In this update: 1) Work-sharing resources; 2) If you have to apply by phone and your case is still pending; 3) Problems creating a new account; 4) Unemployment fraud victims; 5) Work-sharing loan program; 6) “e-Adjudication” and “Unresolved Issues on Your Claim”; 7) Selecting direct deposit; 8) Your unemployment payments; 9) Deciphering mailings from NJDOL; and 10) Mistaken furlough reductions.
We made progress on work-sharing this week, with more of you coming to the end of the application process and awaiting payments that should begin arriving in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, some of you are still waiting for approval or to get into the system. We’re trying new ways to get the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) to address these cases. Thank you for your patience in dealing with this confusing and frustrating system.
Below, we updated answers to your questions so that you have the latest information all in one place (sections about problems getting into the system come first, so keep scrolling if you want to know about your payments once you’re approved). Please look for the sections that apply to you and read them carefully.
1. Work-Sharing Resources
Here are some helpful resources for work-sharing participants:
- Unemployment Filing Instructions
- Instructions for Checking Your Claim Status
- Communications You May Receive from NJDOL (and What to Do with Them)
- Instructions for Selecting Direct Deposit
- Union Form to Report Problems with Applying
2. If You Have to Apply by Phone and Your Case Is Still Pending
We wrote to this specific group separately this morning (click here to read the message if you missed it) to update you about our new attempt to get NJDOL to contact those of you who missed the calls that agents started making last week to process your applications. We hope NJDOL will begin a new round of calls by early next week to a list of work-sharing participants we’ve compiled whose status is still “pending” and who need to speak to an agent.
Unfortunately, we have no control over when NJDOL agents make their calls, so we have to ask you to keep an eye out for phone calls and pick up if you possibly can. NJDOL calls may come from unknown or blocked numbers (watch for these two numbers especially: 732-761-2020 and 201-601-4100). If you do talk to an NJDOL agent, answer their questions and ignore any misinformation about whether you’re eligible or need to certify. Mostly, faculty have reported that the agents ask a few questions and tell you to await a follow-up mailing confirming that your claim has been filed.
We’re sorry to have to keep asking for your patience, but it is taking time to make sure all of you speak to an agent. We won’t stop working on your cases until they are all addressed.
3. Problems Creating a New Account
Some of you can’t get through the online unemployment application because you get an error message saying you can’t set up a new account. If you haven’t already, you need to email University Human Resources (UHR) at firstname.lastname@example.org, so they can put your name and information on a list of people that NJDOL needs to clear up. Give as much information as you can remember about the problems you encountered, including where in the process you were prevented from applying and what error message you saw (and put the main error message in the subject line). Also include a phone number where you can be reached; NJDOL may need to contact you to clear up whatever is wrong with your account.
We know a lot of you have already emailed UHR. You should keep emailing until UHR confirms that your name is on the list of work-sharing participants having account problems. We’ve been assured that this list is being regularly updated and sent to NJDOL. If you’ve emailed a number of times and still haven’t gotten a response, email us at email@example.com, and we can try to make sure your case has been seen.
As with faculty who have to apply by phone, once you know you’re on the list, you should watch out for a phone call from NJDOL and pick up if you possibly can. The calls may come from unknown or blocked numbers (watch for these two numbers in particular: 732-761-2020 and 201-601-4100).
Once again, we have to thank you for your patience. And remember: you won’t be penalized if it takes you longer to finish applying. Once you are approved, you will get all the payments for the full duration of the work-sharing program, retroactive to the start date last week.
4. Victims of Unemployment Fraud
Unfortunately, some of the work-sharing participants who are known victims of unemployment fraud are likewise waiting for calls from NJDOL agents to clear up their cases and approve their applications. The calls that reached many of you last week seem to have slowed this week. We are continuing to press UHR and NJDOL on this.
We have to keep advising you to watch out for phone calls that could be from NJDOL and pick up if you possibly can. The calls may come from unknown or blocked numbers (watch for these two numbers in particular: 732-761-2020 and 201-601-4100). The good news is that if you do speak to an agent, they will likely ask you a couple questions and approve your claim without you having to do anything more. But we have to make sure you speak to an agent.
5. The Union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program
We know that the 10 percent reduction in your paycheck will be hard to deal with if payments from unemployment are delayed for much longer. The union has set up a Work-Sharing Loan Program for members who are suffering short-term financial problems. The loan program requires you to fill out a simple Google form to start the process. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like access to the 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.
6. “e-Adjudication” and “Unresolved Issues on Your Claim”
Some of you received emails from NJDOL—marked “e-Adjudication” or indicating that there are “Unresolved Issues on Your Claim”—that ask you to complete a form. This is a routine email that indicates NJDOL thinks you answered a question incorrectly. You need to complete the form linked in the email and indicate if you answered a question inaccurately.
