Are Students Eligible For Unemployment Insurance?

This is a common question that plagues the mind of anyone desirous of attending school after facing a layoff. While adding a degree/ improving a skill set is a good way to utilize your time when you are unemployed, it may not necessarily deem you eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) or the dole.

To recap, here are the list of eligibility rules laid down by most states in America –

  • The applicant must have been laid off due to a fault that wasn’t theirs.
  • State decided minimum amount of wages must be earned by the claimant during the base period.
  • The claimant should have performed work for minimum no. of hours (as decided the by the State) during the base period.
  • The applicant must actively look for new jobs and even prepare a work search report to present to the authorities, if asked for it.
  • Applicant must be ready and available for full time work, should an opportunity present itself.

As you can see, attending school would directly contradict the last rule as you would no longer be available for full time work. However, the authorities do make some exceptions in some cases.

student unemployment eligibility

When Can A Student Qualify For UI?

Following are the cases where the State shows some leniency when it comes to the eligibility of students –

  • Cases where the student is either attending part time school (evenings/night classes).
  • Cases where an applicant of UI is attending school as part of State mandated skill improvement.

The first scenario would include people who do not contradict the rule of being available for full time work. Such applicants are often available for day jobs as their classes don’t interfere with them working full time.

Applicants who fall into the above category stand higher chances to qualify for the dole as long as they meet the other requirements as well.

The second category involves cases where a claimant of UI was deemed underskilled and was hence recommended to attend State approved training programs and classes as part of skill enhancement. In this case, attending school was a requirement that the State put forward so that the claimant continues to remain eligible.

Other Requirements To Qualify For UI While Attending A School

If you belong to the category of students who are attending evening/night schools, they will be required to meet all the rules otherwise applicable for qualifying for UI. Which means that, if they are offered a full time job which they refuse as their school timings interfere with work, then they may be disqualified immediately.

For students attending State approved training programs, the job hunting rule will be waived a bit. They may not have to accept an offer right away if the course they were urged to attend has not been completed. Apart from this, every other rule including minimum wages, minimum hours during base period and everything else in between must be met.

Support Is Always Available

In case you have doubts or if you are still unsure about your eligibility, you can use our free eligibility checker tool to arrive at an approximate conclusion. Bear in mind that it is just a tool and the State authorities are the final word when it comes to deciding a candidate’s eligibility.

You can also visit our user discussion forum and community to connect with folks facing similar situations to seek help. Attending school is a wise way to use your time while being unemployed and we hope that school will only add to your value. Good luck and cheers!

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