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You might be able to get unemployment if you quit a job in New Jersey, but it depends on circumstances and documentation. New Jersey looks at the reason why you’re out of work, and the basic rule is that it must be for a reason that isn’t your fault. If you leave voluntarily, it’s more difficult to qualify, although New Jersey does recognize a few special cases, such as domestic violence or leaving to join a military spouse assigned to a new location.
If your spouse is on active military duty, you may be eligible to collect unemployment if you quit your job to move out of state. The move has to take place within nine months of the spouse’s transfer to a new military assignment outside New Jersey, and you must be available for work in your new home state. New Jersey doesn’t charge your employer’s unemployment account if you collect unemployment due to a military transfer. This rule applies only to military families, not to other cases when someone quits a job to move with a spouse.
If you quit a job due to domestic violence, New Jersey law allows you to collect unemployment benefits. You need to submit specific evidence of domestic violence to support your unemployment claim. As with military transfers, New Jersey won’t charge your employer’s account in a case of domestic violence.
New Jersey will look at other reasons for quitting that aren’t the employee’s fault, but you need documentation that shows you had a valid reason and that it’s work-related, not for personal reasons. An often-cited 1997 New Jersey Supreme Court decision, Brady v. Board of Review, says the burden of proof is on the employee who quits to show good cause. The ruling also says New Jersey law clearly intends to exclude claimants who leave a job for personal reasons and provide benefits only for involuntary job loss.
When you file an unemployment claim, you must give a reason why you’re out of work. New Jersey contacts your former employer to verify the reason. If you quit, a claims examiner will interview you and look at the case to determine if you’re eligible. The state will notify you of the decision and give you a chance to appeal if the examiner denies your claim. If you appeal a denial, you must continue to file claims for weekly benefits while you wait for your hearing. You’ll receive payment later if you win the appeal. Your employer also has the right to appeal if the examiner grants benefits. If an employer appeals, keep in mind that you may have to pay back benefits if you lose the case.
Nan East began writing professionally in 1978 and worked as a reporter and editor for daily and weekly newspapers. Her work has appeared in the "Patriot Ledger" and other newspapers. She has awards from the New England Press Association and Suburban Newspapers of America and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Wheaton College.