Labor Dept. launches online chatbot for most asked unemployment questions

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Monday it has launched a new chat feature on its unemployment website to enhance service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The chatbot, which was developed in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Innovation and uses Google technology, simulates a human text response to provide real-time answers to the 20 most popular unemployment questions.

Here are some of the top general inquires the NJDOL receives:

  • 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?
  • How do I certify for weekly benefits?

“We are investigating every resource we can add to assist our customers at this time of unprecedented unemployment claims,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “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.”

The NJDOL said the feature engaged with approximately 50,000 user interactions during its first three days of operation — in turn freeing up time for agents to focus on more involved claims.

Since mid-March, the NJDOL has received more than 1 million unemployment claims. So far, it has distributed $1.9 billion in income-supplementing benefits as of May 2 to more than 700,000 collecting benefits.