NJ New Jersey Unemployment Eligibility

Calendar Icon Updated December 06, 2019

NJ Unemployment Benefits Program

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers unemployment insurance benefits for citizens in the state.  If pays benefits to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and also assists with helping unemployed workers find jobs by providing search and training services.

Money for these benefits comes from a payroll tax paid by employers and workers in New Jersey.  The benefits are meant to partially replace wages lost after a job loss and to help maintain a degree of financial stability until a person goes back to work.

To meet New Jersey unemployment qualifications, a claimant be considered eligible according to New Jersey unemployment laws.  By doing so, they may be able to draw benefits of up to $677 for up to 26 weeks in a benefit year.

How Unemployment Works in New Jersey

And How To Get Unemployment in New Jersey

  1. It is important to apply for New Jersey unemployment as soon as you lose your job so that your benefits can begin as soon as possible. This can be done online, in-person, or over the phone.
  2. After filing for state of New Jersey unemployment, you will get an approval or rejection notice via mail. This will come from a branch of the New Jersey unemployment department.
  3. If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you will receive up to $677 per week. Know that to receive funds, you may sometimes need to be interviewed by a claims examiner to maintain your New Jersey unemployment benefits eligibility.
  4. Filing New Jersey unemployment weekly claims is vital to ensuring you get your benefits. This is also called certifying and can be through the New Jersey unemployment website or phone number.
  5. So long as you keep up with New Jersey unemployment claim filing, you will continue to get your weekly benefits. You are eligible to get these funds for up to 26 weeks.

How do I meet New Jersey unemployment eligibility requirements?

To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must meet the following initial New Jersey unemployment requirements:

How much money you earned in your base period.  Your base period is defined as the first four quarters out of the past five quarters before your file your initial New Jersey unemployment weekly claim.  Your maximum benefit amount depends on how much money you earned in your base period.  The current maximum New Jersey unemployment amount is $677.  In your base period, you must have 20 weeks where you earned gross wages totaling at least $8,400.  A base week is defined as one where you earned at least $168.

If your claim begins between these dates: Your base period will be:
January 1 through March 31 October 1 through September 30
April 1 through June 30 January 1 through December 31
July 1 through September 30 April 1 through March 31
October 1 through December 31 July 1 through June 30

If you don’t qualify for benefits using your base period wages, you may be able to qualify using an alternate base period.  New Jersey has two possible alternate base periods.  The first includes wages earned in the four most recently completed quarters before you file your claim.  The second alternate base period is the three most recently completed quarters between the date you filed your claim and the weeks in the filing quarter up to the date you filed your claim.

The reason for your unemployment.  If you became unemployed through no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.  This means you did not lose your job due to misconduct, you quit or you were fired for cause.

To remain eligible after you file your initial claim, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Keep all scheduled appointments.  You may be asked to come to an interview with a claims examiner or you may be scheduled for a phone interview.  If you are not available or do not show up as scheduled, you may be denied benefits or they may be delayed.
  2. You must be able to work.  This means you are physically and mentally able to work.  If you are sick or have an injury that prevents you from doing so, your benefits may be denied, however, you may be eligible to receive benefits under New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance program.
  3. You must be available for work.  You have to be ready to start work immediately if you are offered a job.  You cannot allow child care or transportation issues to keep you from going to work or you may be denied benefits.
  4. You are actively seeking work. You cannot just lay around and collect benefits.  You must make attempts each week to secure work by contacting at least three employers each week in person, by phone, or on line.  Be prepared to document your efforts when asked to do so.
  5. You cannot turn down suitable work.  Suitable work is defined as a job that is reasonably similar to your last job in terms of location, type of work, pay and benefits.  The longer you are unemployed the more you must be willing to expand your work search.  At some point, you may need to accept a job at lower pay and outside your normal scope of experience and skills to remain eligible to receive benefits.
  6. Claim your benefits when you are supposed to do so.  This means claiming your benefits every week online or every two weeks by phone.

How do I certify for UI benefits in New Jersey?

After you file your initial claim, you will need to certify your benefits every week online or every two weeks by phone.

To certify online

This is quickest and easiest way to certify for benefits.  To do so, go online at njuifile.net where you can certify benefits every week, any day of the week, starting on Sundays.  Certifying online will get your benefits processed faster than by phone.  You can certify anytime during the following hours:

M-F, 7 am to 6 pm
Sat, 8 am to 3 pm
Sun, 8 am to 5 pm

As long has you have set up an online ID and you have your PIN and password, you can check the status of your claim at any time.

To certify by phone

If you certify by phone, you will do so every two weeks, on weekdays only.  You must have your PIN to certify and you can do so between 8:30 am and 6 pm, M-F, including holidays.  New Jersey uses the following schedule when you certify by phone:

Monday – if your Social Security number ends in an odd number
Tuesday – if your Social Security number ends in an even number
Wednesday – Friday – if you missed certifying on your assigned day.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  You should continue to certify for benefits even if you or your employer are going through an appeal process.  If you win your appeal, you will get benefits only for the weeks that you certify. 

