After you've been approved for unemployment insurance benefits by the New Jersey Department of Workforce Development (DWD), you probably would like to know how much compensation you'll receive. New Jersey determines your unemployment compensation based on your previous earnings and the number of dependents you have. Then, using the state maximum guidelines, the DWD determines exactly how much you'll actually receive while obtaining unemployment benefits.
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Calculate Weekly Benefit Amount
Your weekly New Jersey unemployment benefit depends on how much money you made during your base year period. Your base year period is the first four of the last five complete calendar quarters before the date you applied for unemployment benefits. Your weekly payment amount on New Jersey unemployment is 60 percent of your average salary during your base period year. The DWD website provides a calculator to help you figure out how much your payments will be (see Resources).
New Jersey also offers an additional amount for your financial dependents on top of your calculated weekly benefit. A dependent is defined as an unemployed spouse or unemployed, unmarried child for whom you provide most of the
living expenses. You'll receive a 7-percent increase for your first dependent and a 4-percent increase for each additional one until you reach the 15-percent cap.
Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount
To prevent abuse of the state's unemployment insurance plan, New Jersey law prevents how much money you can collect each week from unemployment compensation. This figure may change annually since it's based on 60 percent of the average salary paid to a New Jersey worker. Even if you qualify for more weekly payments or a dependency benefit, you won't receive a payment larger than the state's maximum weekly payment. As of January 2011, the rate is $598.
Maximum Number of Payments
Each benefit year, your maximum number of payments is set by the maximum number of weeks you worked in your base period year. You can receive one unemployment weekly payment for each week you earned money during your base period year. The state law sets the maximum at no more than 26 weeks per benefit year. Your benefit year starts on the day you file your initial unemployment claim. After that year is up, your maximum number of payments starts over again.