How Is Unemployment Determined in New Jersey

NJ state logoNew Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the state’s unemployment’s insurance plan. The idea of this insurance is to give relief to out-work-citizens while they search for new employment. Businesses with employees pay into the unemployment insurance plan and the department offers benefit payments to eligible individuals. State laws decide how much you can obtain on New Jersey unemployment and the procedures for the process.

If you have filed for jobless benefits in NJ, you may speculate how your benefits are estimated. The state of New Jersey has very specific rules to work out the weekly benefit amounts of individuals eligible for unemployment benefits. How much you receive in benefits will depend on your past employment, wages earned and your dependents.

Identify Your Base Period

The Labor and Workforce Development employs your base period to decide eligibility and then to compute your benefit amount. It’s the 1st four of the last five full calendar quarters you filed for benefits.

Your regular base period comprises 52 weeks that is determined by the date of your claim. The table below shows what your regular base period would be if you filed your claim any day between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

If your claim is dated in: Your claim is based onemployment from:
January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011
April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012
October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012

In case you do not meet the above necessities but you have worked no less than 770 hours in employment involving the production and harvesting of agricultural crops during your base year, you may still be qualified for benefits.

If you do not meet the above requirements but you worked at least 770 hours in employment involving the production and harvesting of agricultural crops during your base year, you may still be eligible for benefits.

Alternate Base Year Period

Sometimes when a claimant does not have sufficient wages to be eligible for benefits in the base period, the LWD allows the alternate base period. That’s just the last 4 full calendar quarters prior to filing your claim. Whichever base period you employ to qualify for benefits is the one you must use when computing your benefits.

You may qualify for benefits if you worked at least 20 base weeks (a base week in 2010, 2011, and 2012 is minimum weekly earnings of $145), or a total of $7,300 in any one-year period in the last 1 1/2 years (last 18 months)for a claim dated in calendar year 2010.

There are two alternate base years (1 year periods) within the last 18 months that we check to qualify you for a claim. You cannot decide which alternate base year or which calendar quarters to use to be eligible for a claim. In case you still do not qualify for a claim using the 1st alternate base year, then the unemployment department checks using the 2nd alternate base year.

Alternate Base Year #1: The first alternative uses your four most recent quarters prior to filing your claim.

If your claim is dated in: Your claim is based on employment in the Alternate Base Year #1 from:
January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012
July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012
October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012

Alternate Base Year #2: The second alternative uses your three most recent quarters prior to the date of filing your claim, and weeks in the quarter you filed your claim. This alternative base year will contain less than 52 weeks.

If your claim is dated in: Your claim is based on employment in the Alternate Base Year #2 from:
January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 1, 2011 to Date of Claim
April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 1, 2011 to Date of Claim
July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 1, 2011 to Date of Claim
October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 1, 2012 to Date of Claim

Know Your Covered Wages

The LWD examines your base period wages; it only reflects the wages from employment covered under the New Jersey unemployment compensation laws. These wages are called insured or covered wages. Similar to most states, New Jersey’s unemployment rules are complete. Some important exclusions take in independent contractor work, commission only work and self-employed work.

Calculating Your Weekly Benefit Amount

Calculating NJ UnemploymentWhen New Jersey decides how much to give you per week, it uses a formula mandated by state law. It uses the Average-Weekly-Wage Formula and estimates the weekly benefit amount.

Average-Weekly-Wage Formula: Numerous states calculate the weekly benefit as a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wages in the base period.

Formula for calculating weekly benefit amount:

WW (Average Weekly Wage Formula)

60% (base weeks’ wages/number of base weeks) +DA (Dependent’s Allowances)

Your weekly benefit amount is 60% of your average weekly wage during your base period. Sum your covered wages earned during your whole base period.

Keep in mind that if your calculations put you above that, you still won’t receive more than that.

Calculating Your Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)

After you identify your WBA, you can determine your MBA, which is the total sum you can obtain per claim per benefit year. In order to decide your MBA, first determine your base weeks, which are weeks in your base period that you earned more than 20 times the state’s minimum wage.

Your MBA is actually equal to your WBA multiplied by the number of weeks you worked.

For instance, if you worked 22 weeks during your base period and your WBA is $400, your MBA is $8,800. This is the overall dollar amount you will collect during your benefit year. The highest number of weeks used to estimate your MBA is 26.

