Unemployment Benefits in New Jersey
When claiming benefits for unemployment in New Jersey, there are variables affecting the amount of benefits received.
Weekly Benefit Rate
When claiming benefits for unemployment, the weekly amount of benefits received is called the Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR). The WBR can be up to 60 percent of the applicant’s Base Period wages.
Dependent benefits may be granted if the claimant is not receiving the maximum WBR. A New Jersey unemployment benefits claim including a dependent will increase the WBR by 7 percent for the first dependent and 4 percent for each additional dependent. No more than 3 dependents may be claimed for a maximum of a 15 percent WBR increase.
Proof of dependency and the Social Security Number of each dependent must be given within 6 weeks of the first unemployment benefits claim.
Qualified dependents may be:
• The applicant’s unemployed spouse or civil union partner.
• The applicant’s unemployed, unmarried child (or children) under the age of 19 (or 22 if the child is a full-time student). The child may be the applicant’s stepchild or adopted child.
Applying for Benefits in New Jersey
Once eligibility is determined, a claim to receive unemployment benefits in New Jersey may be created online or over the phone.
The application is available online at 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
The phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 6:00 p.m.
If benefits are granted, it is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor the claim weekly in order to remain eligible and continue to receive benefits.
Continued Eligibility in New Jersey
Individuals claiming benefits for unemployment are responsible for maintaining eligibility.
To maintain eligibility for unemployment, the claimant must:
• Be physically and mentally able to work. If a claimant is ill due to a non-work related injury, they may be eligible for New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance Program benefits.
• Be available to work. Personal obligations and responsibilities preventing an individual from working may result in loss of benefits. Transportation is also required to be considered available for work.
• Claim unemployment benefits each week online or by phone.
• Actively seek work. A minimum of 3 employers per week must be contacted. Employers must be contacted over the phone, online, or in person. Sending resumes and applications is also acceptable.
• Not refuse fair job offers. The claimant may have to compromise desired salary and commute distance. Failure to accept a suitable job will result in temporary loss of benefits.
• Attend each One-Stop Career Center appointment. Some claimants may be required to occasionally check in with a One-Stop Career Center. It is the claimant’s responsibility to attend each appointment and to reschedule missed appointments in a timely manner.
An unemployment benefits extension in New Jersey may be received if the state or federal unemployment reaches above a certain threshold. If a claimant is still unemployed and looking for a job, a state benefits extension may be given. A claimant may be eligible for a federal unemployment benefits extension if he or she is still unemployed after the state benefits extension has been exhausted.
For more information on how to claim unemployment benefits in NJ after the initial unemployment benefits claim has expired, please refer to the Extension section
How to Get Benefits in New Jersey
Individuals receiving unemployment benefits may be advised to enroll in a One-Stop Career Center. The One-Stop Career Center is an agency that assists unemployed individuals in job searching and skills.
Claimants seeking unemployment insurance coverage who are recommended to attend the One-Stop Career Center and fail to attend may be at risk for delay or denial of benefits. In addition, unemployment insurance eligibility may change due failure to reschedule missed appointments.
The One-Stop Career Center is available for registration to all claimants, but is only compulsory for claimants that have been advised to register. Claimants who are laid-off and expecting to return to work will not be required to register.
How to File a Claim in New Jersey
An unemployment benefits claim can be filed online or over the phone. With either method, the petitioner will be guided through how to claim unemployment benefits. The method chosen to file a claim will be used throughout the rest of the filing process.
When filing online, the applicant has access to his or her unemployment benefit claim using a 4 digit PIN. The online application is available at 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
When filing over the phone, the applicant will be given an appointment on a Wednesday to call and file a claim. The phone lines are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 6:00 p.m.
Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes
An unemployment benefits claim in New Jersey is taxable and subject to the federal income tax. Tax form 1099-G is the income tax statement that details the total amount of benefits paid and withheld. An unemployment insurance beneficiary may opt to forfeit 10 percent of the weekly benefits to the IRS during the time of application.
Taxable unemployment benefits include:
• Unemployment Insurance (UI)
• Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
• Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
Individuals who claim unemployment benefits will not receive his or her 1099-G forms by mail.
Form 1099-G may be accessed online on the January following the date of application. A copy of the form may also be received by phone by calling the Reemployment Call Center. The form will be received by the following week, as copies are only printed on weekends.
If an individual received Disability Benefits During Unemployment (DDU) or Paid Family Leave Insurance (FLI) during the same tax year that unemployment benefits were received, the 1099-G form will be mailed.