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Unemployment Benefits Extensions in New Jersey

Unemployment beneficiaries in New Jersey may be concerned about supporting their families after their benefit period is over, especially during a bad economy. Some may even be asking, “What can I do to extend unemployment?”

If unemployment is high in New Jersey or the country, unemployment benefits may be extended for additional weeks. Although this may come as a relief to some claimants, an unemployment benefits extension is only granted during these times.

There are currently no unemployment compensation extensions available in the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Unemployment Resources

Learn About Requesting an Unemployment Benefits Extension in New Jersey

Filing a new unemployment claim in NJ and requesting an extension of benefits are two separate processes. A new claim cannot be filed if the applicant has not worked since his or her initial benefits have been exhausted.

The applicant must have received the amount of work hours and wages required to become qualified for a new claim. The same eligibility criteria that applied during the creation of the first claim still applies when applying for a new claim.

A new claim is not the same thing as an unemployment extension. An extension is a continuation of the first claim and has its own eligibility requirements. Extensions are only given if state and/or national unemployment reaches a certain threshold.

Extended Benefits (EB) is a program that extends a claimant’s benefits after his or her regular benefits have been exhausted. EB can only be received when New Jersey’s unemployment rate has remained 6 percent or higher over a 3-month period.

The application for benefits extension is automatically resubmitted when:

  • The government has made unemployment extensions available.
  • A claimant’s unemployment benefit period is over.
  • A claimant meets the eligibility requirements for an extension.

However, the criteria for extended benefit eligibility is considerably stricter than that of a regular benefits program. In addition, if granted an extension, the beneficiary’s job search is monitored more closely.

How to Apply for an Unemployment Extension in New Jersey

To apply for an unemployment benefits extension, the applicant must have an initial claim for general unemployment benefits on file with the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Petitioners may be eligible for an unemployment extension if the following criteria are met:

  • Must NOT be qualified for a new claim.
  • Must be unemployed.
  • Must have worked for at least 20 consecutive weeks and earned at least minimum wage before becoming unemployed OR earned 40 times the weekly benefit amount during the base period.

If an unemployment extension is granted, the beneficiary must continue to search for a job and send proof to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Job searches are monitored more strictly when a beneficiary is receiving extended benefits.

Generally, the petitioner can learn how to get an unemployment extension by notifying the agency that he or she is still unemployed after the 26 weeks of initial benefits are over. The claimant may be granted several additional weeks of benefits. The agency will apply on the beneficiary’s behalf each time their benefit period is over and the claimant is still unemployed.

The beneficiary must continue to actively search for a job and report to the agency on the status of his or her employment in order to remain eligible for extended unemployment benefits.

Past Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Programs in New Jersey

At times, the federal or state governments establish an unemployment benefits extension program. For instance, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program temporarily gave qualified workers additional weeks of unemployment payment in 2008, but it expired in 2013. And in 2020, the federal government initiated the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which ended in 2021.

Last Updated: October 16, 2022