NJ unemployment update from Gov. Phil Murphy
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy gives unemployment update on Feb. 5, 2021.
Paul Wood Jr, NorthJersey.com
Freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and gig economy workers who recently received unemployment benefits need to submit documents to verify their income from 2019 or 2020 to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development — or risk having to repay their benefits.
Last week, the state Labor Department began sending out letters to workers receiving benefits since Dec. 27, 2020, through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for those who were not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits because they do not pay into the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund.
«Failure to respond and provide documentation will result in your claim being disqualified,» the letter says. «If your claim is disqualified, you will need to repay all benefits received after December 27, 2020.»
This income verification step is new, required under the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act signed by former President Donald Trump in December. Prior versions of the program did not require income verification as a condition to receive benefits, said Labor Department spokesperson Angela Delli Santi.
Previously, if claimants needed to adjust their weekly benefit rate, they would have to submit proof of wages — usually an income tax return — with their request, and New Jersey would flag some claims picked up by anti-fraud tools and ask for identification verification, Delli Santi said. The applications also include questions for applicants to «attest to the truthfulness of their responses,» Delli Santi said.
For workers collecting PUA benefits before Dec. 27 and for weeks after, claimants have 90 days to submit documentation. For workers who filed a new PUA claim after Jan. 31, 2021, they have 21 days to submit documents.
New Jersey passed out $1.3 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits between Jan. 2 and April 10, according to the Labor Department.
What documents can be used to verify proof of income before the pandemic?
Workers receiving PUA only need to upload one of the following documents, but can «upload as many as you think will be helpful for determining your earnings or official work offer,» the Labor Department said.
Acceptable file formats include .pdf, .jpg, .jpeg, .doc or .docx. Do not send attachments with a .heic format.
- Paycheck stubs
- Earnings and leave statements that include the employer’s name and address
- W-2 form
- 2019 or 2020 tax returns with appropriate attachments (Schedule C, Schedule C-EZ, Schedule F, 1065 with K-1 attachment, Schedule SE)
- Invoices with your name or your company name, including payment for the invoices
- Registration of a company with the state or federal employer identification number
- Business license
Commencement of Employment
- Offer letter of employment
- Statement/signed affidavit by an individual stating details of work offered (this must include the individual’s name, address and contact number for verification)
Commencement of Self-Employment
- Business license
- State or federal employer identification number
- Written business plan
- Lease agreement
How do I submit the unemployment verification?
If you receive an email from «e-Adjudication,» sign on to the Department of Labor’s portal by clicking the link that says «Claimant Form.» Enter your email address and password.
If you received PUA benefits after Dec. 27 but don’t see this email, check your spam folder.
Once on the «Welcome» page, read the instructions and press «next,» which will take you to the PUA verification page, where you will be asked the following questions:
- Did you work in self-employment in 2019 or 2020? (This means you were not paid with a form W2; you may have been paid with a form 1099.)
- Did you work in covered employment in 2019 or 2020? (This means you are paid with a form W2.)
- Were you scheduled to commence employment during the pandemic that could not begin as scheduled?
- When did you begin working for each employer (or when was your scheduled start date) and when was your last day you worked prior to the pandemic?
Upload at least one document verifying your proof of income or an official work offer. You may take a picture of the document and upload it, as long as it is not blurry and is an approved file format.
For those using iPhones or Macs, use Chrome, Firefox or Edge browsers. Users experienced issues with Safari.
Press the «upload» button after selecting your file to attach the file.
On the «Certify and Submit» page, confirm you have attached at least one document.
Check the box certifying that your answers are true and accurate, and press «submit.»
Ashley Balcerzak is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to her work covering New Jersey’s Legislature and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.