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Posted Friday, May 22nd, 2020

The state Department of Labor has created a Frequently Asked Questions page, with a series of key links, to help guide Morris County residents who are unable to access COVID-19 related unemployment insurance benefits and who have been unable to contact the state Department of Labor to understand why their claims are denied.COVID-19: Unemployment Claimants Struggling to Access Benefits

The Department of Labor is also touting a new chat system it set up to provide answers.

Legislators representing all districts in Morris County also are working to help residents navigate the unemployment system. State Sen. Anthony Bucco, for one, invited residents in his 25th District to contact his legislative office at 973-627-9700 or [email protected].

“We are now more than two months into this crisis and it is unacceptable that the Department of Labor is taking many weeks to respond to claims, if at all,” said Sen. Bucco, who has asked the Governor’s office to direct more furloughed state workers to the DOL to provide support in processing the unprecedented number of claims filed.

Here is a list of towns in each district that cover Morris County, and links to contact the offices of state senators serving in each of those districts: 21st District:

Sen. Thomas Kean  21st District

Sen. Steven Oroho  24th District

Sen. Anthony Bucco 25th District

Sen, Joe Pennacchio 26th District

Sen. Dick Codey 27th District

Sen. Kristin Corrado 40th District

 

Department of Labor FAQs:

IF YOU GET THE ERROR “YOUR CLAIM IS NOT PAYABLE AT THIS TIME” WHEN CERTIFYING
There are a number of reasons that you may get this error message, but one of the more common reasons is because of the way one or more of the seven weekly certification questions was answered. The NJ DOL has provided this guide on how to certify for benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure you get your benefits in the fastest way possible: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/covidinstructions.shtml

If you believe the reason you have received this error is due to your answers to the weekly certification – your application is likely flagged for review by an unemployment technician. You may want to email the Unemployment Division here: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/help/contact-us/index.shtml#email

NEW EMAIL REPORTING FORM
The NJ DOL has a tool you can use to email the Unemployment Division with inquiries or tickets that have an unresolved issue:
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/help/contact-us/index.shtml#email

SELF-SERVICE TOOLS
You can check the status of your claim online and reset your PIN online with NJ DOL here:
https://lwdwebpt.dol.state.nj.us/ClaimStatus/claimStatus.htm

ELIGIBILITY FOR KEY BENEFITS
Below you will find links to a NJ DOL graphic and website outlining eligibility for unemployment, family leave, earned sick leave and temporary disability under different COVID-19 related scenarios.
https://www.nj.gov/labor/assets/PDFs/COVID-19%20SCENARIOS.pdf
https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covid.shtml

WEEKLY CERTIFICATION QUESTIONS AND SCHEDULE 
The NJ DOL website has the following instructions on how to answer the questions when certifying for weekly benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic:
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/covidinstructions.shtml

In addition, below is a link to the NJ DOL schedule for when you can certify for benefits during the week, depending on the last four digits of your social security number:
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/schedule.shtml

FAQs FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE & PUA
Below are links to a Frequently Asked Questions page from NJ DOL that answers common questions about Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs, and how they work during the COVID-19 pandemic (this is updated often, so check regularly):
https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covidFAQ.shtml
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/assets/pdfs/NJWorkersFAQs.pdf

NEW JERSEY’S COMMITMENT TO BACK PAY
NJ DOL has stated in the following document, under question #11: “We’re committed to ensuring that everyone receives their benefits during this crisis. You will not lose a day’s benefits as all claims will be backdated to your first day of employment loss.”
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/assets/pdfs/NJWorkersFAQs.pdf

IF YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM IS PENDING
A pending claim means your initial application is awaiting review by a member of the Unemployment Division’s staff. You should continue to check on the website each day to see if the claim status has changed to FILED. You should also continue to check your postal mail and e-mail and watch your phone for calls in case someone from NJ DOL reaches out for additional information regarding your claim. Don’t forget to check your e-mail SPAM or JUNK folder.

INFORMATION ON THE 13 WEEK EXTENSION
Are you currently receiving or have applied for unemployment benefits? If yes, no action is required for the 13 week extension. The 13-week extension will be automatically available to you after your current balance is exhausted. Otherwise, read the NJ DOL FAQ below:
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/covidFAQ.shtml#600

NEW PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The State of New Jersey is reaching out to claimants individually regarding their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims. PUA is the program for those who are self-employed, gig economy workers, those who do not have sufficient work history for a normal unemployment claim, clergy and those working for religious organizations, and others who may not normally be entitled to traditional unemployment insurance — subject to certain eligibility criteria. If you have been contacted by the NJ DOL to begin certifying for PUA benefits, please see the detailed instructions below:
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/puainstructions.shtml

The NJ DOL is reaching out to each claimant individually once their PUA claim is ready to be paid. Please see this State of NJ press release for more information:
https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200429b.shtml

IF YOU ARE SELF-EMPLOYED AND HAVE NOT FILED A CLAIM
You can file a claim now – please review the two documents found at the link below prior to applying; one document answers most common questions and another walks you through the application step by step with guidance on how to answer the questions as a self-employed individual. Please note that there is not a separate application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance at this time – all filers must start with the application for normal unemployment.
https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/independentcontractors.shtml