How to File for an Unemployment Extension in New Jersey

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In New Jersey, an individual can no longer file for an unemployment extension for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits. The federal benefits that were established during the pandemic ended on September 4, 2021.

Any funds that remain in an individual’s unemployment account related to pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC) or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) ended on September 4, 2021.

Funds remaining in a person’s unemployment account related to these federal government programs are not available for certification or payment for weeks of unemployment ending after September 4, 2021.

Benefits Program Still Available

A claimant is able to receive benefits for weeks of unemployment ending before September 4, 2021. A person who is currently involved in an appeal or adjudication process, or who had an appointment scheduled for after September 4, 2021 should continue to certify weekly. They should follow instructions and monitor their email for changes regarding their unemployment benefits.

Claimants may file new unemployment claims if they lose their jobs in 2022. The new claims may or may not be related to concerns related to the coronavirus.

What Were Extended Benefits?

From July 1, 2020 to April 9, 2022, New Jersey had a high unemployment rate. The high rate triggered state extended unemployment benefits (EB) for individuals who had exhausted unemployment benefits. In order to get EB, the workers had to meet the minimum earnings requirement. Also, the date of their initial unemployment insurance (UI) claim had to be May 12, 2019 or later.

On April 17, 2021, New Jersey unemployment benefits were reduced from up to 20 weeks to up to 13 weeks because the state's unemployment rate went down. The EB program ended on April 9, 2022 due to the state’s declining unemployment rate.

Getting Unemployment Benefits in New Jersey

Currently, in New Jersey, a person is eligible for regular unemployment benefits if they lost their job through no fault of their own, such as an employer having no work for them. Typically, a person who quit their job for a reason that was not related to work or was terminated for misconduct is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

A representative from the Unemployment Insurance division of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) conducts a fact-finding interview by phone or email to determine whether a claimant is eligible for UI benefits. The claimant’s former employers may also be asked to participate.

A New Jerseyan who meets the requirements for traditional UI can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks during a one-year period.

Base Periods for UI Claims

A claimant must meet a minimum earnings requirement during their base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week the unemployed worker files their initial claim. A regular base-year period consists of 52 weeks. A claim dated:

  • January, February or March 2022 will be based on employment from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.
  • April, May or June 2022 will be based on employment from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.
  • July, August, or September 2022 will be based on employment from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
  • October, November or December 2022 will be based on employment from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

To be eligible for UI benefits in 2021, a person must have earned at least $220 per week during 20 or more weeks in covered employment during the base year period. Alternatively, they must have earned at least $11,000 in total covered employment during the base year period.

To be eligible for UI benefits in 2022, the person must have earned at least $240 per week during 20 or more weeks in covered employment during the base year period. Alternatively, they must have earned at least $12,000 in total covered employment during the base-year period. UI benefits do not themselves count as monies earned from covered employment.

Alternate Base Years for State Benefits

When a worker does not qualify for benefits with a standard base year, the UI division will review the person’s earnings in two alternate base-year periods to see if their funds are enough to qualify. A person may qualify for benefits if they worked at least 20 base weeks or earned at least $12,000 in any one-year period over the last 18 months.

A base week in 2021 is a week during which the person earned at least $220. A base week in 2022 is a week during which the person earned at least $240. The person cannot pick and choose which time period they want to use to qualify.

For alternate base year #1, if the claim is dated:

  • January, February or March 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #1 from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.
  • April, May or June 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #1 from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
  • July, August or September 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #1 from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
  • October, November or December 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #1 from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.

Second Alternate Base Year

If the person still does not quality for a claim using alternate base year #1, the UI division reviews a second alternate base year. For alternate base year #2, if the claim is dated:

  • January, February or March 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #2 from April 1, 2021 to the date of the claim.
  • April, May or June 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #2 from July 1, 2021 to the date of the claim.
  • July, August or September 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #2 from October 1, 2021 to the date of the claim.
  • October, November or December 2022, the claim is based on employment in alternate base year #2 from January 1, 2021 to the date of the claim.