This article was last updated on January 25
The NJ Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) under the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) manages the states’ unemployment insurance program. New Jersey’s unemployment remains higher than the United States as a whole reflective of how hard the state has been hit by the pandemic compared to other parts of the nation. However the good news, per the comments below, is that the number of new claims being processed has improved and more and more people are seeing the enhanced unemployment benefits on a more consistent basis. See further details below on the newly enhanced benefits available now and how to file a claim. And per the official NJ DOL website, they are aware of the ongoing issues people are experiencing when filing claims and receiving payments on a timely manner.
2021 Unemployment Program Extensions Under COVID Relief Bill
The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package was passed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, which among several other pandemic relief measures extends and provides additional federal funding for enhanced unemployment benefits. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and a reinstatement, but halving of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program which provides a $300 supplemental weekly unemployment payment. I have also posted this video discussing the frustrations around the current $300 payment!
These programs have been funded and extended for 11 weeks (on top of any state funded extensions), covering the weeks of December 27th, 2020 to March 14th, 2021. To receive FPUC benefits, you must be receiving regular UI, PEUC, EB, or PUA.
NJ DOL Payment Details and Updates on $300 FPUC, PUA and PEUC
DJ posted the following update on Jan 25th: DOL only deposited this week $300 for the week ending the 16th. Then the week ending Jan 23 we get next Monday. We wouldn’t ever get the week ending the 23rds payment today . Because they pay it only when they know you didn’t work. So the only way you get paid the week of the 23rd is if you file by Saturday the 30th . And for the people saying it’s biweekly it’s not. $300 each week per official NJ DOL update below (some people are getting $600 because it included retroactive payments for missed weeks). I just talked to someone on the phone at NJ DOL and the way it worked so far was for the weeks ending:
Jan 2nd $300
Jan 9th $300 (PAID $600 for 2 weeks On jan19th )
Jan 16th ( paid today the 25th )
Jan 23rd ( paid on feb1st)
Jan 21 : NJ DOL update on $300 payment
Official NJ DOL update: NJDOL announced it had successfully processed two weeks worth of benefits – $600 total – in direct deposit accounts or on debit cards as soon as Tuesday [Jan 19th, 2021]. Some may see it a day or two later depending on their bank. The first week of eligibility for the $300 payments was the week ending Jan. 2, 2021. If eligible for both weeks, claimants received two $300 payments, for a total of $600, in addition to their regular unemployment payments.
The $300 payments will continue to be made weekly, in single-week installments, for eligible weeks through the week ending March 13. They will be made automatically to anyone receiving jobless benefits in any amount.
Those who have exhausted their initial PUA, PEUC or Extended Benefits will experience a lapse in payments (ongoing delays) while NJDOL updates their systems. The Department has communicated with this group of claimants and they will be notified when they can resume certifying for weekly benefits.NJ DOL
Jan 19 update – $300 Payments coming through for active claimants! Based on reader comments here and on my social media it looks like the $300 weekly payments are coming through. Jackie wrote, “Got 600 deposited this morning a little before 6am. Was never a pending deposit. Just came thru outta nowhere. 1/19/21.” This was confirmed by subsequent comments. So looks like NJ DOL is making weekly payments for FPUC as well but was paying retroactively for the past 2 weeks it missed paying (due to program rollout delays) and so that’s why $600 was the maximum amount received for those who qualified for the 2 weeks.
