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Am I eligible for any unemployment benefits if my work has been negatively impacted by COVID-19?

Last Updated: 05/06/2020

NOTE: NJ's Unemployment Insurance system is experiencing record levels of demand due to coronavirus and all in-person services statewide are currently closed due to the virus. We're working quickly to expand our capacity to respond to the record number of residents seeking to file unemployment claims and are committed to ensuring that everyone receives their benefits during this crisis and ask for your patience. No matter when your claim is processed, you will be paid benefits for every week you are eligible. We understand your anxiety and frustration, and we apologize.

If you've lost your job and are seeking help, refer to this guide that will help you connect to benefits and resources you may need while trying to safely get back to work as well as tips for coping with the stress of losing a job.

Or visit nj.gov/labor and read about the state and federal laws and benefit programs that may apply to you. There you will also find a helpful chart clarifying the different scenarios and the available benefits in English and Spanish as well as 13 other languages.

NJ Earned Sick Leave, emergency federal paid sick and emergency FMLA childcare leave are paid by your employer directly. Unemployment, Temporary Disability and Family Leave benefits require an application to the State of NJ. Individuals should apply for the program that best fits their situation as applying for the wrong one could cause delays.

With the CARES Act, New Jersey's unemployment system can help those who are not typically eligible, and provide more benefits:

  • Independent contractors, the self-employed, "gig" workers, and those looking for part-time work, are eligible (known as "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance")
  • Those who, under normal circumstances, don't have enough work history or who have exhausted regular Unemployment benefits, are eligible (known as "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance")
  • Unemployment Insurance will provide an additional $600 per week, on top of regular and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits through July 25. (known as "Pandemic Unemployment Compensation"). These payments will be issued separately from regular unemployment benefits.
  • Unemployment Insurance will give an additional 13 weeks of benefits, for a maximum of up to 39 weeks (known as "Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation")

New Jersey workers who have experienced any of the following, but not limited to, COVID-19 situations are likely eligible for help through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

  • Workers sick, quarantined, or exposed to COVID-19
  • Workers who need to take care of a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers who are the primary caregiver for a child or family member unable to attend school or another facility closed due to COVID-19
  • Workers who lost employment or hours due to COVID-19

How to Apply

To apply, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.

Applicants will be assessed first for traditional unemployment insurance benefits. If traditional unemployment benefits are not applicable to that worker, the application may be denied first and then assessed by NJ Department of Labor for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.

Please note that it is not possible to save your online application and return to it; you must complete it and submit it all at once. Once you've submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation number at the end of your application; please record this. You will receive instructions on how and when to claim benefits.

Claimants for unemployment assistance must certify for these benefits online each week. The certification schedule -- based on Social Security number -- can be found at myunemployment.nj.gov.

For more information and instructions on applying for unemployment assistance, see the NJDOL's April 29, 2020 press release.

For more information on Unemployment Insurance, see Frequently Asked Questions During the Coronavirus Emergency for NJ Workers or visit nj.gov/labor.

Source: https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covidFAQ.shtml; https://www.nj.gov/labor/lwdhome/press/2020/20200429_puapayments.shtml;