The unemployment office in New Jersey is supervised by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In specific, the unemployment insurance (UI) program is administered by the Division of Unemployment Insurance. However, you must contact the customer service center in Trenton if you wish to address any questions regarding your UI claim.
Eligibility & Benefits
In New Jersey, you must meet the eligibility criteria for every week that you wish to receive UI benefits. Therefore, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own, available to work, and physically able to work. You also cannot refuse an employment opportunity for which you are suited.
There is also a monetary eligibility requirement that must be met before you can file your claim for UI benefits. This condition will be based on a 12-month period known as your “base period.” This period is made up of the four quarters out of the last five completed quarters in which you earned wages through employment in the state of New Jersey. The requirement states that you must have earned at least $7300 in your base period, which is at least $145 per week. You can still qualify if you have not earned this amount in wages; in this case, you must have worked at least 20 weeks out of the 52-weeks that make up your base period.
There are also two “alternate base periods” that can be used if you do not qualify for the regular base period. Each period will consist of 12-months, and it will be determined by looking at your earnings from the last 18 months before the date of your application. However, you cannot choose which alternate base period will be used as part of your application.
In general, your benefit amount will be approximately 60 percent of your average wages earned in your base period. Currently, the maximum amount of UI benefits that you can earn is $624 per week, and you can receive payments for up to 26 weeks in one benefit year. After your application has been processed, your date of claim will be effective as of the following Sunday. In most cases, you can expect to receive your first payment within 17 days of your claim being filed. Moreover, you can choose to receive payments through direct deposit or on a prepaid debit card, which will be sent to you by U.S. mail once your claim has been processed.
How to File a Claim
Filing a claim is now as simple as filling out an application online. However, you can also contact a UI office in New Jersey nearest you by telephone in order to apply for UI benefits. In either case, you will need to create a PIN that will be used to confirm your identity and give you access to information regarding your claim. Before you can start the application process, you will need your Social Security Number (SSN) and your New Jersey driver’s license. In addition, you will need the details of your employment history from the last 18 months, including the names, addresses, and contact details of all your previous employers from this period. You will also need your banking information if you wish to set up payments through direct deposit. Thus, you should take the time to prepare these documents ahead of time.