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Schooling and Unemployment Insurance Benefits

You may be one of hundreds of unemployed class across the country contemplating and exploring the opportunity to gain additional skills or get into a new domain that interests you. This calls for attending training or going to school full time/part time.

Whether you’re recently dealing with unemployment or job loss, or you’ve been sending out resumes for a while, heading back to school can be a great way to update your skills and discover a new horizon. However, this move may have negative repercussions in terms of losing your UI benefits. We must underline the fact that “Unemployment insurance is for people who are looking, and available, for work.”


schooling unemployment benefits
Adult Students Taking Test for Enrollment

Don’t be disheartened reading the above. It does not necessarily mean that your UI benefits will be cut off if you start attending school/take a new course to enhance your skill sets. Labor departments are not that stringent after all. There are exceptions to this rule. As long as this new course that you’re planning to join does not hamper your ability to apply for jobs or accept a suitable one, the UI benefits should continue to flow.

Also, Workforce development programs endorsed by your state’s unemployment system are an exception. These short-term training courses focus on concrete job skills or retraining you for a new career. Even better, the government pays for all or part of the training program. Contact your unemployment office or federal “Career One Stop” for more information on available programs.

If you’ve been unemployed recently and looking forward to applying for unemployment insurance, read our benefits guide before filing.

How do you progress?

If you’ve zeroed in on a course or a training program and are receiving weekly UI payments from your state, you must immediately get in touch with the authorities at the labor department and notify them about your intent. They will review the background,the credentials and advise you further on continuation of UI payments. Remember, you must let them know at the earliest. Any delay may lead to denial/delay in disbursing benefits. If you fail to inform them about your schooling, you may end up losing benefits/subjected to penalties.

In cases where labor department does not approve your training, you may still be able to collect benefits while in training. It will depend on whether you can look for and accept work.

Most of the labor departments have in house courses/training sponsored programs that you can look forward to. These are mostly part time, which allows you to derive UI payments without any hassles or approval. These courses are reviewed, approved and tailor made for specific outcomes.

You can find more information on the official website of the department of labor in your state. If you have any specific questions to ask us, feel free to use the flashing link below this article to reach us on the community.


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  1. I have been working at a private school for 17 years. This year they made the announcement that at the end of the school year the school will be closing. Our paycheck goes until July. If we haven’t found another job by the end of July (or when the next school year starts), will we be able to apply for unemployment?

    • Seasonal employment like schools does not generally qualify.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

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