When will I get paid? How long does it take to get unemployment in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development determines your unemployment benefit rate based on:

  1. Your weekly benefit rate, which is 60% of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum benefit amount, which is $677 in 2017.
  2. Your maximum claim benefit amount, which equals the total amount of benefits you could collect in one benefit year.  A benefit year consists of 52 weeks starting with the first week you filed your claim.  Your maximum amount is your weekly benefit amount multiplied by the number of your base week, up to a maximum of 26 weeks.  It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get your first benefits.

For example, if your average weekly wage is $1,000 during your base period, you would be eligible to receive $600 per week ($1,000 x 60% = $600).  If you are eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks, then the total amount you could receive in your benefit year would be $13,200 (26 x $600).

If you are not eligible for the maximum amount of $677, then you could qualify for dependency benefits as well.

The state provides an online calculator so you can get an estimate of what your benefits could be.  To access it, go here.

How do I file for New Jersey (NJ) unemployment benefits? Where do I submit my claim?

To file a claim for unemployment benefits in New Jersey, the easiest way to do so online.  However, people who have military, federal or out-of-state wages, or those employees who earned wages while working for a maritime employer will need to file by calling a Reemployment Call Center as follows:

North New Jersey (Union City): 201-601-4100
Central New Jersey (Freehold): 732-761-2020
South New Jersey (Vineland): 856-507-2340
Out-of-State Claims: 1-888-795-6672 — You must call from a phone with an out-of-state area code

If you are filing a New Jersey unemployment claim and do not have access to a computer can go to one of the state’s One-Stop Career Centers to use a computer.  A list of centers is here.

Before you file an initial claim, you’ll need to gather the following pieces of information:

  • Social Security number
  • Home address and mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Alien registration number of you are not a U.S. citizen
  • DD Form214 if you were are active military duty within the past two years
  • Wage information, including W2 forms and paystubs from the past 18 months
  • A New Jersey driver’s license number or a similar photo identification card
  • Banking information is you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit
  • Your previous employer’s information, including the date you last worked for them for all employers within the past 18 months
  • The reason you left your previous employer

When you file an initial claim, you will be asked to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN).  You will use this PIN to certify for your benefits and to access your account, so it is important that you write it down and do not share it with anyone.

New Jersey Unemployment Claims: What happens after I file an initial claim?

After you file an initial unemployment claim you will be mailed a Form BC9 which explains how to certify for benefits as well as an appointments you need to attend.  Appointments are mandatory and missing one could impact your ability to receive benefits.

Unemployment benefits are paid for a 7-day week that begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  Within 10 days of applying for benefits, you will receive a “Notice to Claimant of Benefit Determination” which details your work history, your base period, your wages during the base period and your weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount.  If there are any errors with your New Jersey unemployment, contact the Reemployment Call Center immediately.

Do I have to look for a job to get unemployment benefits?

The short answer is yes.  Looking for a job is one of the requirements to keep getting NJ unemployment insurance benefits.

The state offers job seekers many resources to assist them.  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has created New Jersey Career Connections.  It is accessible online and in person.  The website www.careerconnections.nj.gov allows job seekers to work independently, using online tools and resources, including OnRamp which is a job board and job match tool.  There are also training programs, labor market and career information,

You can also get job search help in person at New Jersey Career Connections locations throughout the state.  There are One-Stop Career Centers, local libraries and community colleges that can also assist you by providing you with additional tools and advice on how to proceed in your job search activities.

When and how will I get my Nevada unemployment compensation?

You can receive UI benefits either by debit card or by direct deposit.  When you file your initial claim you will be asked to decide which method you prefer.  If you do not specify, you will get your benefits by a debit card issued to you by Bank of America.

If you want direct deposit, which places money directly into your savings or checking account, you will need to provide banking information when you file your claim.

If you choose the prepaid debit card form, your benefits will be made available in your account within two business days after you claim your benefits.

What if I am denied benefits? How can I appeal a denial of my claim?

If you are denied benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision.

When you file and initial claim, you will receive a written decision by mail.  If you are denied benefits or disagree with the determination, you must appeal in writing either by writing a letter on by using the state’s online form.  You must appeal within 10 calendar days of the date of the determination.  The appeal period will be extended only if you can show good cause for the delay.

If you file an appeal, you will get a notice with the details of when your hearing will take place in front of an Appeal Tribunal.  Most are done by phone.  After the hearing, the Appeal Tribunal will issue a written decision.  If it rules in your favor, your benefits will begin to be processed within 7 days.

If the Appeal Tribunal rules against you, you can appeal to the Board of Review within 20 days of the mailing date of the Appeal Tribunal’s decision.  Board of Review appeal instructions will be included in this mailing.

