NJ Department of Labor launches online chat feature to answer unemployment questions

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has launched a chat feature on its website to answer customers’ unemployment questions. But you won’t get answers from a person, instead, you will receive a response from a chatbot.

The feature simulates a human text response to provide answers to the 20 most frequently asked questions related to unemployment benefits. The chatbot was developed in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Innovation and uses Google technology.  

“We are investigating every resource we can add to assist our customers at this time of unprecedented unemployment claims,” said New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Many who are calling or emailing can find the answers to their questions on our website. This new feature points them in the right direction to find the answer quickly.” 

One goal of the new chat feature is to improve customer service. Another goal is to direct customers to self-service features whenever possible. In its first three days of operation, there were 50,000 interactions with the chat feature. Officials said the chatbot frees up time for agents to focus on claims that need an intervention.  

Officials sad many of the inquiries the department receives every day are for general information, including: 

  • Am I eligible for benefits?
  • How do I reset my pin?
  • How do I check my claim status?
  • What do I do to qualify for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?, or
  • How do I certify for weekly benefits?

Officials warned that residents should not enter claim-specific information into the chatbot because there is not a live agent on the other end. 

Many residents have complained that they still have not received benefits, that they were denied benefits, or that the New Jersey Department of Labor’s online portal keeps crashing or freezing.

Officials said the department has taken various steps to try to respond to more residents, including designating hundreds of employees as essential, training them, and temporarily reassigned them to work for the unemployment insurance division; ordering hundreds of new laptops so more employees who must remain home for health reasons can work remotely; improving the computer system’s capacity to allow it to accept thousands of claims per hour; adding more capacity to be able to process regular unemployment payments, along with the additional $600 supplement and PUA claims. The department is also hiring more than 130 new full-time staff members and bringing dozens of retirees back to work. 

Gov. Phil Murphy has said any resident who is eligible for unemployment will receive every penny that they qualify for. When asked about the backlog, he has repeatedly said the department is dealing with a record number unemployment claims. He has asked people to be patient, but some people have now gone two months without receiving a paycheck.

For more information or to use this new tool, visit Myunemployment.nj.gov. 


    1. When you go directly to the myunemployment.nj.gov site, the chatbox is in the lower right corner of your screen. At least it is for us on a laptop using Google chrome.

      1. I did not receive. Last week Payment I answered all questions. Got a confirmation number. Says open. Existing claim I did. Never received payment for. The week what can I do

    2. I have open a Claim March 22 was approved and was told I was going to get money put on my BOA account I finally got the card on Monday been calling every day cannot get through money is not posted then I tried to claim for April 25 I may have made a mistake it’s showing that my last payment was on the 25th and I cannot claim and I am wondering what to do now this is ridiculous and I’m way in almost 8 weeks and not a dime please get back to me

  1. I’ve now gone almost 2 months without receiving my benefits and I’ve been approved since 3/22/2020, why haven’t I received my benefits yet??


      1. I’ve now gone almost 2 months without receiving my benefits and I’ve been approved since 3/22/2020, why haven’t I received my benefits yet?? And NOW I HAVE NO MONEY FOR FOOD MY CHILD AND PARENTS . We are very stressed now because of FOOD ????.

      2. I applied 3/19/2020. I received unemployment instructions in mail saying I could start claiming benefits on 4/1/2020. Every week I get claim not payable at this time. You can’t get a person to speak to through mail or on the phone. One would think that two months would be enough time to contact someone by phone or email if there was a question for the claimant.

    2. Same here applied 03/22/20. Have not received a check. i have emailed and was sent a check my status link, just for the link to say i dont have a claim. I tried calling to do another claim it states i have a claim and i cannot place another claim . I understand how it is different information in two different areas.The system is screwed up and before we will get a check you will be homeless or you will not receive anything until the state start to open back up. Then they will try not to give you all the money you are entitled.

    1. Be approved since April 4 have not been able to file weekly benefits It’s say,s need to talk to a repensintave well good luck with that I have used up most of my savings nobody to talk to sent 30 emails I’ve even wrote a letter

    1. I been out of work since March 13 and i had apply for my benefits in April so i want to know why it keep saying pending.

