Unemployed workers should be able to start getting the expanded unemployment benefits that are part of the coronavirus stimulus package this week.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is an additional $600 per week that workers will receive above and beyond the state’s regular unemployment benefits through July 31 for workers who lost jobs or had their hours reduced because of the stay at home lockdown.
The $600 will be an added benefit for all claimants, no matter when they started receiving unemployment benefits. This may come as a separate deposit instead of as an addition to current benefits checks. Those who have already exhausted benefits can get an 13 additional weeks of regular benefits, plus the extra $600 per week until July 31.
The NJ Department of Labor has a chart on their website that breaks down who is eligible for benefits right now here.
Basically, it breaks down all the scenarios under which you may collect unemployment which are:
- Worker who has COVID-10, or symptoms of COVID-19
- Person who is out of work because employer voluntarily closed
- Person who is out of work because employer was ordered closed
- Worker has less hours available due to business slow down or lack of demand
- Employer stays open in defiance of State closure or public health order, and worker refuses to work
- Worker is advised by healthcare provider or public health authority to quarantine
- Health care provider exposed at work and recommended by medical professional to self-quarantine
- Freelance, independent contractor or “gig” worker has no work or lost hours due to public health emergency
- Worker received 26 weeks of unemployment; worker remains unemployed
Unfortunately for freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors: As of 4/8/20, NJ is still waiting for federal guidelines as to what you are qualified for. You are encouraged to apply for unemployment now. Your claim likely will be denied, but your ineligibility for regular unemployment is a prerequisite for receiving benefits due to COVID-19.