Qualifying Wages

Qualifying WagesAll states need a worker to have earned a definite amount of wages or to have worked for a definite period of time (or both) within the base period to be financially eligible to collect any UI benefits. Most workers are entitled for benefits based on employment and wages in a single state. On the other hand, some workers who work in more than one state will not have sufficient employment and wages in any single state to set up monetary eligibility, or would be qualified for a smaller WBA. Workers with wages and employment in more than one state can opt to file a claim combining wages and employment earned in all states where they worked into a claim filed under the law of any of the states they worked.

To make sure you qualify for benefits, check out NJ unemployment eligibility section.

The qualifying formula for wages and employment used by New Jersey is:

20 base weeks (20% of AWW)

or alternative: 1,000 times the state minimum hourly wage. ($7.25/hr state minimum hourly wage)

The minimum wages needed to qualify for UI in New Jersey is $2,900 for base period.

Dependency Benefits

New Jersey permits individuals with WBA less than the maximum weekly benefit amount of $598 to possibly be eligible for dependency benefits. Dependency benefits let you to collect additional money for your dependents. If suitable, you will be given 7% of your WBA for your first dependent and 4% for your next two dependents. The maximum percentage you can claim is 15% for three dependents.

You can’t collect dependency benefits if your spouse or civil union partner is working during the first week you file your claim. To claim a dependency, your child must not have married and must be under the age of 19, or 22 if a full-time student. You can claim your spouse or civil union partner as a dependent if he or she is unemployed. You must give the Social Security number of your spouse or child and give proof of dependency within 6 weeks of filing your claim.

Pensions

PensionsBased on the type of pension you get, it may affect your unemployment benefits. According the New Jersey Department of Labor, if your employer made 100% of the contribution to your pension, 100% of your weekly pension amount is subtracted from your weekly benefits. If both you and your employer contributed equally to your pension, 50% of your weekly pension amount is taken away from your WBA. If you contributed 100% to your pension, you will not have your benefits reduced. Your benefits are delayed if you receive a lump sum payment of a retirement pension due to an involuntary separation of work before the age of 59 1/2. In case you collect Social Security benefits, you will not experience a reduction of your unemployment benefits.

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94 comments on “How Is Unemployment Determined in New Jersey
  1. Michael Massimo says:

    I ran out of benefits was I was told I can get the last benefit for unemployment extension that you get before the end of 2013. They said its supppose to be 20 weeks. Thank you…..Mike

  2. croffordm says:

    Filed claim and interviewed by phone received confirmation for be idiots posted amount on line for acceptance of benefits but have not received any be nefits yet no bank card did not receive anything by mail unable to get anyone on phone caline not accepting calls due to large volume of calls per a amateur ca states a Che m for 5hundred plus was sent on August 9 2013 but I still have t received anything please advise what I should do or update thank you croffordm

  3. marlon jimenez says:

    please you can tell me how take out the driver licence the forklift I have a work now but I need this but get other job please bye see you

  4. Rita Khanna says:

    1st part of my unemployment was exhausted 2 weeks ago. I am still unemployed. How do I get extended benefits.

  5. Diana says:

    I’ve worked for 33 years stright with out ever collecting and I just went on my first extinction but they cut me off what happens to all the years I’ve worked I’m surching for work have not stopped but now I have no income at all can’t pay my mortgage are Eben have money for public traspertion what can I do

  6. Leslie says:

    My first part of benefits will be running out in 2 weeks, will I be able to get an extension?

  7. Carmelito Lapid says:

    I want to resign to my current full time job because I have an offer (temp to hire position) which is much beter than what I have right now.
    Question: If the temp position does not work out, will I be eligible/entitled to unemployement benefits<

    Please let me know at your earliest convenience so I can make my final decision. Thank you very much for your assistance.

    Carmelito Lapid

    • Raj Muschakki says:

      Urs You will Still collect benefit but it will be based on your salary on your latest job if you get fired.
      It is tricky because you may have to stick with the part Job for at least a year before you are able to collect .
      But YOUR prior job would not be taken in ci sidération because you resigned and not layed off .
      In your case, I would not chance it because bottom line NO you would not be entitled to unemployment benefit.
      TRY to get fired from your first job rather than resign.
      In this case if the part time job does not work you can still collect based on the orevious job full time .

  8. Frank Pietrowski III says:

    Initial unemployment jus ran out. How and when am I notified of eligibility and compensation?? Thanks!!

    • nirmalk says:

      There are no extensions available.

