In this update: 1) Work-sharing resources and explanation of forms you may receive; 2) Problems applying online/unemployment fraud victims; 3) If you have to apply by phone and your case is still pending; 4) Work-sharing loan program; 5) Selecting direct deposit; 6) When payments arrive; 7) Your unemployment payments; 8) Deciphering mailings from NJDOL; and 9) “e-Adjudication” and “Unresolved Issues on Your Claim.”
It’s week four of work-sharing, a lot more of you have received payments from the state unemployment system, and we hope some of you will start getting the $300-a-week federal payment this week. But we are still working out problems—from getting first payments to some of you to getting others into the system. We have some new approaches that we’ll try this week to get the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) and University Human Resources (UHR) to address these cases that have been delayed for much too long.
For those of you who are experiencing the toughest problems with this system, we are sorry this has dragged out for so long, and we thank you for your patience while we work on solutions.
We’ve updated answers to your questions in this email, so you can find the latest information all in one place. 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 Had Trouble with the Online Form or if You’re a Fraud Victim Waiting for an NJDOL Call
We are trying a new approach to get help for anyone who got persistent error messages that prevented you from applying online or who is a known unemployment fraud victim but hasn’t talked to an NJDOL agent.
In the next hour, we’ll be sending out an email (labeled “ACTION REQUIRED” so you don’t miss it) asking you to give us information so we can compile a new list that will be submitted to NJDOL, with a request that their agents directly contact you to expedite your case. This strategy has worked for some fraud victims and many work-sharing participants who had to apply by phone because they don’t have a New Jersey ID. So look out for that email, and please fill out the form as soon as possible.
3. If You Have to Apply by Phone and Your Case Is Still Pending (or Not Filed)
Last week, we assembled a new list of work-sharing participants who don’t have a New Jersey state ID and are still waiting for a call from NJDOL. That list has been submitted to NJDOL, and we hope agents will be contacting you this week. Please pick up if you possibly can. The agents will only ask a few questions and will hopefully tell you at the end that your claim is filed and to look out for a mailing (click here for the list of forms you might receive).
We know we’ve told you this before, but we’ll repeat it here: Try to pick up any calls that come to the preferred phone number you entered on the Google form. 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.
We’ll contact you immediately if we know when the calls are starting, but until then, please be on the lookout for any calls coming in to the phone number(s) you gave us.
4. The Union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program
For anyone who is suffering financial problems because of the 10 percent reduction in your paycheck and delays in unemployment payments, please consider the Work-Sharing Loan Program. The loan program requires you to fill out a simple Google form to start the process. Please email us at email@example.com 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.
5. Selecting Direct Deposit for Your Unemployment Payments
Anyone who applied online for unemployment payments got a chance to designate direct deposit as their preferred method of payment (the default payment method if you don’t set up direct deposit is a debit card you receive in the mail that will have new payments loaded onto it each week). But if you had to talk to an NJDOL agent to get your application approved (because you don’t have a New Jersey state ID, for example), you have to follow these instructions to select direct deposit for your unemployment payments.
The instructions are fussy, but we think that everyone who has followed them has ultimately been able to set up direct deposit. Here are some things to keep in mind so you don’t get tripped up:
- Use the “Step 2 for Automated Voice Response System: Creating a PIN” rather than the online instructions (some people have had problems with the online system, so we recommend using the phone method).
- Check to see what day you can follow Step 2 based on your Social Security number.
- After you create your PIN, hang up the call; don’t pay any attention to anything else that gets said or answer any questions about certifying.
- Wait until the next day before using the newly created PIN to go on to Step 3 (this is very important; the NJDOL system needs time to update information throughout the system).
6. When Will My Payments Start?
If your claim status reads as “Filed” (click here to check your claim status), your application is approved, and you should start getting payments according to the method you designated. Unfortunately, we don’t have any way of knowing when the payments will start. The state payments will come first; we’re told that the separate $300-a-month federal payments lag behind the state payments by a week or more.
The payments should start up within several weeks after your claim is listed as “Filed.” But we have heard of longer delays than this. We will keep following up with these messages to make sure payments start for everyone—and once they do start, they will continue weekly until you get all the money that is due to you.
7. How Much Will I Get? ($73? $731? Too Little? Too Much?)
The state of New Jersey pays unemployment insurance 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.
One thing to remember: if you chose to have a 10 percent deduction taken out of your payments to cover income taxes, your payment will be 10 percent smaller.
8. 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. 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.
9. “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
That’s it for now—we will keep updating you as we get new information that you should know. We thank you once again for supporting this work-sharing program, which was critical in advancing our shared goals. 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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