NJ Labor Department Develops Process to Speed Mandatory Review of Unemployment Claims at End of Benefit Year
New Programming Means Seamless Transition for Majority of Claimants
TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has good news for all claimants about to reach the one-year mark since they filed for unemployment: They do not need to file a new claim.
Federal law requires the Department to review every unemployment claim after one year for benefits to continue. This review will occur automatically without claimants having to take any action. Attempting to file a new claim will delay benefits.
“This new programming will enable us to complete the mandatory review of year-end claims on a large scale,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Our goal is for this to be seamless for most claimants.”
“Claimants do not need to take any action other than to continue to certify for weekly benefits according to the schedule,” the commissioner advised.
A few thousand claimants each week typically reach their benefit year end. But, beginning in mid-March, more than 100,000 claims will hit the one-year mark each week, due to the spike in unemployment filings that occurred as COVID-19 shuttered schools and businesses the year before.
“Our Department has been planning for this eventuality for months,” the Commissioner said. “We have the programming in place to complete the historic volume of year-end claim reviews federal law requires.”
Those who have had sufficient earnings throughout the year will have a new claim filed on their behalf. Those without sufficient earnings will be able to continue collecting benefits on their original claim.
To qualify for a new claim, a worker had to earn at least $220 per week for 20 or more weeks during their base year, or a total of $11,000 during that time. A base year is the first four of the five prior quarters before a claim was filed. For a new claim filed in March, the base year is Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020. For those whose benefit year ends in April through June, the base year considered for a new claim would be Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020.
With the new programming in place, the Department will contact individual claimants only if additional earnings or other information is needed.
For anyone who recently reached the end of their benefit year, a review has either been completed or is under way. When the review is complete, they will receive confirmation their certification was successful when they claim their weekly benefits.
For more information on receiving unemployment benefits, please visit myunemployment.nj.gov