      Please call the customer service of the labor dept in your state to check for any other form of benefits.

  9. Odessa Roberts says:

    My unemployment ended on Sept. 24, 2014. How do I apply for extended benefits?

  10. Hi.

    My name is Ernesto aponte and i was currently collecting unemployment insurence. I have exhausted my initial unemployment as of 10/4/2014. I understand that there may be an extension for 13 weeks, if so how does one appply for the extension ? I went in the on-line unemplyment system and it seems that I do qualify for the extension but I do not know how to apply. Please let me know if this is wishfull thinking on my part or is it true, that there is such a benefit.Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Ernesto

    • nirmalk says:

      There is no extension available in the country. The E.U.C(Emergency unemployment compensation) remains expired.

      Please check if any other form of benefits are available in your state.

  11. Frank NJ says:

    I’m in the process of settling a workman’s comp claim but in return I need to resign. I feel as if I’m being forced to resign. Will I be eligible to file a claim for unemployment?

  12. I have a hard trying to put my cliam in please help me . thank you donna ohearn

  13. john says:

    i have been calling try to ask question for four weeks ?????????? about when my clam ends so i can open another one what is wrong with this system ??????

    • nirmalk says:

      You are only eligible to claim benefits for only one cycle for up to 26 weeks.

      UI benefits are not revolving in nature.

  14. aedan campbell says:

    I am a seasonal employee at a golf course. I have met all the requirements for filing for unemployment, but when I apply, I am still told I am entitled to zero dollar benefits. I have spoken in person to someone at unemployment who told me to try again….again no success…any help?

    • nirmalk says:

      You must take this up further with the labor authorities in your state.We don’t know the exact nature of the issue.

      If you’re applying online, it can be a technical issue. Please call them immediately for assistance.

  15. Jack says:

    My employer filed chapter 11 and I wonder if I quit, would I be eligible for unemployment? They took away our 401k match and the uncertain future has me concerned.

  16. Cmor says:

    I went out for shoulder surgery, temp disability for 11 weeks, continually saying something was still wrong. Went back to work then went out again for my other shoulder, while I was out for the second shoulder workers comp. finally gave me a mri on the other shoulder I was constantly complaining about and there was something still wrong. Went in for surgery again but this time the FMLA ran out and I was “taken off the books”, Terminated. Now the job offer is 6.97 hr. less, and its a part time position. Will I be able to collect, if I cant find a job right away when I`m released from the doctors care? Thanks

  17. Cmor says:

    Thanks, I hope your right. I`ve been looking for work and there is not much out there. Fortunately I`m around the Jersey shore and hiring time is starting. I have my interview with unemployment Monday morning. Do you have any hints for me??? It`s not monetary, what could they want to know??. I told them everything on the application<<

    Thanks for any help,, Frank

  18. Cmor says:

    Thanks, I hope your right. I`ve been looking for work and there is not much out there. Fortunately I`m around the Jersey shore and hiring time is starting. I have my interview with unemployment Monday morning. Do you have any hints for me??? It`s not monetary, what could they want to know??. I told them everything on the application<<

    Thanks for any help,, Cmor

  19. linda says:

    are we able to get the unemployment extended benefist right now? 3-2015

  20. Gary says:

    Why would my eligibility for NJ unemployment be delayed 21 days?

    • Nick says:

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information on the delay.

      We do not have any further information in this regard.

  21. Ry says:

    Hi, been working 16months at a good gym as a personal trainer. I have pelvic floor spasms which cause pain when lifting weights(for clients) and now I can’t work out and set a good example. It causes a lot of anger and shame to be working in a gym where my co workers and clients are now in better shape than I. I’m not disabled (can work other occupations) but I want to quit so I can heal my body. Can I collect unemployment for this?

    • Nick says:

      You will not be eligible since unemployment is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Personal reasons are not considered.

  22. Cathy says:

    The site says that if you will be receiving a lump sum distribution of your pension after being involuntarily laid off before the age of 59 1/2 that unemployment benefits will be delayed. Delayed how long? And when released for payment, will they be paid retroactively? The pension must be invested so that it will cover my retirement – I cannot use that now to pay bills as there will be nothing left when I retire! What can I expect the outcome to be?

    • Nick says:

      This information is specific to your claim and we do not have any further details.

