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Researching the Law on Unemployment Benefits


You can look up statutes (laws), regulations (agency rules), and case law (court decisions) on the internet. 

Finding Specific Laws

New Jersey laws are cited as “N.J.S.A. 43:21-5.”  “N.J.S.A.” stands for “New Jersey Statutes, Annotated,” and the numbers that follow give the specific location of the law.

To find a particular statute, go to the New Jersey Legislature’s website.  Click on “Statutes” under “Law and Constitution” on the left-hand side of the page.  That will bring you to a long list of laws.  Click on “Title 43: Pensions and Retirement and Unemployment Compensation.”  To get to the sections on unemployment, you will have to click the arrow on the right until you reach what you’re looking for (in most cases, the section on disqualifications from unemployment, section 43:21-5).  You have to be patient because it takes a lot of clicks to get to the unemployment section, but this is the most reliable website for current laws. 

Finding Specific Regulations

New Jersey regulations (agency rules) are cited as “N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1.”  “N.J.A.C.” stands for “New Jersey Administrative Code,” and the numbers that follow give the specific location of the regulation.

To find a particular regulation (agency rule), visit the New Jersey Register (from LexisNexis). When you get to that website, you will be asked to review the terms and conditions and click “I agree.”  Once you agree, click on the “New Jersey Administrative Code” folder on the left-hand side of the page.  Then click “New Jersey Administrative Code” again for a list of chapters.  Go to Title 12 for “Labor and Workforce Development,” the agency whose regulations you are researching.  Chapter 17, “Unemployment Benefits,” is likely the section that you will want to see. 

Example: If you left work because the conditions at work were unhealthy, you will want to see N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.4, “voluntarily leaving for health or safety conditions.”  To get to that regulation, click on “Title 12,” then “Chapter 17,” then “Subchapter 9,” then “12:17-9.4.”

Researching Court Decisions

Finding court decisions on cases similar to yours can be useful in appeals.  In deciding cases, the Appeal Tribunal, Board of Review, and Appellate Division of the Superior Court look to court decisions from cases before yours that have similar fact scenarios.   In writing a letter of appeal or an appeal brief, it is often helpful to cite previous cases to show why your case is similar or different and why a decision should be made in your favor.  For example, if you left your job because you felt it was a hostile work environment, you may want to look at what courts have said in other cases involving people who left work for that reason.  Depending on what the court decided, you can then write why your case should be decided the same way or differently.​​​