    2. My daughter got 1 payment then 5 weeks of nothing can someone tell me whT to do cant get help

    3. I need help I try to claim I cant it say I need to talk to customer service person .

  2. It’s really not helpful, there are some special cases and this does not help unless there is an actual person, I have been going crazy to reach out to someone to get my claim fixed.

  3. It’s not a chat that will help me! I need a real person ????????‍♀️

  4. Its B.S.! it answers common questions, not your question dealing with your specific situation

  5. Its all bull. I am waiting 4 weeks claim just says pending how do i pay my bills cant get anyobe on the phone i need to talk to a live agent

    1. My brother gets different notifications to do his weekly claim. First different days one says call another days online. Hasn’t been able to put in claim even though he was approved since April need help with a real person not a machine

  6. When are we going to be able to speak with a human being? The chat box can’t answer the questions I have.

  7. The chat is useless… It doesn’t help or fix any problem on the applicant’s end. He says there are people talking to agents about general information?! I have scoured alot of news forums and blogs and everybody with A REAL problem can’t talk to anyone. He calls all 300,000 who have waited weeks “anomalies” ?!? The phone lines should only be accessible to applicants who have waited more than 2 months (Me; initial claim date: 03/10/2020)
    Then once there out the line do one month, then 3 weeks, etc. Easily vetted by SSN. Seems like there is no logistical reasoning on how they handle this “unprecedented” amount of applicants. The phone lines hangs up on you, tell you to call the next day. Very sad. The director of Unemployment should be ashamed of the work he is doing or in this case not doing

  8. My husband filed for UI is been qualified but there is an issue that needs to resolve with customer service and no one is available what he does in this case to get paid.

  9. I need help finding out why my claim is not payable at this time

  10. This isn’t any good for someone who needs to talk with someone my son applied april 1 and it said he needed to talk to a representative i still cant believe if you call at 8 am it tells you that everyone is busy call back tomorrow are they just not taking any calls and if they are not then why are they telling people they have to speak with someone being patient dosent feed your family unless Murphy is giving out personal loans from his pocket some people live week to week and have no savings being patient dosent feed you

  11. I filed my unemployment claim since April 21,2020 and I was told to claim my weekly benefits.
    I claimed but i was told to speak to an Agent before my payment can be processed.
    Every time I tried calling,the recorded system will tell me to call the next business day. How do i speak with an Agent from Unemployment?

  12. I just used it and it didn’t help me at all. It’s just the same information already emailed to me.

  13. I do not pass it with me because I tried to create my unemployment account and until now I could not only fill in my basic information and the last questions that give us the key, but then it will no longer allow me to enter the next page to create My account is like this since March that they gave me lay off and I feel desperate because I have 4 children and I am a single mother and I do not have economic income until now, see if someone can help me I live in NJ and I already sent a written letter a month to Trenton NJ and also received no news

  14. I’ve been approved since April 4 have not been able to file weekly benefits It’s tells me I have to speak to repensintave well good luck with that I sent 30 emails 3 letters and called ever number 20 times each day

  15. Like everyone else commenting on this blog, I too I’m having a difficult time collecting. The answering service when you call says they are to busy to take the call and to call the next day. This message repeats itself the next day even if it is at 8 am. I feel like the state of NJ is hoping that we give up so we won’t claim. This is very disappointing and as much as the government wants us to be safe, being stressed out and worried about bills and feeding our families cause other types of deadly illnesses. Way to go NJ Gov.

  16. Everyone who has posted a comment on this subject is absolutely correct and completely justified in their frustration. It is unacceptable that this is even happening; that anyone is not receiving their unemployment. Forget the ‘chatbot’! The people need to speak with a human being! Maybe Mr. Asaro-Angelo should put more effort into that. Maybe they should be extending the phone hours, temporarily, until these issues have been handled for people because 8:30a-4:30p is not enough. I worked in a call center at a casino for years so I speak from experience. Even if there are 50 people answering calls with 100 calls in que, those calls will not be answered in an 8hr period of time when there are more calls coming in behind those already on hold. And all those people will just call back the next day…and the next. It’s just a vicious loop that isn’t going to be broken. And to continue telling people to be patient is almost condescending at this point. People have been patient…for 2 months now. They have families to feed and bills to pay. This problem needs to be addressed. For real now.

