulations are in place to motivate enrollees to pursue alternative employment opportunities while they are receiving UI. Each week beneficiaries are enrolled in the program, they are generally obligated to make at least three employer contacts. Candidates must record these individuals’ contact information in their weekly UI benefits claim. If acceptees fail to meet any of these program requirements, they will be unable to receive funding during the weeks when they do not meet these objectives.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in New Jersey?

If petitioners are denied unemployment in New Jersey, they have the right to file an appeal. This same principle applies to employers who disagree with the state’s initial determinations regarding their UC cases. Applicants have two options when it comes to submitting their unemployment denial appeal. Candidates may submit their petitions online or by mailing their requests to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The deadlines corresponding to when claimants may appeal these determinations depends on how they received the department’s initial notifications. Petitioners who were hand-delivered the state’s determinations have seven calendar days to submit their appeals. On the other hand, applicants who received their denied unemployment benefits through the mail have 10 calendar days to appeal these decisions. When filing an appeal, claimants must include the following information:

  • Their names and Social Security Numbers.
  • Their telephone numbers and addresses.
  • Reasons for requesting these appeals.

What happens after petitioners submit their UC denial appeal request?

Once petitioners submit their UC denial appeal request, an Appeal Tribunal hearing will be scheduled. These trials are either conducted over the phone or in person. Prior to these hearings, candidates have the right to request:

  • Witnesses provide statements regarding their knowledge of the claimants’ unemployment.
  • Employers produce relevant eligibility of benefits documentation.
  • Their own evidence be submitted for consideration.

After the denied unemployment appeals conclude, the Appeal Tribunal will issue its new determinations. If either party continues to disagree with these determinations, they have the right to submit subsequent appeals to the Board of Review.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in New Jersey?

A state or federal unemployment extension in New Jersey is offered only instances where there is a widespread conditions of workers being out of work. As a result, an unemployment benefits extension is not commonly offered in the state or in other parts of the nation. When offered, this addition allows UC participants to enroll in program benefits beyond the state’s 26-week limit. The department will let qualifying candidates know when the unemployment extension is offered.

How do I contact the New Jersey unemployment office?

There is a New Jersey unemployment office in major cities around the state. Individuals may direct their inquiries to representatives at these locations. The Trenton UI office is located at:

26 Yard Avenue

Trenton, New Jersey 08609

Similarly, petitioners who live in communities that do not have its own unemployment office may call the Department of Labor of Workforce Development and speak with program agents over the phone.


How much will I get paid in benefits?

The amount of unemployment benefits you will be paid is directly related to your past income. However, as of 2018, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $681.00. This weekly amount is recalculated each year.

Can I have a part time job and still collect unemployment in New Jersey?

Yes. If you have a part time job, you may still qualify for partial unemployment benefits. However, your income will be calculated in order to determine your benefits.

If I quit my job can I still get unemployment benefits?

The short answer is yes. Although unemployment benefits are usually granted to those individuals who have been fired through no fault of their own, there are certain circumstances where an individual who quits can receive unemployment benefits.

When should I file my unemployment claim in New Jersey?

As with any state, you should file your unemployment claim as soon as possible and definitely within the same week that you become unemployed. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development does not recognize the date you became unemployed as being significant in your claim. Rather, the date your claim is filed will determine when you will receive your first and future benefits.

New Jersey Unemployment Office Locations