Do I have to report vacation pay to unemployment?

Q. I was furloughed in March due to COVID-19, then I was laid off. I will be paid three weeks of vacation pay. Do I need to report it to unemployment and how will it affect my claim?

— Still working

A. We’re sorry to hear about your job loss.

The N.J. Administration Code, Section 12:17-8.10, provides information regarding unemployment benefits.

It states that the receipt of your vacation pay in a lump sum will not prevent you from filing for unemployment, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.

She cited the state’s Department of Labor, which says there are a number of payments that will not reduce the amount of unemployment you receive.

“These include severance payments, bonuses, vacation, sick or holiday pay, social security benefits or pension payments from prior employers,” she said. “If you were to receive pay after you stopped working — known as payments in lieu of notice — an application for benefits could not be filed until you were in receipt of the last payment, but these payments would not reduce the benefit you were entitled to.”

At the time you certify for weekly benefits, Question 5 will ask if you received vacation pay during the time period and the answer will be “Yes,” she said.

The amount of vacation pay you received will need to be input in Question 7, she said.

Email your questions to [email protected].

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com’s weekly e-newsletter.

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