These “unresolved issues” are usually the result of people making a mistake with questions on the standard unemployment form that don’t make sense in our situation. These questions are meant for people who have lost employment, not people in a work-sharing program. If you keep this in mind, it will help you answer the questions correctly. Here are a few questions that we know faculty had problems with:
- Are you able and willing to work full time? (please answer “yes”)
- Do you expect to be recalled by this employer? (please answer “no”)
- Are you receiving benefits from a pension or retirement fund (unless you are getting a pension from another institution, please answer “no”; some of you were mixed up because you are contributing to a retirement fund, but you are not receiving benefits from it).
Have the UHR instructions on filing for unemployment handy to help you answer the questions. Unfortunately, though, the follow-up forms from NJDOL ask for some of the same information from the original application, but with different wording. Here is some information you may need for these follow-up questionnaires:
- Employer address: Rutgers University NJ, c/o Corporate Cost Control, P.O. Box 1180, Londonderry, NH 03053
- Employer phone number: (800) 207-6926
- Last day physically worked with employer: 04/17/2021
- Date of separation from employer: 04/17/2021
- Your rate of pay: This is the gross earnings for the last 12 months that the UHR instructions tell you to gather from your myRutgers portal.
- Type of pay: Annual
- Reason for separation: Select “Other” and enter: “Hours reduced—COVID-19-related”
- Please explain why you were separated from your job: Hours reduced—COVID-19-related
7. Selecting Direct Deposit for Your Unemployment Payments
NJDOL agents are not allowed to take bank information over the phone, so if you are getting a call about your claim because you don’t have a New Jersey state ID, you will have to follow these instructions to select direct deposit for your unemployment payments. The instructions tell you how to create a four-digit PIN (different from the one you may have created when you first applied), create a new account, and change the payment method.
A few of you have reported problems with this process, but here are some suggestions to fix them:
- Note that you can only take certain steps in the instructions on certain days and at certain times, depending on digits in your Social Security number (and the hours that the phone system is open).
- We recommend that you follow step 2 (creating a PIN) through the Interactive Voice Response system—some faculty have had problems with the online instructions for step 2.
- Remember to wait a day after creating your PIN to follow the last step to create a new account and select direct deposit.
8. Your Unemployment Payments ($73? $731? Too Little? Too Much?)
Some of you started getting payments from the New Jersey unemployment system on Monday, and we hope more of you will get them next week. We’re also expecting the federal unemployment supplement payments to begin arriving next week. We’re told that these usually lag the state payments by a week or two, but once they start, you will get them weekly for the full duration of the program.
The state pays recipients 80 percent of their salaries up to a cap of $731 per week (anyone making about $62,000 a year and up is at the cap). But remember that we are getting payments for a 10 percent furlough, so we only get 10 percent of that amount. All of us in work-sharing will receive close to the maximum each week (between $60 and $73). You may have seen the much larger amount on NJDOL forms, as if you were 100 percent unemployed. But that figure will eventually be updated to reflect the 10 percent furlough.
Additionally, everyone will get the separate $300-a-week payment from the federal unemployment system. You automatically get the federal unemployment supplement if you are approved by NJDOL.
If you want to compare your unemployment payments with how much has been taken out of your biweekly paycheck because of furloughs, remember that you get two unemployment payments every biweekly pay period—so double them to compare with your furlough reduction. This furlough estimator on the UHR website will show the effect on your biweekly paycheck.
9. What’s in the Mailings from NJDOL
When your unemployment claim is approved, you will get a standard mailing from NJDOL to your home address. This is good news—you will start receiving payments. Some of the forms you get have information that is confusing and inaccurate, but you shouldn’t worry about these forms. No action is required. UHR has a detailed list of communications you might receive from NJDOL and whether any action is required.
If you receive any communication telling you to certify weekly for continued unemployment payments or to set up appointments to certify, ignore them. This does not apply to us. Once we are approved, we will receive our payments for the duration of the program without any further contact with NJDOL.
10. Unexpected Furlough Reduction in Your Paycheck
We think this problem is largely dealt with, but as a reminder: Some of you who know you are exempt from the work-sharing program found a “furlough reduction” in your paycheck last week. If you haven’t already, you should email UHR at email@example.com and explain why you are exempt. You will be reimbursed for lost pay in your next paycheck (or, if it turns out you are a participant after all, UHR will help you get into the unemployment system, and you will get all the payments for the duration of the program, retroactive to the start date last week).
Once again, we thank you for your patience in dealing with the frustrations and uncertainty of all this. We are making progress toward getting everyone into the system—and we won’t stop working on this until all of you are receiving payments. If you haven’t found all the information you need here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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