Guidance for Furloughed NJ State Workers Represented by CWA: FILING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Guidance for Furloughed NJ State Workers Represented by CWA


(click here to download this as a PDF)

This guide is only for furloughed employees of the State of New Jersey represented by CWA and covers certain questions that apply to their situation. Please see for more information and frequently asked questions.

Important: You cannot apply for Unemployment until your first day of furlough. If you live out of state and work in New Jersey, file for unemployment with the State of New Jersey.

There are two parts to this guidance:

  1. Filing your Initial Claim – you will set up an account and file your claim for benefits
  2. Certifying for your Weekly Benefits – do this weekly according to the “certifying schedule” on the DOL website to certify the hours your worked and the hours you were furloughed during that week. Friday and Saturday are makeup days if you missed your scheduled day.

PART 1: Information about Filing your INITIAL CLAIM of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Gather all the necessary information first. You must complete the application all in one sitting. Please set aside at least 50 minutes to complete the application process. You cannot save and return to the application and you could be timed out if you leave the application idle for 30 minutes.

  • Bank account number and Routing Number (if you plan to receive benefits through direct deposit)
  • Social Security Number.
  • Alien Registration Number (if you are not a US citizen).
  • Pension information (if you are receiving any pension or 401k).
  • Amount and duration of any separation pay you may be receiving.
  • Recall date (NJ State Exec Branch – you will answer “no definite recall date”)
  • Union hiring hall information, including local number and address (You will put CWA and your Local number. CWA is not a hiring hall).
  • Military Form DD-214 (if you were in the military in the last 18 months).
  • Form SF-8 or SF-50 (if you were a federal employee).
  • For each employer that you worked for in the last 18 months, provide the following:
    • Complete name and address of employer o Employer’s telephone number
    • Your occupation with that employer
    • Beginning and ending dates of employment
    • Reason for separation

Go to to Start Your Claim

  • Click on “Existing Users log in here” Page 2 of 7
  • Create an Account if you do not already have an account. You will need an email and create a password.
  • Fill out the Pre-Qualification questions.
  • Go to the next steps, see below.

Step 1: General Information

Question 1.5 When you worked in New Jersey, did you live out of state?

  • If you live out of state and work in New Jersey, select “Yes”.
    • “If ‘Yes’ will you continue seeking work in NJ?””
      • Select “Yes”

Step 3: Eligibility Information

Question 3.1 Are you ready, willing and able to immediately work full-time?

  • Answer “Yes”.

Question 3.4 Do you wish to have 10% Federal Income Tax withheld from your benefits?

  • Answer Yes or No. Carefully consider your choice.

Question 3.5 Do you wish to claim a dependency allowance?

  • Answer Yes or No. (If you are also married to a state worker who is furloughed, only one of you can claim this additional allowance.)

Question 3.6 Are you a member of a union?

  • Answer Yes. (All CWA-covered state employees should answer “yes.”)
    • If Yes, do you seek work through a Union hiring hall? Answer No.

Question 3.8 How do you wish to receive your benefits?

  • Answer Direct Deposit or Debit Card. (Direct Deposit will enable you to enter your account information. Debit cards will be mailed to you within a week of application.)

Step 4: Employment Information

  • State Employer Payroll Number
    • Furloughed employees of the State of New Jersey can find their state employer payroll number on ECATs. It’s in the box on the top left titled “Payroll – slash – Unit Number”. If you cannot locate it, leave it blank and it will automatically populate from our on-file employment information.
    • “Are you still employed by this employer?”
      • Answer “Yes”
      • If “Yes”, explain the reason”
        • Select “Reduction in Hours by Employer”
    • “Please select your reason for separation from this employer”
      • Select “Other – COVID-19 related”
    • “Do you expect to be recalled by this employer?”
      • Answer “Yes”.
    • “Do you have a definite date of recall?”
      • Answer “No”.
    • “What was the last day you worked for this employer?”
      • Enter the last day you actually worked before your first day of furlough.

Step 5: Employment Details

Question 5.4 “If you received or will receive holiday pay, payment in lieu of notice, vacation pay, severance pay, continuation pay, or other pay for any period after your last day of work, please click the “Add Pay Type” button below. Only one payment can be added at a time for each employer.”

  • If you will receive holiday pay, vacation pay, or any other pay during a week in which you are also taking furlough days, you must report it here, as well as during weekly certification.

PART 2: Weekly Certification: Helpful Information

Unemployment Insurance weeks begin on a Sunday and end at midnight on Saturday.

Your claim is dated the Sunday of the week in which you filed your initial (first) claim. The first time you certify for benefits will be at least 17 days after your Sunday date of claim. To receive your unemployment insurance benefit payments, you must go online and certify for benefits for each week which you wish to receive benefits. Only after the workweek has passed (after Saturday at midnight) are you able to certify for benefits for that workweek.

You’ll need your SSN, PIN, and earnings for the week you are claiming. Earnings have to claimed when the work was done, not when paid. Gross earnings are to be reported.

How long will it be between when I apply and when I will be able to certify for benefits?

Your claim is dated the Sunday of the week in which you filed your initial (first) claim. The first time you claim benefits will be at least 17 days after your Sunday date of claim. How do you know when to certify? You will receive instructions in the mail after the claim is filed. If you filed online, you will receive an email once your claim has been entered. If your claim is determined eligible for benefits, you will be able to certify online during the next block of time assigned to your Social Security number.

