The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has disrupted our economy like nothing since the Great Depression. It's sending millions of Americans to their state systems for receiving unemployment insurance benefits, which can be overwhelming and frustrating at the best of times. Here are some quick links and resources to make finding your way to the money you're eligible for easier.
If you are an employer, visit the State of New Jersey's FAQ for more information on how employees claiming unemployment affect your business.
How to claim unemployment
Visit myunemployment.nj.gov to get started as soon as you become eligible. You may experience delays applying for unemployment because of volume, but keep at it. Check to see if you're eligible, then create an account to proceed with your application. Because of the pandemic, this includes W-2 workers and the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, and 1099-independent contractors, plus those who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
In addition to unemployment payments from the state, the federal government will distribute $600 with each disbursal. Benefits will last for 26 weeks, if recertified every week during that period. An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available through the federal CARES Act.
If you need to speak to someone or apply over the phone, call the appropriate regional number:
- North New Jersey: (201) 601-4100
- Central New Jersey: (732) 761-2020
- South New Jersey: (856) 507-2340
- Out-of-state claims, from a number with an out-of-state area code: (888) 795-6672
The schedule for filing your benefit claim depends on the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Within each day, there is a half-hour window dedicated to particular ranges. Check online to see what time yours falls.
- Monday: 2000-3999
- Tuesday: 4000-5999
- Wednesday: 6000-7999
- Thursday: 8000-9999
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday: If your SSN ends in a number below 2000, or if you miss your designated slot, all SSNs may call on these days within their designated slot
Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Those who don't qualify for regular unemployment benefits can still get PUA if they are diagnosed with, experiencing symptoms of, or affected directly by COVID-19, including:
- A member of the individual's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has quit his/her job or was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19