    1. I totally agree with Andi Mr Asaro-Angelo needs to pull his sleeves and stop pointing fingers.He sits on these panels and try to blame the American people for not entering the information in the system correctly. And that is not the issue for everyone. He also states they dont have enough staff they have to be vetted proplerly Understandable, but you had staff members that are vetted and qualified to perform the job that can take care of the calls that needs a representative at least. You have applicants that has been waiting for 2 months to receive benefits. People cannot be patient when they are living pay check to pay check before this pandemic, and dont have a way to feed there kids and pay there bills. A chatbot can help people resolve there issues for those that need to speak to a representative if you set it up that way. Example. Amazon has a chat system where you are speaking to live person depending on your question the first representative could of help you. But my issue was an charge to my account they had another rep chime in to help me that was able to take care of my issue right over chat i received an email after everything was done. Ui can be set up the same way if it a frequently asked it can be a chatbot. if you have to speak to a representative you can be given a pin number to set up a time for a chat with an represntative or phone call with the representative if you dont have a computer to chat. That way you know you will be taken care of and will eliminate so many phone calls.

    1. I filed on April 27th did the e adjudication on the 28th now the system tells me my social security number is invalid and I dont have a claim but when I put my info to get a call or email it response with no problem. That’s strange so I tried to redo another claim since I don’t exist but then the unemployment system tells me I can’t because i have an existing claim. Very frustrating and sad to say the least. How are you suppose to care for your family in these trying times. ..smh

  17. I got payment for the past two weeks now all of a sudden it says it cant be processed and that i NEED to talk to a representative. Anyome have the issue where it was working and now all of a sudden its not?

  18. Good Morning, I need urgent help. since 03/19/2020 I have not been able to complete the case without work. I have called a lot and sent email asking for help.

  19. When I claim over the phone it say I have to talk to a representative but it’s nobody to talk to

    1. I applied for unemployment and qualified under PANDEMIC unemployment . My hours were cut by 50% but since I was a student in the last 18 months My weekly benefit is $9 less then my pay before taxes so when I certify the system tells me I’m In eligible. My problem is I don’t understand why I am not receiving the $600 pandemic money since I do have a qualifying claim at least that money would bring me up to what I normally make weekly before taxes. It’s actually penalizing people that are working part time and the people that aren’t working at all are making more money staying home then they did when they actually worked.

  20. I am a gig worker and i have not received my retroactive funds and no PUA of $600

    1. They should start processing the application from march because we’ve been waiting for almost 2 months now before working on new applications!we need money so desperately!

  21. Phil Murphy is worth over 100 million dollars. It’s easy to tell people to be patient when you’ve never experienced genuine financial related stress. There are people losing their homes and who cannot feed their children. Would he look them in the eyes, knowing his net worth, and tell them to continue to be patient? All while deceiving the NJ public about “how hard the DOL is working to resolve issues” NOBODY has answered the phone in 3 months. Don’t lie, man up.

  22. Hi I been calling my unemployment benefits since 4/1/2020 and certify on computer,I haven’t finish my procedure yet and I wanna be able to finish this n receive my money for my expenses,I been checking on the net n nothing new,no letters,how can I finish my procedure almost 2 month like this,my email is Man7601@outlook.com please reply to my comment,thank u.

  23. Like everyone else I filed March 29, 2020 ! Have not received anything. Tried calling various numbers got nowhere . Have e-mailed governor received a general message but still have not solved.

  24. I filed in early March and im still waiting
    Its telling me i cannot proceed because i have an existing claim. Then it says to speak to an agent!!??. THERE ARE NO AGENTS, WTF absolute disgrace waiting this long and no answer no assistance no nothing

  25. I agree my brother tried to claim his benefits today and the system told him he did not have a claim and told him to file a claim, so he went back in the system to file again. The system said you cannot file a claim you already have one. But you need to be patient and your system is not giving accurate information. Everyone is going to be homeless while governor murphy and Mr Asaro collect there checks and enjoy there big homes. Lets see who will not be getting my vote next term. You are surely not working for the people.