How do I find the day and time when I can certify?

Check the schedule. The schedule is subject to change weekly so make sure to check regularly to be aware of when you can claim your benefits.

See when your Social Security number is scheduled to certify for benefits for the current week: When it is your time to certify, log-in to our online application and answer the required questions.

Where do I go to certify? Click on “$ Certify for Weekly Benefits”

What do I need to have ready when I certify?

Social Security number, PIN (the first time you certify you will be guided to create one), and if you worked during the week being claimed, any earnings for the week. Earnings have to be reported when the work was done, not when paid. Gross earnings are to be reported.

How do I answer the certification questions?

In order for us to process your weekly payment without delay, please follow our guidelines when certifying for your benefits – to get your money – each week. See our certification guide here and below; please note comment below to furloughed state workers, on Question 5:

  • Question 1: Were you able and available for work? The answer to this question should be YES if:
    1. You were physically able to do your work before you were furloughed by the State of New Jersey
  • Question 2: Were you actively seeking work?
    • If you are waiting to be recalled to your present job and resume full working hours after furloughs end, you should answer YES.
  • Question 3: Did you refuse any work?
    • Workers furloughed by the State of New Jersey should answer NO.
  • Question 4: Were you attending school or job training?
    • If you are a student and just filed this unemployment claim as a result of the coronavirus emergency, and the Division of Unemployment Insurance has not reviewed your school status, please answer NO to this question (even if you are attending school online) at this time.
    • If you are a student who filed an Unemployment Insurance claim prior to this emergency, and have already provided the department with your school information, and your school is currently closed due to the coronavirus, please answer this question in the same manner (Yes or No) you would have prior to the school closing.
  • Question 5: Did you receive holiday or vacation pay for the week beginning mm-dd-2020 and ending mm-dd-2020?
    • Furloughed state workers take note – if you will receive holiday pay, vacation pay, or any other pay during a week in which you are also taking furlough days, you must report it here. Please answer YES and report it here. Please note Friday, July 3 is a paid holiday and will not be an unpaid furlough day.
  • Question 6: Are you receiving or have you applied for a pension or other retirement pay from any of the employers listed below?
    • If you are currently paying into a pension or other retirement plan but you are not receiving payments, you should answer “NO.”
    • If you are receiving pension payments from an employer who is not listed you should also answer “NO.”
    • You should answer “YES” if you are currently receiving pension or other retirement benefit payments from one of the employers in the list.
  • Question 7: Did you work between mm-dd-2020 and mm-dd-2020?
    • If you did any work (or received any payment for work previously completed) between the designated dates, answer YES and report what you earned.
    • IF YOU ARE RECEIVING PUA (independent contractor benefits), to avoid payment delay, use ONLY question 7B – “Other than self-employed income” – to report ALL types of wages/commissions you received this week (even if the earnings were in self-employment). In 7A, choose “NO.”
    • If you know you will not have work the following week, immediately (no later than Saturday of the week in which you are claiming) follow steps to REOPEN/REASSERT THE CLAIM. If you received holiday/vacation/sick pay from your employer during this week, report that information here.
    • The certification guide can also be found online here, but note the comment on Question 5 above:

What if I forget my PIN?

If you have forgotten your PIN, you may reset your PIN within the claim status review function. Go to – Click on “Check claim status here”:

A new page will open:

Enter your Social Security number, date of birth, email you used to register your account and first and last name. Click Enter.

A new circle/check box will appear to reset your pin. A new pin will be sent to your registered email account in minutes.

What if there is a problem with my unemployment claim? Do I keep certifying?

If there is a problem with your claim that must be resolved before benefits can be paid, or if you have been denied benefits and are appealing the determination, you must still certify for and claim your benefits each week. You will receive “credit” for the weeks which you have claimed. If it is determined that you are eligible or if you win your appeal, you will be paid these benefits. If you have not claimed benefits and you win your appeal, you will not be paid for these weeks.

When can I expect my benefits to be paid?

  • After your initial claim, benefits should be paid the third week following your filing of the claim. For example, if you file your initial claim on Friday July 3, benefits will be issued at some point during the week ending July 18th (the exact day will depend on the certification schedule for that week).
  • After your first certification, benefits can be claimed weekly (the exact day will depend on the certification schedule for that week) and issued within 48 hours of processing. Use the schedule that is posted online.
  • The CARES Act supplemental $600 weekly payment is processed each Friday evening and usually in bank accounts on Tuesday. Note: if you certify on a Saturday, it will be after that Friday window and the CARES Act payment will come in the following certification period. (For example, if you certify for your UI payment on a Saturday, and then claim the following week’s UI payment before the following Friday, you will receive both $600 payments when those payments are processed that Friday night).

What do I do if I need assistance or have questions?

Check and here for frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer, you can call one of our call centers:

  • North New Jersey: 201-601-4100
  • Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020
  • South New Jersey: 856-507-2340
  • Out-of-state claims: 888-795-6672 (you must call from a phone with an out-of-state area code)
  • New Jersey Relay: 7-1-1

See our “Contact Us” webpage for a full list of local numbers for those who are charged for long-distance calls. From the homepage, click “Need Help?” and select “Contact Us” from the drop-down menu.