How to Collect Unemployment Insurance as a Student
Unemployment insurance is a program supported by the federal government that provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed individuals who are actively looking for work. It falls under the authority of the Department of Labor, and each state has its own rules and regulations regarding who qualifies for the assistance and how the assistance is distributed.
The general program requirements state that an eligible applicant must have worked for a stated period in the past and earned a minimum amount of income. Additionally, employment must not have been lost due to his or her own negligence or fault. Each state maintains a listing of what is considered a ‘no-fault’ dismissal or firing. In some instances, if the worker believed himself or herself to be threatened, or if he or she was working in a hostile work environment, then the state may accept this as a ‘no-fault’ reason for leaving a job.
Even though unemployment insurance is tailored for persons who are in the job market, students can qualify to receive the benefits as well. However, they must meet certain requirements in order to qualify. Both part-time and full-time students can be considered for unemployment compensation, even though the special requirement that a person must be available for work in order to be considered may make it more difficult for some to access benefits.
Students can qualify for unemployment insurance benefits if they can demonstrate the following:
- That they worked full-time and went to school full-time in the nine-month period before they filed for unemployment compensation (In this case, they must demonstrate that they never reduced their hours of work to part-time or left suitable full-time work in the period during which they worked.)
- They are part-time students and can demonstrate that full-time employment is not secondary to their schooling
- They did not leave full-time work to be part-time students
- They have access to full-time work whenever they do not have classes to attend
- They are willing to change their class schedules or drop classes to take full-time work
Applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits as a Student
The application process for unemployment compensation is the same for qualified students and unemployed adults. In North Carolina, you can apply conveniently online or by calling the local offices. Application by mail is also available, and the applicant will be required to submit completed forms to the nearest state workforce agency. When applying to receive unemployment compensation, the applicant will first be required to register with the North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions. The applicant will be then need to request benefits weekly by filing claims according to the UC benefits issuance calendar. In addition, he or she must actively look for a job every week while enrolled in the program
On the application, students will be asked to show the names and addresses of previous employers. The dates of their most recent employment will also be required, and they must provide proof that they did not lose their employment because of personal negligence. The applicant may also be asked to provide a personal mailing address, a Social Security Number, a driver’s license credential or a state ID card and other information requested by the state agency.
How Students Can Lose Unemployment Benefits
If a student is enrolled in unemployment insurance, there are circumstances that may result in loss of benefits. For example, a full-time student who is attending school even during scheduled vacations may be dropped from the program. Similarly, a student may be disqualified if he or she quits a job to take academic classes or to attend a training program that is not formally approved by the Division of Labor. A student who attends school full-time may be exempt from program disqualification if he or she can demonstrate having earned sufficient wages to claim unemployment benefits while attending school. Additionally, a student may be eligible to claim unemployment compensation benefits if he or she meets the basic criterion of work duration and is attending a state-approved school or training facility to increase the chances of being employed. In that situation, the student will be interviewed by a claims examiner who will determine eligibility for benefits.
The training programs that qualify for UC benefits must always be approved by the state workforce agencies. These agencies designate appropriate institutions and facilities that unemployment compensation recipients are allowed to attend while receiving benefits. The schools can be either public or private. The programs may take the forms of vocational courses, employer-based training, prerequisite education, remedial programs, coursework required to enroll in approved training programs and technical skills classes, among others.