Al posted the following on Jan 20th, from this YouTube video on the 2021 extensions: Yes… there’s been much confusion on when the weeks would start or which date the payments would be retroactive. However, it’s basically like this. They’re paying (biweekly) from the week of January 2nd to the week of March 13th. That’s 11 weeks. This is why only a $600 payment/deposit was made to most claimants in NJ. So in respect to retroactive payments, the state was only behind 1 week. The week they tried to issue benefits (January 2, 2021) and the week that benefits started to be issued to claimants (January 9th). The next payable week will be January 16th 2021, payment should be received on Mondays, just like the CARES ACT Supplement Payments were issued. You will NOT receive both your Normal Unemployment Compensation Benefits and the new $300 on the same day. (Unless you’re one of those recipients that would normally receive your regular unemployment benefits on a Monday.) The only eleven payable weeks in 2021 are as follows (week ending): January 2nd, January 9th, January 16th, January 23rd, January 30th, February 6th, February 13th, February 20th, February 27th, March 6th, and week ending March 13th
Delays in payments were attributed to processing the new $300 FPUC while simultaneously running retroactive processing (as required by federal law) for the old $600 FPUC program. Under the new stimulus act, 460,000 claimants currently collecting PUA and PEUC, while 80,000 claimants are collecting Extended Benefits (EB). These groups of claimants are all eligible for an 11-week extension, and should be seeing no interruption in regular benefits. They should continue certifying for weekly benefits and will get the $300 FPUC payment and any eligible retroactive payments.
I realize that not everyone is seeing their payments yet (likely those who had exhausted benefits prior to week of 12/27/20 to 1/2/21) but at least there is some progress. The NJ DOL site is still saying they are “testing” and hard to get a hold of anyone at the NJ DOL, but it is at least good to hear that some people are receiving their payments. Please continue to leave comments at the end of this article with any updates or payment confirmations.
Jan 14 update from NJ DOL : NJDOL hopes to process the newly available federal $300 supplemental benefit over the weekend. An unforeseen complication delayed running the new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program last week as planned. No one will miss any weeks of eligibility
Given that 1/18 is a public holiday and updates are happening over the weekend, I estimate that NJ DOL won’t get payments out before 1/19, given delays to date. Please leave a comment below the article if you receive your payment.
“Though there are still a lot of details needed from the USDOL to begin the work of implementing these new programs….we see from the sheer volume of new unemployment claims that this pandemic continues to affect significant numbers of workers, many who are unemployed for the first time in their lives.”
[Update Jan 13th] The NJ DOL has recently posted on their website (it’s a pop-up when you log on their website for the first time) that NJ residents currently claiming federal benefits (PUA or PEUC) will receive the new benefits without delay, and should continue to certify weekly (remaining weeks will roll-over into extension period). It is expected that these active claimants will see their $300 FPUC payment from mid-January (retroactive to December 27th, 2020).
Note – per several comments and responses, no one in NJ has yet seen the $300 payment! However a reader posted this “Just got off the phone with DOL they stated to me that payments will be processed into accounts at the end of today. Now I don’t know if that means into our accounts and will be there right away or then it has to process with ur bank.” So this likely means payments will start hitting accounts by the end of the week (factoring in processing time). Please leave a comment below the article if you receive your payment.
However anyone who has exhausted UI benefits on or after Dec. 26, 2020 will see a gap in payments while the NJ DOL program their UI systems to add the 11-week extension. These claimants should wait for notification from NJDOL before resuming weekly certification. NJDOL. No date provided for this, but expected towards the end of January.
I have noticed several comments on the mixed messages people are seeing from NJ DOL saying that they were the first to roll out the $300 payment, but yet people won’t get this payment for several weeks. The challenge is that to get the $300 FPUC payment (which is easy to implement since $600 FPUC was there before and only the amount has changed) you need to get the extended PUA or PEUC. So the issue is that the PUA and PEUC programs have had some new changes and criteria under the new law (e.g. additional documentation, you need to use PEUC before PUA), so this has meant claimants who exhausted PUA or PEUC benefits before Dec 27th, cannot file/certify for the weeks which extended coverage is available because NJ DOL is facing delays updating their systems for those programs. And as a result don’t get the $300 either because it cannot be paid because you need to have $1 of UI under PUA or PEUC to get the $300!
Final guidelines on these programs and final eligibility including additional document verification procedures to combat Fraud have been issued by the Department of Labor and then have to be implemented by the state UI agency in their systems and programs. So this could delay the actual date of payments.
