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UPDATE 10/5/2020: Business Owner Benefits or Unemployment Insurance

Benefits or Unemployment Insurance, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Available to the Business Owner

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.

Business Owners

If you are a business owner, information regarding unemployment insurance eligibility can be found at NJDOL's Information for Corporate Officers & Business Owners.

Self-Employed/Freelancers/Independent Contractors

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 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 new Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance program, for the current maximum of six weeks. The program is under development and will provide eligible claimants with $300 per week, in addition to other unemployment benefits. Check back here for more information.



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