NJ Makes Changes For Unemployment Benefits ID Verification

Morristown Minute

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3 additional ways for unemployed workers to verify their identity on unemployment applications.Photo byMorristown Minute

Unemployment Applications may have just gotten a little easier.

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New Jersey has become the first state in the nation to offer unemployment applicants three ways to verify their identity that all meet heightened federal security standards.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) now offers these identity-proofing options:

  • self-service,
  • live video chat, and
  • in-person proofing for people with accessibility issues.

All unemployed workers must verify their identity by one of the three options before their unemployment application can be reviewed and benefits released.

These additions hope to speed up the historically laborious and tedious process of claiming unemployment benefits.

We are mindful of the balance we must strike between fraud prevention and customer access,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. "This new option accomplishes that – while adhering to enhanced security standards endorsed by federal agencies and helping to protect the Unemployment Trust Fund and the millions of New Jersey workers and businesses paying into it.”

ID.me, a federally credentialed security vendor, provides identity verification services for New Jersey and other state and federal agencies, implementing National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-compliant Identity Assurance Level 2 (IAL2) identity proofing.

Unemployment systems around the country require identity verification for the protection of every worker applying for benefits,” the Commissioner added. “I am proud that New Jersey is leading the way in providing options for workers.”

New Jersey received USDOL’s “Unemployment Insurance Innovation Award for Integrity” in 2011 for saving taxpayers $56 million in the first five months of a novel anti-fraud program that stopped fraudsters from collecting benefits after they had returned to work.

The pandemic ushered in new, more sophisticated identity theft schemes, and NJDOL responded by requiring enhanced identity verification.

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ID.me verification process.Photo byMorristown Minute

ID.me, and other anti-fraud tools already in place, have stopped hundreds of thousands of fraudulent claims from going forward, saving billions of dollars.

After a worker applies for unemployment benefits, they have the option to verify their identity through a link on their unemployment claim submission page, or they can act on a link NJDOL emails to them.

After they log in and create their ID.me account, they can choose how to verify their identity:

  1. Self-service: the easiest choice for workers who are reasonably comfortable using a computer or cell phone, have internet access, and can upload a document and take a clear selfie.
  2. Live video chat: the best choice for those who would find self-service a challenge due to technical limitations, or who prefer a non-biometric method of identity proofing.
  3. In-person: best for those without a computer, cell phone, or internet access, or who have document challenges.

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