NJDOL Receives $11M+ Grant to Continue Unemployment System Improvements

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has received a federal grant of more than $11 million to continue its work on updating its Unemployment Insurance systems. 

Funding will go towards advancing new features to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems, like the check your claim status page to help claimants receive their benefits faster by being able to view, manage, and resolve initial application, weekly certification, and identity verification issues online. These features were designed in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Information Technology, whose cloud service should help in the rapid development and implementation of these new tools, and with the New Jersey Office of Innovation. 

“Looking at the data, a majority of delayed claims get held up toward the beginning of the process,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We identified the most common pieces keeping claims from moving forward, and we created tools to help claimants and our agents reach a resolution quicker so workers can get all the benefits they’re due in a more timely manner.” 

While claimants will still receive email notifications regarding their claims, NJDOL intends for these new features to provide a more precise claim status and clear actions needed for resolution in an easily accessible, central location. 

Resolve claims issues online 

Questions answered on the initial application or weekly certification often necessitate more information to determine eligibility for benefits per federal regulations – a process called adjudication. 

After logging in to their “Check your claim status” account, claimants should now see applicable notifications letting them know if their claim is in the adjudication process, including a brief description of what information NJDOL needs from them to determine if they are eligible for a payment. 

There may also be a request for further information to be submitted to NJDOL. Information requests will still be provided through email, but claimants can now also view and fulfill these requests online, with a record of what information they have provided and when.

Integrated identity verification

Per federal rules, a claimant must verify their identity before UI benefits can be distributed. NJDOL enlisted federally credentialled security vendor to perform this critical step.

Claimants can confirm if their identity verification was completed and cleared with NJDOL by logging into their account through “Check your claim status”. If identity verification has not been done, claimants will see a notification on their claim status page along with a secure link to initiate the process. If there is an issue or delay after completing identity verification, the claim status page will provide instructions on what to do next.

USDOL grant means much more to come

NJDOL’s recent grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, will support NJDOL’s ongoing efforts spanning enhancements in UI technology, experience, and security. As one of 19 grantees across the U.S. and its territories, NJDOL continues to be at the forefront of UI modernization. 

New Jersey residents can expect continuous improvements to their experience over the coming months, with the release a completely new UI claim application later this month.

The first of many improvements in New Jersey’s UI modernization efforts began with upgrading the weekly certification website to be mobile-friendly and meet 508c accessibility standards, with a design to make the process easier to complete. In April 2022, NJDOL announced the release of an enhanced online application that simplified and explained the questions in plain language, allowed workers to apply from a mobile phone, as well as increased accessibility.

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