New Jersey Association of Justice
American Bar Association
National Employers Lawyers Association

Initial Determination

Initial Determination

The New Jersey Department of Labor makes the initial determination of whether an applicant has met the eligibility requirements to receive unemployment compensation benefits. The non-monetary eligibility requirements that an applicant must meet are showing that he or she is able, actively seeking and available to work.

Be Able to Work

An applicant must be physically, mentally and legally able and available to work for every week they are claiming benefits. If an applicant is unable to work as a result of a physical, mental or other disability or handicap, he or she will not be eligible for unemployment benefits, but may be eligible for New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance program or other disability compensation. In order for an alien to be eligible for unemployment benefits, he or she must be lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time the services were performed and lawfully present for the purpose of performing the services or otherwise was permanently residing in the United States under color of law at the time the services were performed.

Be Actively Seeking Work

An applicant must be actively seeking work in order to claim unemployment benefits. Actively seeking work requires that the applicant is doing all that is reasonable to secure new employment. The Department of Labor considers at least three employer contacts on a weekly basis as being actively seeking work. This includes sending resumes, telephone and in-person contact. This does not include relying entirely on an employment agency, word of mouth communications or just reading wanted ads.

Be Available for Work

An applicant must be willing, able and ready to accept suitable work and that he or she does not have good cause to refuse. Simply put, if a suitable job is offered, the applicant must take it. However, because everybody has different skills sets, experiences and circumstances, there is no black and white test to determine whether a job that is being offered is suitable and therefore must be accepted by the applicant. The Department of Labor and New Jersey courts analyze things like the applicant’s last job, including job duties, distance from home and salary in determining whether a new job position is suitable new employment. Additionally, the longer the applicant is receiving unemployment benefits, the broader the applicant must look for and accept suitable work.

DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
Client Reviews
We had a wrongful termination issue combined with a denial of unemployment insurance. Chris Eibeler was our primary attorney. His partner Bob Smith also consulted and gave us good advice. They were both so kind, caring, and professional. They guided us though a very tough time and a positive outcome versus a prior employer. They were also able to reverse our denial of unemployment insurance. I cannot recommend Smith and Eibeler highly enough. The entire staff is very professional, personable, and caring. Tom Wilson
I went to Smith Eibeler LLC for a last minute unemployment matter. Chris, Diane and his staff were very professional and easy to talk to. They provided knowledgeable insight and also kept me in the loop with the what was happening. I would not hesitate to go to him again. John Jung
Chris Eibeler (and the whole team) is very knowledgeable in all aspects of employment/unemployment here in NJ. They break down the most difficult aspects of the law, which allows you to conceptualize and better understand the complexities of the NJ Labor & Employment system. Smith Eibeler should be your first call regarding any Employment, workforce, or Labor questions here in New Jersey. I highly recommend them. Brian Allen
I approached Chris Eibeler regarding an unemployment case in early 2016. Him and his staff are some of the most professional people I have ever dealt with. The process took a while, but his approach to hard questioning helped me win my case. He knows how to get the job done and I am glad I went to him. I would recommend him to anyone in the future who asks for a lawyer. Thank you Chris! Tim F.
I highly recommend the office of Smith Eibeler for employment related issues, particularly anything related to restrictive covenants or post-employment contracts. I found Smith Eibeler via the web and cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found them. My case was handled by Bob Smith who represented me in a potential lawsuit by my former employer for violation of a post-employment contract (not a restrictive covenant per se). Bob was professional, friendly, understanding, and above all extremely helpful. Bob helped me avoid a lawsuit and was extremely knowledgeable in this field. I was thoroughly impressed with his prowess. Hopefully I will never have a legal issue related to employment again, but if I do, I will not hesitate to retain Smith Eibeler again! Gavin Tully

Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.