UI claimants with existing or expired claim balances should be aware of the following:
- PUA and PEUC, FPUC will be automatically added to the claimants’ benefits if they are eligible for the weeks outlined in the new legislation.
- Claimants with weeks remaining in UI should continue to file weekly claims
- Claimants who will have additional weeks in UI and PUA or PEUC due to state provisions (where applicable) should watch their state agency UI portal or website for updates that will allow additional weeks to be filed.
- Claimants will receive retroactive payments for all weeks they are eligible.
- Claimants currently receiving benefits through the Extended Benefits program must finish all weeks of EB before receiving additional weeks of PEUC.
I will post additional details as they are released in coming days. So stay tuned for updates.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program
NJ has made all final payments under the LWA program, which provided supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Roughly 800,000 workers in New Jersey were eligible for up to $1,800 (or 6 weeks) in LWA benefits.
The NJ Labor Department (NJDOL) has confirmed that LWA payments have been successfully processed on October 21st and disbursed for payment. It could take 1 to 3 business days from this date to actually receive payments in your financial account or debit card due to processing times across financial intuitions,. As such, I expect payments should start appearing in accounts and cards from October 22nd to October 26th. This off course is for the first (main) batch of payments. People who verified late (after Sep 30th) or have had their account flagged (e.g for further processing or fraud) may see payments a few days or weeks later.
Latest Update – It appears that the majority of New Jerseyans are now seeing LWA payments in their bank accounts or debit cards. Check your pending transactions online as well, because that means your payment will be there shortly (within 1 business day generally). If you haven’t got your payment yet, don’t panic as they are still being processed in batches and could take till Monday or Tuesday to get to your account. Calling the NJ DOL/DUI is not going to help at this stage (impossible to get someone). See comments on this article for reader confirmations of the LWA payment across various banks.
From the article comments, many are still waiting on their LWA payment and I will continue to post new information and answer questions (along with the helpful community of readers) as if becomes available.
Why payments were late – Here is the latest quote from Labor Department spokesperson Angela Delli Santi on the delays, “Processing these [LWA] payments required new programming that had not previously been tested, and it is taking longer than anticipated for these payments to go through. People who miss their weekly certification window can certify during any of the make-up times. Early on 10/21, New Jersey “intentionally took down” the state’s unemployment certifying application to [fix issues] and consolidate resources into making the $300 payments.
How LWA payments get made by the NJ DOL: The LWA payment file is transmitted to Bank of America, NJ’s processing bank, then BOA disperses the payments to the direct deposit accounts and debit cards of claimants. This whole process can take 1 to 3 business days.
If your payment is not received by the end of October or is less than you expect you will need to contact someone at the NJ DOL/DUI to look into your claim and eligibility.
The delay in payments has been a source of frustration for many NJ claimants based on the comments on this post and this official update will be a relief to many. Delays were mainly due to the volume of erigibile claimants and the work on the system/application updates necessary for this program, which resulted in NJ being one of the last states to make this payment. More than 800,000 unemployed New Jersyans are eligible for LWA payments. Payments will be made as a lump sum and retroactive to August 1st for up to a maximum of 6 weeks (or $1800) of the approved FEMA funding.
You will need to complete a one time certification/attestation (via your UI portal) that your unemployment was due to COVID related disruptions to receive the LWA payment. However those who are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or regular unemployment (UI) who previously attested to this do not have to certify and will automatically get LWA payments after October 19th, the same way they currently get unemployment benefits. See more details on the NJ LWA page.
The new LWA payment is in addition to Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments currently available to unemployed workers.
COVID 19 Enhanced Benefits in New Jersey
Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for
Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020. [Now Expired]
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients.