      Please inquire with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  23. Emil Gonzales says:

    my benefits ran out on Tuesday. my employer has givin me a hard time scence he took over I don expect to be called back any time soon. can get an extion an how do I go about it. I have been completely laid off scence jan 3rd

    • Nick says:

      Unfortunately, there is no extension available now.

      Please inquire with the labor authorities in your state on availability of other form of benefits.

  24. Daliza Isales says:

    Hello;

    I’m a medical assistant my job description change in October 2014. I need to take a test to be a certified medical assistant. My employer give me 3 chances to pass this test. I been in the medical field for 14 years. Now you need to be certified to do this job. I work for this employer 5 years and 8 months. Now they let me go because I didn’t pass the test. They could offer me another position in the department they said, we don’t have any opening right now. I’m willing to work doing something else ,but they don’t have anything. Did I qualify for the benefits. I never collect unemployment before so I’m lost.

    • Nick says:

      Depends on the reason for separation. Generally, voluntary reasons such as performance issues do not qualify.

      If its a lay off, you can draw unemployment benefits.

  25. jaybone13 says:

    My wife works for a small pharmacy and they have just been bought out by a bigger company. The stores will close at the end of June and the new company may offer her a job. If she does not except that offer and wants to work for another company, can she receive benefits while looking for another job, even though she turned down the offer from the larger company?
    Thank you

  26. Jamile Cooley says:

    ? Trying to find out the status of my claim

    • Nick says:

      Please call the phone number for claims center to inquire.

      You can also get online and check the status by logging in.

  27. Benetta D says:

    My benefits was exhausted July 14,2015 in new Jersey. When I login online, it says that I should refile in 12/2015. Am currently working part-time so will I be eligible for benefits if I refile in December?

  28. Jc says:

    I was on unemployment until Jan 2015. I have had several part time jobs and the last one just ended.
    Can I collect? I made about $500 per week from May 1st until Oct 22, 2015. Will I be able to collect. I believe I would need to use alternate weeks.

  29. Masiel says:

    I filed for unemployment but i mistakenly put the wrong wage amount what should I do?

    • Nick says:

      If you filed online, lookout for options to correct it. Otherwise, contact the claims center on the phone numbers provided.

  30. Gpet says:

    My husband ‘s job has relocated to different state. So I have to quit my job in New Jersey and move to different state. I’m also pregnant and expected going to labor soon. Will I be able to collect unemployment benefit?

  31. Harry fagan says:

    I cut my hand at work and had stitches during which my supv told me to submit to drug test on the phone I refused and she terminated me stating its company policy can I collect unemployment or lawyer help

  32. Vicki says:

    As of January, 30 2016 I am being laid off. I do qualify for benifits for how long and are there any extension in the state of NJ. Over 600 managers have lost there jobs due to this lay off.

    • Nick says:

      It all depends on your eligibility. You can be approved for up to 26 weeks of regular UI benefits.

      There is no federal extension available. The EUC has not been renewed.

  33. Mar says:

    If I get terminated because I broke a company policy. Can I collect unemployment? Also is there an online pre screening of eligible reasons to reciever unemployment benefits?

    • Nick says:

      Yes, there will be a pre screening.

      Voluntary issues such as non compliance with company rules will go against your application when you apply. You may not be eligible.

  34. Angie Almodovar says:

    I finished my unemployment benefit at June 2015, Do I have the opportunity of the extension?

    • Nick says:

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  35. when you receive the 26 months of UI benefits, if you get another job and loose that job, can you refile? not sure how all of this works. I was also told that if you go into a training program, which I am considering, would UI be extended for training? thank you.

  36. Maria Venutolo says:

    I have been with Amazon fulfillment center for ten months. I left my job of 11years,I thought it was a better opportunity. At this company they demand you work at a very high level rate for any of the jobs you do. Anyways, I was moved to a nee dept Jan 2nd. I have tried my best and my rate never exceeds there expectations. I’m a very conscientious worker. The physical pace to make the rate, no matter how hard I try, I cant. Will I BE able to collect unemployment if I am fired?

  37. JOANNA says:

    I find it frustrating the longer the weeks you work the less money you get weekly Benefit rate. Like being sucker punched..
    I made 28,555 they said in 45 weeks so they only gave me 380?

