Types of Individuals
Whether you are impacted by a medical condition personally, by the situation of a family member, or by the status of your business or employer during the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (NJDOL) can advise you on the benefits for which you may be eligible in a number of situations. If you are an employee, visit their page on NJDOL Benefits and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Employees Should Know to learn about these situations and assess which may be applicable to you.
A useful graphic comparison of these scenarios and their available benefits is also available from NJDOL by viewing COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Available [pdf].
Employees with questions about returning to work should review the New Jersey Department of Labor's Return to Work guidelines.
If you are a business owner, information regarding unemployment insurance eligibility can be found at NJDOL's Information for Corporate Officers & Business Owners.
The recently-enacted CARES ACT establishes Pandemic Unemployment assistance, extending unemployment benefits to freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors, who typically are not eligible. Visit NJDOL's Information for Self-Employed NJ Workers. In addition to people who are self-employed or independent contractors, this includes those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits.
Claimants 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, see the NJDOL's April 29, 2020 press release.
CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Enhancements
The CARES Act enacted three types of assistance:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers; those who do not have enough earnings to qualify for regular unemployment; and eligible individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to available to work due to a covered COVID-19 reason. See above for information regarding how to apply.
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation: provided an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance through July 25, 2020. This enhanced federal benefit has now expired. This section will be updated to reflect any new legislation enacted by Congress.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients.
FEMA Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance Program
New Jersey has been approved to participate in FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance program, that offers eligible workers $300 per week in addition to other unemployment benefits for a maximum of six weeks.
Claimants who have already attested that their unemployment is COVID-related do not need to do anything. If they are eligible, they will receive a lump sum payment later this month. Those who have not attested why they are out of work will need to certify that their unemployment is COVID-related. They are being notified by the Labor Department with instructions. Go to myunemployment.nj.gov to check your claim status.
Updated: October 8, 2020
Source: NJDOL Benefits and the Coronavirus, NJDOL Information for corporate officers & business owners, NJDOL Information for Self-Employed NJ Workers, NJDOL Press Release April 3, 2020, NJDOL Press Release April 29, 2020