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Can I collect Unemployment benefits in California while attending night classes? And does UI verify?

by Michael


I recently got laid off from an airline. I had initially called the unemployment office in California, since that's where I live, and I spoke to 3 different agents in regards to taking night classes at my local community college? I let them know that I was planning on taking 2 or 3 classes a week which all started at 6 p.m. Mon, Tues, and Thursdays. I was told by all of the agents that that would be fine, as long as I was available throughout the day for full time work. So I applied for UI benefits and put on my initial application what my plans for school were. I also stated on the application that if full time employment was offered to me that conflicted with my classes, that I would accept employment over school. Which I really would.

So I received my first check, and the following week I started my classes. My UI benefits were then cut off! I was then told that I would have to wait almost 6 weeks to get another check "IF" I was considered eligible after my phone interview. Its been about 3 weeks and my interview is still about 10 days away! I am really worried since I would have never signed up for school had the agents not told me it would be ok.

I've been in contact with an EDD person that helps employees from my company. I explained that my hours for my job as a Flight Attendant with the airline were irregular, but that I was able to in the past, still work my schedule and class schedules out. I have also been seeking employment in the administration field since I have experience in that area. So technically I am seeking employment during that fields work hours and days, as well as trying to apply at other airlines. Which none are hiring! So the EDD rep has sent me several e-mails stating that I should be approved, but he cant guarantee it.

So as the day approaches I am becoming more worried, since the interview determines
everything. So my questions are, how many college units are acceptable to take while collecting? Does it seem like my school schedule is accommodating full time work?

Also my school says that they do not speak with Unemployment in regards to any student information. So will the UI office just go by what I state in my telephone interview and determine my eligibility? Or in these cases do they really always verify?

Any insight to my frustrations would be greatly appreciated!

thank you,

Broke Flight Attendant

Hi Michael,

Your frustrations and fears are well founded. It would be really nice if their were guidelines that would help us to understand how the state will rule, but the only resource I know of is the California benefit determination guide. Count yourself lucky that your state even provides this information.

To me, all states should be required to thoroughly explain how they determine whether benefits are payable for all the reasons they may withhold benefits.

You are also lucky because California will pay benefits while one is attending school as long as you make them aware that the schooling is not limiting or restricting your availability for "suitable full-time work in anyway. The fact that you would give up school in a heartbeat for full-time work .. bodes well for what I think the determination will be.

Do you know that there are in fact some states in this country that actually won't pay UI benefits if you are attending school .. period .. unless it is approved by the state?

The president encouraged the states to allow people to collect and go back to school, but believe me .. there is a big difference between encouraging and mandating something like this. The state has the right to develop their own program .. as long as they fall within the guidelines.

Those agents should have made you aware that although they didn't see a problem with your situation that their would be a period of time that your benefits would be suspended until they could confirm for themselves that you were in fact A&A.


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