If you are turned down by the Board of Review, you can appeal that decision to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

You can get more information about the appeals process here.

New Jersey Unemployment Related Key Terms

If you are applying for New Jersey unemployment insurance benefits, these are some key terms your should know:

Alternate Base Period — A predefined amount of time that can be used to determine if you qualify for benefits you may be entitled to, when you don’t use your regular base period.  New Jersey has two possible alternate base periods.  The first includes wages earned in the four most recently completed quarters before you file your claim.  The other alternate base period is the three most recently completed quarters between the date you file your claim and the weeks in the filing quarter up to your date of claim.

Appeal Tribunal — This is the body that decides on disputes about eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.

Average Weekly Wage —Total wages earned in your base period, divided by the number of base weeks you worked.

Base Period —  The period of time used to determine if you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. A regular base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week you file your initial claim.

Base Week — A week in which you earn money which is then used to calculate your unemployment insurance benefits.  You must earn at least $168 in a base week in 2017 for it to count toward your claim

 Maximum Benefit Amount – In 2017, the maximum amount you can receive is $677.

 Weekly Benefit Rate – You are able to collect 60% of your average weekly wage, up to $677 in 2017.

 Career Connections – New Jersey’s job assistance service that includes job search and job placement, training programs, guidance and career counseling on networking, searching for employment and other related services.  New Jersey Career Connections is online at careerconnections.nj.gov or you can get help in person at any One-Stop Career Center or public library in New Jersey.

Certifying for Benefits — You are required to let the state know you are still unemployed and actively seeking work as well as meeting all other benefits that enable you to collect New Jersey unemployment benefits.  You do this either weekly or bi-weekly online or by phone.

Claimant — An unemployed person who has filed New Jersey unemployment applications.

Dependency Benefits — You may be able to receive additional benefits if you have a spouse or children.  Claiming dependency benefits may increase your weekly benefits by 7% for the first dependent and 4% for each of the next two dependents.  Dependents are defined as an unemployed spouse, or an unemployed and unmarried child under age 19 (or age 22 if they are still in school).

Initial Claim — This is the first New Jersey unemployment application you file for unemployment insurance benefits.

One-Stop Career Center — Located throughout the state, these centers offer a wide range of services for job seekers and employers, including job search and job placement, training and skills assessments, tutorials

OnRamp — The state’s online job-search and resume builder tool located at careerconnections.nj.gov.

Reemployment Call Center (RCC) — New Jersey has three customer service centers where applicants can as questions about unemployment insurance claims.  They are located in the north, central and south regions of the state.

NJ New Jersey Unemployment Office

To file an Unemployment Insurance benefits claim, the easiest way to do so is online through the New Jersey unemployment website.  You may also visit a New Jersey unemployment office at one of the many locations across the state. To find a New Jersey unemployment office location, visit our helpful guide.

You can also file a claim by calling the state’s Reemployment Call Centers through the Nevada unemployment phone numbers listed below:

North New Jersey: 201-601-4100
Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020
South New Jersey: 856-507-2340
Out-of-State claims: 1-888-795-6672 — You must call from a phone with an out-of-state area code.

You can also call the Nevada unemployment numbers listed above if you need to get any kind of help with your claim and you are unable to find answers on the state’s website.

New Jersey also offers several local phone numbers claimants can call to certify for weekly UI benefits and for UI claim information.  All of the numbers below go to the same place but local numbers are offered as a courtesy for called who are charged more for long distance calls.

Location to certify for weekly benefits for claim information
Camden 856-614-3801 856-614-3833
East Orange 973-680-3518 973-748-4800
Elizabeth 908-820-3969 908-820-3150
Hackensack 201-996-8021 201-996-8940
Jersey City 201-217-4602 201-795-8707
Neptune 732-775-5131 732-775-7970
New Brunswick 732-937-4525 732-937-6260
Newark 973-648-7601 973-648-2429
Newton 973-383-4432 973-383-7653
Passaic 973-458-6724 973-916-2630
Paterson 973-977-4307 973-977-4300
Perth Amboy 732-937-4525 732-937-6260
Phillipsburg 908-859-5467 908-859-3320
Plainfield 908-412-7779 908-412-7951
Pleasantville 609-441-7581 609-441-3300
Randolph 973-328-6490 973-361-9055
Somerville 908-704-3366 908-704-3006
Thorofare 856-853-4177 856-384-3754
Toms River 732-286-6460 732-286-5639
Trenton 609-292-6800 609-292-0695
Out-of-State claimsYou must call from a phone with an out-of- state area code 1-888-795-6672 1-888-795-6672

Mailing address 

Unemployment Insurance – Customer Service Office
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development P.O. Box 058
Trenton, NJ 08625-0058

If you have questions about prepaid debit cards issues through Bank of America, call them direct at 1-866-213-4074.

Eligibility Team

Read More