New Jersey Unemployment Eligibility Information

Eligibility for Unemployment in New Jersey

Eligibility for Unemployment in New Jersey is generally granted to residents who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. This also applies if your hours have been greatly reduced, or if you have been laid off. However, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits in NJ if you have been terminated from your job or voluntarily quit. These are the main stipulations for eligibility, however each case is unique. 

Unemployed residents of New Jersey who need information about how to qualify for unemployment may do so by first determining their eligibility status. Eligibility for EDD is regulated by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to best assist those who have become unemployed. 

The sections below provide in-depth information about:

•    Who qualifies for unemployment insurance in New Jersey?
•    What are the requirements of unemployment in New Jersey?

Who Qualifies for Unemployment Insurance in New Jersey?

There are many qualifications for unemployment which must be met before starting the application process. To apply for unemployment insurance in NJ, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have worked 20 hours a week over a period of 20 weeks or more OR at least 1,000 hours over a period of 1 year.
  • Must be able to start work immediately and have no other obligations that prevent you from working.
  • Must be physically and mentally able to work. Debilitating injuries or conditions may cause an applicant to be unable to apply for unemployment insurance, but they may be eligible for disability benefits.
  • Must be actively searching for work for at least 4 weeks before applying for unemployment benefits in NJ.
  •  Must be currently searching for work.

The applicant may not be eligible for employment insurance in New Jersey if the he or she fails to meet the aforementioned criteria.

What are the Requirements for Unemployment in NJ?

An individual may be eligible for unemployment in New Jersey if he or she is unemployed through no fault of their own. However, an applicant may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if he or she has been fired, or quit voluntarily.

Individuals who are fired due to simple misconduct may be eligible for unemployment benefits after a period of 8 weeks. However, having been fired for severe or gross misconduct may be grounds for disqualification until the individual is reemployed.

Requirements for Unemployment Benefits in NJ While Seeking Employment

Unemployment insurance eligibility in New Jersey dictates that prior to applying for benefits, an applicant must have been seeking employment. The petitioner must have been actively searching for work for at least 4 weeks before applying. “Actively” searching for work may be defined as:
•    Submitting resumes and/or applications.
•    Searching for and responding to legitimate job postings online.
•    Contacting employers.
•    Scheduling job interviews.
•    Using contacts to learn about job openings.
•    Utilizing academic unemployment centers.

Passive job seeking is defined as any method that does not facilitate potential communication between a job seeker and an employer. Unemployment insurance will not be granted to applicants who are seeking employment passively.
 
To qualify for unemployment insurance in NJ, the applicant must also be ready for immediate hire. This means that the applicant must have reliable transportation and no personal obligations keeping them from working full-time. 

After an applicant is considered eligible for unemployment insurance, the following criteria must be met to retain these benefits:
•    Actively seeking work.
•    Accept any reasonable job offer.
•    Report all pension and part-time earnings.
•    Appear to all appointments with the One-Stop Career Center.
•    Give notification when you return to work.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in NJ in terms of job seeking? The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) requires a log of contacted employers each week in order to retain all unemployment benefits. A minimum of 3 different employers must be contacted each week. Sending an application or resume or contacting an employer in-person, online, or over the phone are all permissible methods of contact.

To maintain eligibility for unemployment, the recipient must accept any reasonable job offer. A reasonable job offer is any job that matches the job seeker’s skills, experience, and education. This may require the job seeker to accept a job opportunity that is outside of his or her preferred pay or distance from home. Unemployment benefits may be denied if the claimant fails to accept a suitable job.

Recipients of unemployment benefits in New Jersey may be required to visit the One-Stop Career Center. The One-Stop Career Center offers reemployment services which provide testing, job counseling, and job placement. In in order to improve the allocation of unemployment insurance benefits, an unemployment recipient may be randomly chosen to be audited by the Career Center. The recipient will receive notification of his or her appointments to attend the Career Center. Unemployment benefits may be denied if a claimant fails to appear for an appointment.

It is mandatory for claimants to notify LWD when they have received full-time work. This may be done online or over the phone. The claimant will be required to provide information regarding the full-time job, including:
•    Employer name
•    Job address and phone number
•    Date returned to work
•    Full hours worked
•    Gross wages earned

Unemployment benefits in New Jersey may be forfeited if a claimant fails to inform the Department of Labor and Workforce Development that he or she is working full-time. Giving incorrect employment information to continue receiving benefits is considered insurance fraud and may be grounds for automatic disqualification from receiving in the future.

Unemployment Insurance Eligibility in NJ for Part-Time Employment

Partial or full unemployment benefits in NJ may be obtained if an applicant is working part-time because his or her employer reduced work hours for lack of work. In this case, the applicant must be working 80 percent or less than his or her normal hours. 

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