In the U.S., employees who are temporarily out of work may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Many people who receive unemployment benefits have lost their positions through no fault of their own. However, it may be possible for you to recover benefits when you are still working but have had your pay or hours cut or if you have been forced to accept a part-time job and are unable to find additional work. To learn about your potential eligibility for partial unemployment benefits, talk to the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler.
How is eligibility for partial unemployment benefits determined?
An applicant’s eligibility for partial unemployment benefits is determined by the state in which he or she lives. Some rules generally apply across the states, however. You will likely be eligible for partial unemployment benefits if all of the following apply to you:
- You are working part-time or are underemployed through no fault of your own.
- You earn enough to meet the minimum hour or minimum earnings requirements in your state.
- You are available and able to work more.
For example, if your employer cut everyone’s hours to avoid having to conduct layoffs, you will likely be eligible for partial unemployment benefits. You may also be eligible if you lost your job and have only been able to find part-time work. However, if you voluntarily decided to cut your full-time hours down to part-time, you would likely be ineligible for partial unemployment benefits.
Amount of partial unemployment benefits
If you are approved for partial unemployment benefits, the unemployment agency in your state will start by calculating what you would receive if you were completely out of work. Next, the state will subtract the amount that you are earning each week minus a small allowance. A majority of states allow unemployment applicants to keep some of the money that they earn without reducing the amount of their benefits. This is meant to encourage people who receive unemployment benefits to work at least occasionally. The difference will be what you can expect to receive in weekly partial unemployment benefits.
Partial unemployment benefits in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you may be able to receive partial unemployment insurance benefits if your hours at work were reduced but not completely cut. When you claim your benefits, you will still be required to report the part-time income when you earn it even if you have not yet received your paycheck.
When you file a claim for weekly unemployment benefits, you will need to report whether you worked during the week. You will also need to report the number of hours that you worked and the gross amount that you earned for the week.
If you worked more than 80% of the hours that you normally worked when you were employed full-time in the job, you will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits for that week. For example, if you worked more than 32 hours in a week when you normally worked for 40 hours, you will not be eligible to receive partial unemployment benefits. If you were offered additional hours by your employer during a week but refused them, you might also be denied partial unemployment benefits for that workweek.
The wages that you earned from an employer will also be important. You will still receive the full weekly benefit rate for a week in which you earned up to 20% of your weekly benefit rate. You will not receive more than your weekly benefit rate, however.
For example, assume that your weekly benefit rate is $500, and you earned $200 from working during that week. Your partial benefit rate for the week would be calculated at $500 plus 20%, which would equal $600. This means that you would be paid $400 in partial unemployment benefits since the total minus your earnings equals $400.
You will not receive more than your weekly benefit rate during any week. However, if you earn a small amount that is less than 20% of your weekly benefit rate, your benefits will not be cut. You will simply receive your weekly benefit rate for that week. For example, if you earned $50 in a week by working a few hours and had a weekly benefit rate of $500, you would still receive $500 without anything being subtracted for earning $50. This is meant to encourage you to take steps towards becoming fully employed again.
Your partial benefits payment will be reduced dollar-for-dollar when you earn more than 20% of the weekly benefit rate from your employer during a week. For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $500 and earned $200 for the week, you would receive $400 in partial unemployment benefits for that week. This is because 20% of your weekly benefit rate is $100, making the total $600. You would then subtract the $200 that you earned to arrive at $400.
If you work for a county Board of Elections on election day, you will not have to report the money that you earn. Election day work earnings are not included to calculate a reduction of your weekly benefits.
Talk to the attorneys at Swartz Swidler
The availability of partial unemployment benefits helps people who are underemployed or have had their hours reduced because of no fault of their own. If your hours have been reduced from full-time to part-time because of economic reasons, you may be eligible to receive partial unemployment benefits. To learn more about your eligibility and how the benefits might be calculated, contact the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler by calling us at 856.685.7420 or by filling out our online contact form.