    The year prior I only worked 23 weeks with a 17,000, but got 459 a week its almost as if your punished for working longer and get lay-off

  38. JFROMNJ says:

    I Have worked for the company for 9 years, if Feb they make crazy changes and took jobs aware and forced you to take on another job that is not your expertise. I went into work and starting becoming ill, vomiting, hair falling out and everything. At first I did not know what was going on until it became worse I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with situational anxiety and depression. I was put out for 12 weeks, was doing great. Went back and it is starting all over again. I have tried to contact HR (no response). If I do voluntary term, would I be eligible for unemployment?

    • Nick says:

      If the health issue is pertaining to the working conditions, you can be eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  39. RAlston says:

    I worked for a company for 5 1/2 years and was laid off February 12th. I started a new job on February 29th and was laid off from the new employer June 30th due to lack of work. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  40. Rgraeme says:

    My UI will expire is about five weeks from now, if I do not find employment within the next five weeks can I apply for an extension?

    • Nick says:

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  41. Nelson says:

    I was laid off with a rehire date in 4months..i was hired May 16 2016 And was laid off September 2 2016 And I earned 15thousand within that time frame…will I be eligable for unemployment and if so how much a week?

    • Nick says:

      Yes, you can be eligible to apply for UI benefits for the income loss.

      Please use the “Calculator” available on the home page to estimate benefits.

  42. Vincent says:

    Treatment of Retroactive pension Payments. Under Section 3304(a)(15), FUTA, the amount of unemployment compensation payable for any week shall be subject to deductions for retirement income “reasonably attributable to such week.” In the case of lump-sum retirement payments, States have the option whether to treat them as “similar periodic payments” which are deductible under their laws, and if they treat them as such they have the further option of providing in their laws whether the payments shall apply only to the week in which they were paid, or to the week following the last week worked prior to retirement, or whether they shall be allocated to the weeks or months or other applicable periods following the last week worked prior to retirement. How will NJ treat the pension if it’s after my 26 weeks of UC payments are up?

  43. bob says:

    i pay child support, is that factored into my compensation total as anykind of factor?

  44. David says:

    Can you collect if you quit because your company is forcing you to haul overweight loads into another state.

  45. Jeff says:

    Please help me figure this out:

    I fear, in an effort to be thorough and honest, that I have answered the “pension” question incorrectly. It was a confusing mess of a question that included the word “or” 17 times. Now, an issue has been raised and my interrogation appointment is scheduled for a month from now. I’ll be dead from starvation by then.

    The facts are: I have a 401k that my employer contributed to. I have NOT taken a distribution. I might, hypothetically, at some point in the future, consider taking a distribution in the event i need emergency funds. That was why I answered “YES.”

    I cannot weather a whole month without any income. Is there some expedient way to correct this, so that I can have some means for survival while I search for new employment? Please let me know as soon as possible.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    • Nick says:

      Well, I suggest you communicate the same when they call you for further hearing to remain in sync with your initial declaration.

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks for the reply. Certainly I’ll do that, but is there a faster way to clear this up? For example, if I were to call the Reemployment center would they be able to correct my response in the njuifile system? I understand I’ll be able to collect my weekly benefits retroactively, but it’s that whole month leading up to it that’s keeping me up at night…

  46. Nessa says:

    I have been working part time for almost 5 years. I just recently resigned for a better job in which i was hired for full time work but will be working part time for 3 months. Will i be eligible for partial unemployment?

  47. Rakim says:

    My weekly benefits have run out I’m still unemployed at the moment I would like to get an extension how do I go about that Nick

    • Nick says:

      Please note there is no federal extension available.

      You may call the Claims Center to inquire about availability of extension offered by your state.

  48. Yvonne says:

    Question: If one has an employer-funded pension, but has not taken any distribution, would the weekly UI benefit be reduced 100% of an estimated weekly pension not being distributed? Please help me to understand. Thanks!

    • susheel says:

      It may not be reduced by 100%, but will definitely have a say.

      I suggest you speak to the Claims Center to understand the exact impact.

  49. Robert Brady says:

    I just lost my job & am applying 4 unemployment benefits.Iam paying child support & would like 2 know is there a formal on how much will B deducted from UE benefits 4 child support.

    • susheel says:

      Since this is state specific, please call the local Unemployment Office to ascertain the exact figure.

  50. Tayir says:

    I’m in a pipeline union and we are almost done with the asssignment in which it’ started April 3rd and will only run until May 24th that will add up to about 7 weeks. I make $33hr so by then I would make about $12,000
    Will I be eligible for Ui benefits or even the max?

    • susheel says:

      I am not sure of the eligibility if you worked on contract.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire further.

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