A Detailed Look At Unemployment Insurance For Educational Employees

Updated : October 26th, 2021

The federal government provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to the unemployed to temporarily meet their financial needs. The benefits will be provided to only those who lost their job through no fault of their own. The benefits can be collected by people belonging to any industry, including (but not limited to) retail, manufacturing, construction, etc. But can people from educational institutions also collect UI benefits? 

Unemployment Insurance For Educational Employees

Under federal law, educational employees do not qualify for unemployment benefits during traditional break periods if they have “reasonable assurance” that they will return to work after the break. 

However, if they do not have any “reasonable assurance” that they will return to work after the break, then they may be eligible for the UI benefits. 



Definition Of Educational Employees

Educational employees are people working for any level of the educational institution, including higher education and K-12. This includes administrators, teachers, librarians, principals, custodians, bus drivers, and professors.

Eligibility Criteria 

To qualify for unemployment benefits, educational employees must clear three eligibility tests.

Test One – Does the situation meet the prerequisites like:

  • Is the future job at the same level and capacity as the applicant’s current job?
  • Is there any authentic oral, written, or implied offer by an authorized person to offer a job? 
  • Is the compensation at least 90% of the present job? 

If the answer is no to any of the listed questions, the employee can apply for an educational employment claim. 

Test Two – Is there a contract?

  • Is the contract non-contingent? 
  • Is the contract legally enforceable? 
  • Is the contract for an annual period or academic year?

If the answer is no to any of the listed questions, the employee can file for unemployment insurance benefits. 

Test Three – Is there reasonable assurance?

  • Will the job be available after the break?

If the answer is no, the employee can file for the unemployment benefits. 

How Can Educational Employees Apply For Unemployment Benefits?

The employee must file an unemployment claim with 7 days of the last working day if he/she

was notified about being laid off, and he/she does not have any written reasonable assurance of returning to work when school reopens. 

Unemployment Insurance for educational employees can be applied in two ways.

(1) The claim can be filed online by visiting the respective state’s Department Of Labor (DOL) website.

(2) By directly calling the authorities at Tele-Center at a toll-free number. For instance, employees living in Texas can reach 800-939-6631. 

While filing for unemployment insurance for educational employees, the applicant, be it a teacher or other employee, should provide certain details. They should also be prepared to answer several questions, such as:

A. In the recent academic term/year, have you been employed by an educational institution or school?

B. Is this a term break period or summer vacation? If the applicant is a school employee filing the claim May through August, then he/she is required to answer “Yes”

  1. Are you employed by a:
    • Private School
    • City/Town
    • College/University
    • Daycare or Preschool
  2. Your title/position
  3. Employer Name
  4. Contract Coverage
  5. Last physical date of work
  6. Your status for the past year
    • Substitute
    • Permanent Part-time
    • Permanent Full-time
    • Temporary Part-Time
    • Temporary Full-Time

C. Have you received a termination letter?

D. Will you be returning to the same position in the next academic year/term?

E. Will you work for a different department in the next academic term/year?

F. Have you received a written assurance that you will be recalled in the upcoming academic term or after the vacation period?

Note that it is important for employees to file a claim at the earliest. This is because if found eligible for benefits, employees must serve a one-week waiting period between filing a claim and receiving the first benefit payment.

What Happens If Educational Employees Worked Under More Than One Employer?

If the applicant has worked under more than one employer, he/she can file for UI benefits, and provide employer details from whom they have not received any reasonable assurance. 

Final Words 

UI benefits can be a temporary financial solution for education employees without reasonable assurance. In cases where the employees have reasonable assurance but have quit their job voluntarily, they may or may not be eligible for benefits depending on the reason for quitting and state rules. 



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  1. My benefits ended Jan. 11, 2020. Will I be eligible for 13 week extension and if so how do I claim in N.J.?

    1. John,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  2. I have been trying to apply for unemployment,on-line and by phone, for several days. My first attempt was on the day that I was required by last name. I truly understand that there is going to be an extremely large,either by phone or on-line,influs of applicants to complete this process. Following the prompts do not seem to work since I am guided to another section that does not pertain to applying. I am extremely frustrated. I need to complete my unemployment claim. May you please tell me what I need to do?

    1. Edna,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

    1. I am not sure how it works in your state. We suggest you visit the Unemployment Office’s website and learn more about it under the FAQs section.

  3. I am confused, my Illinois unemployment was accepted on March 29th, but I don’t call to certify for benefits until Monday, March 13th. I thought they were waiving the waiting week. Now I have to wait almost 3 weeks for any kind of financial relief? Do I not get the 600 for the care plan? if I do when will that be here? will it be direct deposit? Please help me.

    1. Jennifer,

      Please try finding answers online since there might be limited phone support due to the shortage of staffing. You can use the “Resources” or “FAQs” section of the website.

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