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Unemployed grad student in Washington state

by Anonymous
(Washington State Unemployment Benefits)

Unemployed grad student in Washington state

Hi Chris-

I'm halfway through my graduate program in Washington state and I just found out today that I'm about to be laid off. I've been working 25 hours a week for the past year for my employer while attending school full-time. I worked full-time for the same employer for 18 months before that.

I can't find any definitive information on whether or not I would be eligible for unemployment benefits if I continue to attend graduate school full-time but keep applying for part-time jobs (especially those that are similar to the one I'm holding now). What if I applied for any suitable positions and was willing to drop any classes that didn't fit with a potential employer's schedule?

For what it's worth, I already went through those nonmonetary compensation tables 5-12 and wasn't able to get an answer. I want to call the office, but I'm afraid that even hinting that I might attend school full-time will lead to being denied for benefits.

Do you have any insight?


Hi Kat,

Definitive answers aren't easy to find and they always take time to find.

Table 5-12 tells us WA will disqualify a person that leaves work to attend school unless in approved apprentice or trade act training.

But, you are being laid off from a year long stint of part time employment .. so I'm more interested in whether Washington state has a part time worker provision (Table
5-10 .. they do) and what the second column has to say after the "or" demonstrates evidence of availability for work. Which is why I thought they might have a provision.

Unemployment benefits are generally conditional upon the ability and availability for "full time work" only. If you are personally limiting yourself to part time work .. you're often not able to collect .. regardless of whether the separation was qualifying.

But a number of states have created provisions because it really is unfair to the person that chooses to work only part time.

So, it would be important to take a look at the provision.

Links to the statutes

Link to Washington's Idea of a precedent decision digest. Always helpful to read past findings similar to your situation.

Hope everything is up to date. Washington seems to have no problem changing their unemployment laws .. frequently.

And here's all the other research resource links WA offers.

I think contacting the ESD would be pointless they often don't know .. tell you they can't give "legal advice or advise you. You might also be provided erroneous information from a new hire.

I would contact the WA Law Project to ask the questions.

They represent many people at hearings for free .. I'm just not sure how they choose what cases they will take ..

They say they represented 1200 Washington residents last year at unemployment hearings .. but .. my experience says that's not very many.

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