In This Update: 1) If you haven’t received any payments; 2) Two more pieces of advice if you haven’t been paid; 3) The easiest way to set up direct deposit; 4) Transferring funds from a debit card to a bank account; 5) How much you will get in unemployment payments; and 6) The union’s Work-Sharing Loan program.
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Our work-sharing program ended last week, and by that point, the vast majority of faculty participants were getting payments. But we know we have some last problems to fix to make sure everyone is paid. We’re going to ask anyone who still hasn’t gotten any payments to fill out another Google form, so we can assemble a last list of cases for the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) to untangle.
We’re writing to all faculty about work-sharing one last time so everyone knows that we made it through this program and managed to overcome almost all of the unexpected obstacles we faced. For those of you who are getting payments or who didn’t participate in work-sharing, we want to ask a favor: if you know of a colleague who hasn’t gotten payments, please forward this message to them, so we’re sure our last list that we send to NJDOL is as complete as possible.
The frustrating burdens of applying for unemployment and getting through the system fell far too heavily on some of you. For that, we apologize—and we thank you for your patience while we tried to fix the problems. We also thank all of you for helping our Coalition of Rutgers Unions to achieve a number of our people-centered priorities. We will go into our next round of bargaining stronger and more united because of that.
1. If You Haven’t Received Any Payments
We’re asking anyone who hasn’t received any payments at all from NJDOL to fill out a new Google form. We promise this is the last one!
We think that everyone on the lists we submitted to NJDOL of people who were waiting for a call to have their applications approved finally spoke to an agent over the last month (if you still haven’t been approved for unemployment payments, email email@example.com). The department also worked through the list we compiled of work-sharing participants who were approved but hadn’t received any money yet. We believe a large majority of people on that list were paid—but others are still waiting. An NJDOL representative asked us to gather a final list of people whose cases need to be addressed.
So we are asking anyone who has not been paid to fill out a new Google form. Before you do, please do the following—because we’re going to ask you for a little more information this time:
- Check your online claim status and save the information or take a screenshot. We’re going to ask you for some of the entries on the form.
- Check your spam/junk folder for an email with the subject line “Verify Your Identity to Access Your NJ Unemployment Insurance Claim” (it could have been sent any time since the start of work-sharing, so look back through April if you can). If you find this email, you should complete the ID.me process. The system may take a couple tries, but it should eventually work. This will move your payments along.
The new Google form is for anyone who hasn’t gotten paid—even if you were only approved in the past week. And by the way, our furloughs may be over, but NJDOL is responsible for getting payments to all work-sharing participants, no matter how late the payments start. And when they do start, you will get multiple payments from the state system that catch you up to date (the federal payments follow with a delay of a week or two). We want NJDOL to untangle the last remaining cases in the coming weeks, so you shouldn’t have to wait much longer.
2. Two More Pieces of Advice if You Haven’t Been Paid
NJDOL recently told us that you should set up direct deposit if you possibly can to avoid further delays (and we have outlined a MUCH simpler process for selecting direct deposit in section 3 below). The default method for payment—a debit card mailed to your home address—involves additional steps to assure security, which causes further delay. We know the debit cards do get mailed eventually, so if you really don’t want direct deposit, you’ll still get payments. But direct deposit is the way to go if you want to expedite payment.
At the same time, we have to tell you to watch your mail for an envelope from NJDOL containing the debit card loaded with your payments—even if you’re certain that you signed up for direct deposit. We’ve heard from faculty who set up direct deposit during the online application in the first week of the program, but who recently received a debit card. The good news is that there is an easy process for transferring the balance on the card to a bank account, outlined in section 4 below.
3. The Easiest Way to Set Up Direct Deposit
We wish we knew about this before, but there is a MUCH simpler way to sign up for direct deposit. Here’s what to do:
- Go to https://www.myunemployment.nj.gov/, click on the “Need Help?” menu item, and choose “Forms.”
- Scroll down the page and click on the “What you can download and print out” header. Select BC-502 (item 6), “Authorization for Benefit Payment by Direct Deposit or Debit Card.”
- Fill out the pdf form and take a picture of a voided check from the account you want to deposit into.
- Attach both files and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were so frustrated by the phone/online instructions that you gave up on direct deposit, give this a try. This is especially helpful if you’re waiting for payments to start; we’ve been advised that setting up direct deposit will get you paid faster.
4. Transferring the Balance of a Debit Card to Any Bank Account
There’s an easy way to move funds from a Bank of America debit card into a bank account. Click here to go to the Bank of America CashPay Card page. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one, but once you’re signed in, follow the instructions to transfer balances from the card to a bank account.
5. How Much You Get in Unemployment Payments
The state pays unemployment recipients 60 percent of their salaries up to a cap of $731 per week for fully unemployed individuals (anyone making about $62,000 a year and above is at the cap). We are getting payments for a 10 percent furlough, so we only get 10 percent of the benefit. All of us in work-sharing will receive the maximum or close to it (between $60 and $73 a week). You may have elected to have 10 percent of your payments withheld for taxes; if so, then your benefit amount will be no greater than $66 a week.
Additionally, everyone will get a separate $300-a-week payment from federal unemployment funds. You automatically get the federal unemployment supplement if you are approved by NJDOL. However, these federal payments lag behind the state payments by several weeks. The further delay is frustrating, but payments do eventually come.
6. The Union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program
If you’ve gone this long without getting unemployment payments, you may be facing financial problems. Please consider the union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program. The loan program requires you to fill out a simple Google form to start the process. We can only provide loans to union members, but non-members who would like to participate in the program are welcome to join the union and become eligible. Please email us at email@example.com if you would like access to the Google form.
The Loan Committee will review the application for approval, and if necessary, we will reach out to you for more information. The loan amount would be a paycheck completion sum to recover the 10 percent of your paycheck missing due to furloughs. Once approved, we’ll send over our loan agreement and rules, and we can work together on getting your funds to you as quickly as possible (within about a day of being approved).
We know no one wants to go through even more applications, but the union is in a position to help if you need it, and we guarantee that the process will be FAR simpler than the NJDOL system.
Please raise any questions that weren’t answered in this update by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We plan to keep communicating with anyone who is still experiencing problems getting payments through a more restricted email list. So let us take this last opportunity to thank everyone else for your patience through this challenging program—and for your crucial support in advancing our union’s people-centered priorities.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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