What is the good of being a genius if you cannot use it as an excuse for being unemployed?
May 17, 2010 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I became unemployed in February of this year, and I am currently receiving the maximum weekly unemployment benefits from the state of West Virginia. I think I can attend university full-time while drawing unemployment, but I need your help finding specific laws, policies, etc. about this. All I can find is very vague information.

It has always been my understanding that the unemployment office (aka Workforce WV) can approve you to attend school or training. The school or training must enhance your ability to find work. If so approved, you are no longer required to be available for full-time work, to seek full-time work, or to accept offered full-time work, and can continue to receive unemployment compensation.

In addition, I received a letter from Workforce WV telling me that President Obama had announced some changes to unemployment, making it much easier for people to attend school while receiving unemployment.

More info on that may be found in this CNN article.

I have been attending university part-time while on unemployment, and this has not been an issue because it does not affect my ability for full-time work.

However, I have less than 2 years left to receive my 4-year degree, and I would like to attend university full-time in the Fall or even Summer of this year.

The Workforce WV people are telling me that 4-year programs are never covered under these training agreements. But they're saying 2-year vocational and associates programs are. Why would I start a 2-year program, when I have less than 2 years remaining in a 4-year program??

I don't believe them. They don't seem to be very well-trained.

Help me prove them wrong.

P.S.: I do not need help paying for school. Financial aid has that covered. My only interest here is in going to university full-time without losing my unemployment insurance benefits.
posted by teatime to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Also, suggestions as to how I could have improved this question are welcome. I'm new to asking questions here. Thanks!
posted by teatime at 1:43 PM on May 17, 2010

In my experience (in WA state), your Workforce folks are right - training benefits are (nearly) never considered for people on unemployment. The idea is to get you back in the work force, with updated skills - and fast!
Rather than insisting on a degree, is there a certification that you could gain as part of your course work - for example, one can get a Project Management degree, and one can also get PMP certification. The latter would fit into the WS rubric of "training", the former would not.
If I had been slightly more assertive, I probably could have gotten paid-for ITIL certs, but I got a job without it.
In Washington state, this training is called Commissioner Approved Training (or CAT). Your state UI site should (hopefully) have better information.
Hope this helps.
posted by dbmcd at 3:26 PM on May 17, 2010

Sorry - amend that first sentence to read "degree benefits" NOT 'training benefits" - typing too fast...
posted by dbmcd at 3:27 PM on May 17, 2010

I talked to a different person today, and she told me with some confidence:

1) If I answer "Yes." to "Would you be willing to drop your classes to accept an offered full-time position?", that they will let me collect unemployment while attending university. I would still need to search for work.

2) If I am awarded a Pell Grant, then they will consider my university as 'vocational', and I will be able to attend school, not seek or accept work, and continue to collect unemployment.

It seems likely that I will receive a Pell Grant.

I am still very interested in finding the actual laws/regulations that relate to this though... they all just seem to fly by the seat of their pants when answering questions!
posted by teatime at 3:55 PM on May 17, 2010

I am about to speak with someone at the unemployment office.

Once I know the final outcome, I will mark this question resolved and give a summary of what happened; should be useful to other mefites.
posted by teatime at 8:26 AM on May 20, 2010

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