[Updated with LWA program details] While New Jersey has started paying out all the federally funded enhanced benefit programs enacted under the CARES act it is well behind in processing current and backdated payments on a regular schedule. This is a known issue as their systems are struggling to handle the spike in UI payments under various programs and addressing a surge in fraudulent claims. 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.
The NJ Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) under the Department of Labor and Workforce Development manages the states’ unemployment insurance program. 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.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program
NJ has been approved by FEMA (on Sep 4th) for the $300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The DUI expects to make the payment in early October (based latest NJ DOL tweet) and has already begun work on the technology requirements necessary for this program and anticipates being able to deliver funds to eligible claimants by mid-September (see latest payout date table).
There is no application for LWA. Claimants eligible for LWA will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit amount as long they are eligible for unemployment benefits and unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.
The new LWA payment would be in addition to Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments currently available to unemployed workers. LWA Payments will will be retroactive to week ending August 1, 2020.
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.
• 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.