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UPDATE: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Unemployment Assistance and other available benefits

UPDATED 6/11/2020

Types of Individuals

Employees 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: provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020. This taxable $600 payment is issued separately each week—you may receive it at the same time as your regular Unemployment benefits, or a few days later. It will usually be deposited into your account on Monday or Tuesday.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients.

Updated: June 11, 2020


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