Q. What are the maximum benefits payable on an unemployment claim?A. A claimant may potentially receive 60 percent of his/her average weekly wage, not to exceed the maximum weekly amount. In 2012 the maximum weekly benefit amount is $611.00. The maximum weekly amount is recalculated annually and is equal to 56 2/3 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. A claimant can collect a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits on a regular unemployment claim.
Q. How is employer liability for unemployment benefits calculated?A. Each base-year employer is charged a percentage of each benefit payment in proportion to the amount of wages that the employer paid the claimant during the base-year and the total wages received by the claimant during that period.
Q. What is a lag-period employer?A. A lag-period employer is an employer who paid wages to an individual between the last day of the base-year period and the filing of an unemployment claim. Since wages earned in the lag period are not in the base-year, employers with only lag-period employment are not normally charged. However, if the claim is determined invalid under the regular base year, an Alternative Base Period may be used to determine monetary eligibility. If the lag-period employment is in the Alternative Base Year, the lag-period employer will then be charged.
Q. How should I report a possible fraud situation?A. You may report information about a wage-benefit conflict of a former worker who has been recalled to work on Form B-187Q, “Unemployment Benefits Charged to Experience Rating Account,” which is mailed to “chargeable” employers quarterly. You may report any other information about a potentially fraudulent situation online here.
Q. Can a claimant work part time and still collect unemployment benefits?A. Yes, a claimant may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits while working part time due to lack of work. However, the worker’s weekly benefit amount will be reduced dollar-for-dollar for all earnings in excess of 20% of the worker’s full weekly benefit rate.
Q. Can a claimant receive unemployment benefits while attending school or receiving training?A. A claimant is disqualified for benefits for any week in which the individual is a student in full time (at least 12 credits) attendance at, or on vacation from, any public or other nonprofit educational institution, except in cases in which the claimant establishes 20 or more base weeks of employment or meets the alternative earnings test during academic term(s) in the base-year.
The full-time student criteria do not apply to any individual attending a school or training program approved by the Division to enhance the individual’s employment opportunity.
Q. What is meant by the terms voluntary quit “with good cause” or “without good cause”?A. A claimant is determined to have voluntarily quit a job with good cause if the reason for leaving is directly attributable to actions of the employer or conditions of employment. The burden of proof is on the claimant to prove that he/she quit for good cause.
Q. Can I be charged for future benefits if an employee quits and is then disqualified for leaving employment without good cause attributable to the work?A. An individual who quits work may become eligible for future benefits after meeting a re-qualifying requirement. For separations occurring before July 1, 2010, the New Jersey requirement is having at least four weeks of new employment, earning at least six times the weekly benefit rate, and being separated from the new employment for a non-disqualifying reason. For separations occurring July 1, 2010, and later, the New Jersey requirement is having at least eight weeks of new employment, earning at least 10 times the weekly benefit rate and being separated from the new employment for a non-disqualifying reason.
According to federal law, all states’ unemployment compensation laws must contain re-qualifying requirements. Once the re-qualifying threshold is met, the disqualification must end and the individual is potentially eligible to receive benefits.
The New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law provides for the relief of charges to a contributory employer’s experience rating account when an individual’s separation from employment is for reasons that are disqualifying under the law. Thus, even though an individual may overcome an imposed disqualification or a potential disqualification, and is entitled to receive unemployment benefits, the employer’s account will not be charged for the benefits that occur subsequent to the disqualifying separation. See Chapter II, Section 2, “Relief of Benefit Charges for Disqualifying Separations.”
Q. Will a discharged employee be eligible to collect benefits?A. If you discharge an employee, we must determine whether the discharge was for misconduct in connection with the employment. The burden of proof is on you. New Jersey Law provides for three different types of misconduct: simple misconduct, severe misconduct, and gross misconduct. See “Disqualification/Eligibility Conditions.”