In this update: 1) Work-sharing resources; 2) If you have to apply by phone and are waiting for an NJDOL call; 3) Trouble with the online form/fraud victims waiting for a call; 4) If your claim is filed but you haven’t gotten any payments; 5) The union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program; 6) Do NOT certify and the mailings from NJDOL; and 7) Setting up direct deposit.
It’s been a while since our last general update about work-sharing, but unfortunately, we’ve had less to tell you than we wanted.
At the halfway point in the program, most of you have successfully applied for unemployment and are receiving payments. But far too many work-sharing participants are stuck short of that—some with problems even getting into the system and others still waiting for your first payments after being approved weeks ago.
Throughout this time, we have been pressing the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) and University Human Resources (UHR) to move our work-sharing program along. At times they have responded and improved the process, but we have been disappointed with the lack of action in the past several weeks. Though we have given NJDOL and UHR multiple ways of resolving cases, we know some of you are still waiting for further support. We are frustrated by this, as we know you are, and we are committed to continuing to push for a quick resolution to all of your claims. Please know that you will eventually receive your full payments from this program, even if those payments are maddeningly delayed.
Below, we’ll deal with specific information for the different problems some of you are experiencing. Look for the section that applies to you and read it carefully. We thank you for your patience as we do everything we can to resolve these problems.
1. Work-Sharing Resources
- Unemployment Filing Instructions
- Online Form to Check 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 Are Still Waiting for an NJDOL Call
Earlier this month, we submitted a list of people without a New Jersey state ID who need a phone call from NJDOL in order to complete the application process. But to our knowledge, no one on that list has gotten a call.
This is highly frustrating, and unfortunately, we don’t know of any other way of getting your claim addressed. We do know that most faculty who have to apply by phone were able to talk to an agent during the first round of calls late last month, and their application was approved (though some are still waiting to receive payments). So this process will work once we get NJDOL to call you.
This week, we were told by an NJDOL representative that the list had been sent to a department in charge of making calls, so it is possible that the calls will finally be made soon. We have to repeat the advice that we’ve told you before: watch for any call to the number(s) you put down in the Google form and pick up if you possibly can. Remember that the calls will come from a number and name that won’t be familiar to you (watch for these two numbers especially: 732-761-2020 and 201-601-4100).
We won’t stop working on this until all of you who are waiting for a call from NJDOL are approved and getting payments. And we want to remind you: no matter how long it takes, once payments do start, they will be retroactive to the start of the program in April.
3. If You Had Trouble with the Online Form or if You’re a Fraud Victim Waiting for an NJDOL Call
A smaller number of you are in the same boat—waiting for a call from an NJDOL agent because you had trouble completing the online form or are an unemployment fraud victim who hasn’t yet been contacted by NJDOL. We compiled a list of these participants over a week ago, but we are still waiting for action. As we said above, there is simply no other way to get these cases addressed except through direct contact with an NJDOL agent.
We do know that NJDOL has the list, and we’ve been told that it had been forwarded to the units within the department that deal with these problems. So the calls could start coming any time. We’ll repeat the advice we gave you above: watch for any call to the number(s) you put down in the Google form and pick up if you possibly can. Remember that the calls will come from a number and name that won’t be familiar to you (watch for these two numbers especially: 732-761-2020 and 201-601-4100).
Once again, we thank you for your patience while we continue to press NJDOL to deal with these cases. And we want to likewise assure you that, no matter how long it takes, we won’t stop working on this problem until you get all the payments due to you for the full length of the program.
4. If Your Claim Is Listed as Filed, but You Haven’t Gotten Any Payments
Many of you who applied online when the work-sharing program began started receiving payments from the state system early this month, with the separate $300-a-week federal payment following a week or two later. But others who applied in that first week are still waiting for your first payment. We don’t know why payments are delayed for some of you and not for others. People at UHR say these delays have happened in previous work-sharing programs they’ve run over the past year, and they’re equally mystified.
We will wait until next Monday to see if payments start for those of you who are waiting and then ask the rest to fill out a new Google form, so we can take this issue to NJDOL. We’ve been told by an NJDOL representative that they will look into these cases if we assemble a list of work-sharing participants who are experiencing delays.
So if you’re still facing this problem on Monday, look out for another “ACTION REQUIRED” email from us. We’ll be asking about your claim status (click here to check your status online), whether you got the standard mailing to your home address, and whether you ran into any problems while applying (let us know if you got an “e-Adjudication” email about “unresolved issues on your claim,” for example).
5. The Union’s Work-Sharing Loan Program
The 10 percent furlough reductions in two paychecks may be causing financial problems for anyone who still hasn’t gotten any unemployment payments. 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. Please email us at [email protected] 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 (within about a day of being approved).
6. Do NOT Certify, Mailings from NJDOL, What to Do with Them, and (Did We Say This Already?) Do NOT Certify
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. However, the forms you get have information that is confusing and inaccurate. Don’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.
Above all, do NOT certify. If you receive any communication, in writing or from an agent, telling you to certify weekly in order to keep getting unemployment payments or to set up appointments to certify, ignore it. The process of certifying does not apply to our work-sharing program. Once we are approved, we will receive our payments for the duration of the program without any further contact with NJDOL.
A small number of you may get another mailing telling you to attend a phone interview about your application. You should respond to these inquiries. They typically involve faculty who are new to Rutgers (and thus their previous 12 months of earnings include income from other institutions) or who have connections to businesses outside Rutgers. You should answer any questions you are asked. However, the agents you speak to may not understand the Rutgers work-sharing program. Do not agree to anything about certifying for benefits, even if they insist you need to—that is one inquiry you don’t need to respond to.
7. 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 very fussy, but we think that everyone who has followed them has ultimately been able to set up direct deposit (even if it took a couple tries). 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 to create a PIN, so we recommend using the phone method).
- Check to see what day you can follow Step 2 based on the digits of your Social Security number.
- Call the phone system during business hours (8 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)
- 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).
That’s it for specific questions. If you haven’t found the question or issue you have, look at this recent work-sharing update and see if it’s answered there. And you can always email us at [email protected].
We thank you once again for supporting this work-sharing program, which was critical in advancing our shared goals. And for those of you who have been waiting to be approved and start receiving payments for far too long, we promise that we will not stop working on your cases until you get all of the money that is owed to you under the program.
Todd and Becky
P.S. Please sign a petition in support of our postdoc colleagues who are still fighting for a living-wage contract nearly two years after the last one expired. Send a message to Rutgers to treat these valuable members of our community with respect, dignity, and equity.
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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