  26. application date march 22 2020 and still nothing. I call every day, just like everyone else. What is it going to take for NJ Unemployment and Federal Govt. to make things right? 8 weeks is more than enough time to have had the “anomalies” worked out. Im beyond desperate. Bloods on Phil Murphys hands now

  27. I’ve been trying to claim benefits since may 17 2020. I filed a claim but do not know if it went through and I may have made a mistake not claiming laid off due to covid 19. Second when I try to see my new claim it keeps bringing up my old claim which i still have alot to claim also. How do I contact someone and finish certifying. My bills and expenses are becoming overwhelming and I need immediate help

  28. Same it’s been 6 weeks not payable! Almost done with my savings no idea what to do!

  29. It’s amazing to me that the head of unemployment which is supposed to have managerial skills and the governor seen this monumental wave of unemployment cases coming and did nothing to head it off like maybe hiring more staff and allowing career centers to remain open not to the public but for agents to continue to perform thier duties – perhaps they were not concerned about thier next dollar or next meal – shame on our elected public officials

  30. Uncle Dee, I agree come election time that is why we need people that is going to ve avout not just talk about it. He definitely will not be getting my vote.

  31. Filed unemployment, funds gave been deducted from the site but no payment into my account or the Bank of America card sent. What is going on. Waiting for 6 weeks of unemployment payments.

  32. I have been laid off since 3/12/2020 and app. For unemployment on the 18th of same month. I have received both blue and gray mail outs from nj unemployment stating that I am eligible for benefits how much per week and when to claim weekly benefits.so I have claimed on dates that I was told too. But to no avail every time I get the recording that I need to speak with a representative call back on the next day so I called back and the next day and no response I’m about ready to lose my home it is very hard to pay any of my bills. I understand there’s a lot of people that are unemployed now because of this pandemic but I think eight weeks two months is long enough for a state to be able to straighten this out. I think it’s high time that the millionaire that I voted for as my governor to straighten this problem out because if it doesn’t getting straightened out soon he does not get my vote next election he will not get my vote the next election!!!! I thought he was going to be really good for the state but apparently I was wrong so Murphy needs to do something And needs to do it fast there’s a lot of people that are going to lose their homes and can’t even feed there children .in this state one of the richest states in the country we pay high taxes and we have good support most of the time from this great state of nj.that i love. Do something now Phil.you are this states leader.we are the people who supported you and elected you our governor. We need your help NOW !! Just as you need ours to win your election.loosing my home soon and I’m not the only New Jersey resident on the balls of there ass.

  33. I share much of the frustrations my fellow New Jersians are experiending. I attempted to certify benefits only to be prompted that I need to speak to an agent. Is there any proven strategy for getting through to a live agent?

  34. We should all show up at Governor Murphy’s doorstep at dinner time. Perhaps he can provide all the unemployed awaiting their $$$ with a meal. If the Corona doesn’t kill us we will die from starvation. What a disgrace! Get it together US government. Why does it seem that other countries seem to be more organized than the United States during this pandemic?

    1. I want to no how to speak to customer service talk to some one I try to claim but I couldn’t say I need to talk to customer service I cant get through

  35. I don’t know what’s going on I don’t know what’s going on possible to file for my taxes yesterday my weekly benefits they said I need to speak to a claim agent I cannot connect with no claim agent how do I supposed to be getting my benefits if I can’t even talk to claim agent what number can I use to get in contact ASAP with a client agency this is don’t make no sense at all I got a child baby one daughter is like you know is too much I just want my money I supposed to get a week when I do for my weekly benefits and the 600 that posed to be gratitude to me

  36. I lost my job due to covid 19, I have been for three weeks of seven weeks of unemployment and I can’t seem to get my four previous weeks. Every week now I certify I expect to see previous weeks and I can” see it .

  37. Yes my name is constance jones and I have been calling since March ..I received my last check at the end of April and I have been calling in but I still don’t see any money on my card yet it said I well get credit for the weeks I have been calling in ..and it said I need to speak to agent ..but I have been calling every day all day and I’m not get any answer ..I have send email talked to a unemployment lawyer . nothing I just need some help if some one can get back to me it would make he happy. My phone number is 856 6356634 could some please call me and let me know want the problem maybe so I can fit ..I’m going crazy trying to speak to someone ..I’ll be calling in again this .. can someone please please please help me .. thank you ..my email is jconstance39@gmail.com thank you some much hoping to hear something soon

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