If you are unemployed in New Jersey, there are several things you should know about the unemployment system. You may be wondering whether you even qualify for unemployment since not all displaced workers automatically get these benefits. Next, you might think, “If I do qualify, then how do I go about the process of receiving unemployment compensation?”

You are not alone in asking these questions – as of January 2023, New Jersey’s unemployment rate is currently 3.5 percent, about the same as the national average. Approximately 193,404 New Jersey residents were unemployed that month, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If your or your loved one is one of those unemployed New Jerseyans, you are likely concerned about the unemployment system.

While the unemployment compensation system is governed by the State of New Jersey, an excellent first step after becoming unemployed is to speak to your company’s Human Resources department about severance pay packages and healthcare coverage. From there, you can contact your local unemployment office to help determine your eligibility and learn about the process. Ultimately, most unemployed people file online claims to start their benefits.

New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law is what governs the unemployment benefits for which New Jersey residents can apply. The money used to pay these benefits comes from payroll tax paid by employers and workers, and these benefits are known as Unemployment Insurance (UI). In order to qualify for UI, there are several factors that you must meet.

How to Qualify

Not everyone who is unemployed qualifies for unemployment benefits. This compensation is designed to help those in particular situations. While the amount of benefits is often determined by work history, continuing eligibility is mainly determined by your current circumstances.

In order to receive this assistance, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be able to work
  • You must be actively looking and applying for jobs
  • You must be available for work
  • You must not refuse an offer of a suitable job

If you fulfill those requirements, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. You don’t just receive them automatically, but you must file a claim. In order to do so, you need to have worked in New Jersey in the last 18 months and currently be unemployed. Once successful, you must also file weekly certifications in order to continue to receive unemployment compensation.

If you qualify for benefits, the maximum amount of time you can receive them is 26 weeks per year, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Insurance. Their purpose is to help you meet your financial obligations while you are looking for work.

Your Next Steps?

First things first – you need to file your claim. This is where you give the New Jersey Department of Labor the information they need to determine your eligibility and benefits amount. This process is mostly done through your online account these days and only requires email access.

After you create your online account, you should read the instructions and gather the information that you will need, which may include:

  • Your Social Security Number (or Alien Registration Number for noncitizens)
  • Your New Jersey driver’s license number (or the NJ non-driver ID number)
  • Your employer information (from the last 18 months)
  • Your bank account number and routing number (if you want direct deposit)
  • Any payments you receive, such as pension or separation pay.
  • Union, federal, or military forms if you worked for any of those entities in the last 18 months
  • If you expect to be recalled back to your job, your recall date

After submitting your first claim, remember that you will need to recertify each week in order to continue to receive your benefits. There is a stipulated amount you can receive per week, known as the Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR), which is approximately 60 percent of your previous year’s average weekly earnings. These rates can change yearly, depending on your employment history, so this is something that is unique each time you file a UI claim.

Remember, if your benefits are not granted and you disagree with this decision, you have the right to file an appeal. The appeal process must be initiated within 7 days of receiving your benefits determination. That means that, if you are denied benefits unjustly, you shouldn’t delay in filing your appeal or seeking the help that you need.

Next, you must start your job search if you have not already done so. Continually searching for a job and being willing to accept an appropriate placement is a necessity for continuing to receive benefits. Finally, it is important that you never miss an appointment with the New Jersey Department of Labor and that you continually check your correspondence for any pertinent information.

New Jersey Unemployment Help

Being unemployed can be scary, especially when it happens unexpectedly. However, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are people who can help you. Knowing what to do and where to turn for assistance is half the battle, so just by reading this – you are closer to receiving the benefits you need.

New Jersey’s unemployment system is somewhat complicated, but once you understand the requirements and procedures, it can become very doable. If you have trouble getting the benefits you deserve due to documentation issues, employer fabrications, or other reasons, you may need to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your options. He or she can identify where you are at in the process and file an appeal when necessary.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Judd Shaw Injury Law have won over $240 million in compensation for our clients. We are ready to stand by your side as your allies and champions. Contact us today to speak to a personal injury attorney about your unemployment claim and what our team can do to fight for maximum recovery on your behalf.

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Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.