New Jerseyans laid off from jobs should file for unemployment either online (the preferred method) or by telephone. While unemployed residents cannot file unemployment claims in person at a New Jersey unemployment center, those career and re-employment centers can aid individuals in finding new work once the claim is filed.


The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development warns unemployed residents that there is never a fee to file an unemployment claim. The department notes that private websites exist charging for New Jersey unemployment insurance benefits information, but these sites have no affiliation with the state government. "Anyone who visits a website that charges a fee for processing an application for unemployment insurance benefits should immediately exit that site before providing confidential information such as a credit card number or Social Security number," the department says.

Filing a Claim

Applicants must file a claim before receiving unemployment benefits. Internet filing is preferable, and applicants filing a new claim or reopening a current claim should file online if meeting certain requirements. That includes all employment occurring in New Jersey during the previous 18 months. Those who worked for the federal government, served in the armed forces or worked in the maritime industry during the previous 18 months cannot file online. Online applicants cannot reside outside the U.S. or file or reopen a claim concerning extended benefits.

Items Needed for Filing a Claim

When filing a claim, have important information on hand. This includes the Social Security number and former employer information such as address, telephone number, reason for no longer working and hiring and leaving dates. Non-U.S. citizens must provide the alien registration documentation received from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Applicants desiring direct deposit of unemployment benefits into a bank account must provide all banking information. All information is confidential. Should the computer idle for more than half an hour, the session times out and claim information is not recorded. Leaving the site during the session also voids out the claim information.

Telephone Claims

Applicants may call one of three re-employment call centers in the state for the filing of new claims or reopening claims. These centers are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the work week and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Because of the number of calls, applicants must call on Mondays if the last digit of the Social Security number is 0-3; Tuesdays if 4-6; Wednesday if 7-9. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are open to all applicants.