Living Through a Layoff

So, you have lost your job or learned that you soon will. Here are some “first steps” to take when you learn that you are going to be laid off

  • Speak with the company human resource director and make sure your records of accrued vacation days and holidays coincide with theirs. Take the time to discuss severance (a benefit package that many companies provide to compensate loyal employees for their many years of service.)
  • Contact the unemployment office that serves your area and learn how to file an unemployment claim so that you will be ready to do so when you become unemployed. This is an insurance policy that you have been contributing to throughout your employment and the money you receive in benefits will help you pay the bills while you look for another job.
  • If your employer provided health care coverage, learn about COBRA benefits so that you can maintain your health insurance without interruption

Filing an Unemployment Claim

Note that The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development does not charge a fee to file an unemployment claim. Anyone who visits a website that charges a fee for processing an unemployment claim should immediately exit that site before providing any confidential information. 

Before unemployment benefits can be paid to you, you must file a claim. You are not permitted to file a claim until you are unemployed. You may file your new unemployment claim, or reopen an existing claim, via the Internet if you meet all the following requirements:

  • All of your employment in the past 18 months was in New Jersey
  • You did not work for the Federal Government in the past 18 months
  • You were not in the military service in the past 18 months
  • You did not work as a maritime employee in the past 18 months
  • You do not reside outside the United States

If you meet each of these requirements, you are encouraged to file your unemployment claim online at If you do not meet the requirements you must file your claim by telephone. 

To file your online claim, you will need the following information:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • If you are not a citizen, you will need your Alien Registration Documentation issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This includes your alien registration type and number, country of origin, and your Employment Authorization Card or Permanent Resident Card if authorized to work in the United States.
  • Your bank information if you wish to have your benefits directly deposited to your bank
  • Employer information on all employer(s) in the last 18 months including: Name, address, telephone number, beginning and end dates of employment, and reason for separation
  • A New Jersey driver's license or Non - Driver Photo Identification Card. This is not a requirement for filing a claim, but can help to expedite the process 

If you meet these requirements, and you wish to file your unemployment claim via the Internet, you may do so here. The information you submit is confidential and the website is secure. Please note that this site should only be used for filing a new unemployment claim, reopening an existing one or claiming weekly benefits. It cannot be used to contact the agency. If you have a question about your claim or about unemployment insurance, click here.

If you do not wish to file your claim via the Internet, or if you have specific questions you may call your Claims Inquiry Center from Monday through Friday, excluding holidays between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Your claim will be dated the Sunday of the week in which you call so make sure you call during the week you want your claim to begin. The week runs Sunday to Saturday. 

Union City201-601-4100
Out-of-State888-795-6672 (toll-free)
TTY   856-507-2399

Once your unemployment claim has been accepted, you will receive regular benefits. The amount of unemployment benefits you may receive each week is your Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR). The amount will be 60% of the average weekly earnings during your base year period, up to a maximum amount. The maximum amount may change each year.

Program guidelines and benefits may change. The most current information about NJ unemployment guidelines and benefits is available here.

Below is the list of phone numbers to claim your weekly benefits. Phone numbers are assigned according to the One-Stop Career Center that provides reemployment services in your area. 

East Orange973-680-3518Paterson973-977-4307
Elizabeth908-820-3969Perth Amboy732-937-4525
Jersey City201-217-4602Plainfield908-412-7779
New Brunsiwck732-937-4525Thorofare856-853-4177
Newark973-648-7601Toms River732-286-6460
Out of State Claims


Page last modified/reviewed on March 03, 2017

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