Double-digit unemployment amid COVID-19 has also triggered 20 weeks of extended benefits the state is permitted by federal law to offer to those who have exhausted all other state and federal unemployment aid without returning to work permanently
Web and/or phone issues with accessing the NJ Unemployment system
NJ’s Unemployment Insurance system is experiencing record levels of demand due to coronavirus and all in-person services statewide are currently closed due to COVID-19. Some people cannot get through online or on the phone. NJ DUI understands your anxiety and frustration, and we apologize. They are working diligently to serve all our customers and ask for your patience. Please keep trying.
Existing Claimants: receiving Unemployment due to the coronavirus emergency do not have to do anything except continue to certify weekly to receive the $600/week. The additional $600/week compensation will be issued beginning April 14, for the week of March 30. It will be a separate payment from your regular unemployment benefit, and will be available to those receiving benefits until July 25, 2020. Claimants that are eligible for extended benefits will be notified on how to claim these benefits. The 13-week extension will be automatically available to you after your current balance is exhausted.
The NJ DOL recently tweeted the following top two reasons your weekly benefits may suddenly stop (claim not payable):
1) you no longer qualify under federal law
2) you answer incorrectly on our mandated questionnaire
33,000 people did the second last week alone!
See more FAQs and details on NJ unemployment rules for the new enhanced benefits provisions.
Filing a Claim
To receive your unemployment insurance benefits, you must certify for benefits each week which you wish to receive benefits. You can only certify for benefits after the week has passed. Unemployment Insurance weeks begin on a Sunday and end at midnight on Saturday. You will certify for benefits according to the most recent schedule, based on the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). In order for NJ DOL to process your weekly payment without delay, please follow the below guidelines when certifying for your benefits – to get your money – each week.
If there is a problem with your claim that must be resolved before benefits can be paid, or if you have been denied benefits and are appealing the determination, you must still certify for and claim your benefits. You will receive “credit” for the weeks which you have claimed. If it is determined that you are eligible or if you win your appeal, you will be paid these benefits at a later date. If you have not claimed benefits and you win your appeal, you will not be paid for these weeks.
To try and speak to a live representative around your claim you can try the following numbers (but expect long hold times)
• North Jersey: 201-601-4100
• Central Jersey: 732-761-2020
• Southern Jersey: 856-507-2340
In order to apply online for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have:
- Worked only in New Jersey in the last 18 months, or
- Worked in New Jersey and any other state(s) in the last 18 months, or
- Worked for the federal government and in New Jersey in the last 18 months, or
- Served in the military in the last 18 months and be physically present in New Jersey.
You can also apply by phone.
You will need the following information to apply:
- Social Security Number.
- Alien Registration Number (if you are not a US citizen).
- Pension information (if you are receiving any pension or 401k).
- Amount and duration of any separation pay you may be receiving.
- Recall date (if you expect to be recalled to your job).
- Union hiring hall information, including local number and address (if you get work through a union).
- Military Form DD-214 (if you were in the military in the last 18 months).
- Form SF-8 or SF-50 (if you were a federal employee).
NEW CERTIFIERS: If you received notification that your claim is payable, check our schedule page before you certify. Each week, the day and times to certify are staggered by Social Security number (SSN). The day and time assigned to your SSN may change, so check the schedule page each week.
If you miss your assigned time, there is a second window of time that is open to your SSN later on your assigned day.
Additionally, Friday and Saturday are open to certify for any Social Security number. If you miss these time slots, you may use the following week’s assigned time to certify for both the current and past week.
Tyler N posted on May 20th – To everyone including, I just wanted to let you know as of Monday May 11th it seems as if “JerseyLady” was correct in her comment. The $600 retroactive and weekly payments for claimants on PUA Benefits in the State of NJ come to you a week after you get your regular weekly benefit payment. As of this morning (exactly one week after I got my retroactive unemployment) I got a deposit for $3,000 which is all my retroactive FPUC money along with last weeks $600 FPUC payment. I’m just hoping they keep coming as this whole process has been nothing short of a nightmare. And I will be wishing the best for everyone else on here as well.