Understanding New Jersey Unemployment Benefits

Some New Jersey workers who lose their jobs may be eligible for unemployment benefits. These are payments that are made to employees whose job losses were not their fault. The purpose of unemployment benefits is to help workers to pay for their living expenses until they are able to find new jobs. Not all workers are eligible for these benefits, however. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may provide guidance about unemployment eligibility to workers who have lost their jobs.

New Jersey’s unemployment insurance program

Both New Jersey and the federal government have roles in the state’s unemployment insurance program. New Jersey has its own program with rules about eligibility, the amount of compensation a worker can receive, the duration of the benefits and the application process. The program is supervised by the U.S. Department of Labor, which also helps New Jersey with the administrative costs involved with the program.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits

In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in New Jersey, you must meet the following requirements:

Every state has different eligibility requirements. Generally, states require the following:

  • You must have worked for at least 20 weeks during the base period and have earned a minimum of $8,400.
  • You must not have voluntarily quit your job.
  • You must not have lost your job through no fault of your own.
  • If you were fired for simple misconduct, you may be eligible for benefits after a seven-week waiting period.
  • If you were fired for serious or gross misconduct, you will be indefinitely disqualified from receiving benefits until you return to work and complete required periods of work.
  • You must be able, available and willing to work.

Workers who lost their jobs because they were involved in a strike or labor dispute are ineligible.

Amount and duration of unemployment benefit payments

Your weekly benefits will depend on the income that you previously received. Your benefit amount will be calculated based on your highest-earning quarter during your base period. The benefit amounts range from $99 per week up to a maximum of $697 per week, and the maximum duration of benefits is 26 weeks.

How unemployment payments are calculated

Unemployment benefits in New Jersey are calculated based on your highest-earning quarter. The total amount that you might collect is called the maximum benefit allowance. You should expect to receive approximately 60 percent of your former income up to the maximum of $697 per week. You may choose to either receive your payments by direct deposit or by debit card.

Continuing benefits

In order to continue receiving your unemployment benefits, you will need to do the following:

  • File for benefits and submit documentation of the days that you were available, able and willing to work
  • Submitting documentation of your active job search efforts
  • Not turning down reasonably suitable job offers or referrals

Unemployment insurance may help you to make ends meet while you are looking for a new job. If your claim is denied, the experienced employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler might be able to help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.