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What are the rules regarding starting school while receiving unemployment in Calfiornia?

by Danielle
(Roseville, CA)

My husband was laid off from the automotive industry and began receiving unemployment benefits. We live in California. Considering the current status of the automotive industry, we have agreed that a return to junior college to get a degree would help with his future career opportunities. It is next to impossible to get a straight answer out of the unemployment department about this issue. What should we know? Should he go part-time? Full-time? Does it matter what his field of study is? We cannot afford to lose the unemployment benefits, but there are NO jobs in his industry anymore and we need another option. Thank you so much for your help!

Hi Danielle,

Quite frankly, I'm astounded you managed to get past being on hold with the state.

I do know it's hard to get definitive answers from the unemployment department .. they can't give legal advice .. and neither can I
(This is the disclaimer:)

But I don't have a problem giving you my viewpoint or showing you the resources I use to answer questions about attending school and collecting unemployment benefits.

The USDOL Click the current year then "Nonmonetary Eligibility and go to Table 5-12

California's Benefit Determination Guide AA40

I'm going to assume your husband worked full-time, therefore, that is the kind of work he must be available for. When the state finds out someone is attending school and it's not state approved training .. it naturally raises the issue of whether the claimant is A&A (able and available). You cannot limit your availability to work due to school. So it follows that when deciding what hours to attend school that you choose hours that wouldn't interfere with your ability to work a full-time job .. night classes??

Whereas, an individual won't get unemployment if they quit to attend college full-time, individuals in each state need to check to see how their state handles the issue of attending school while receiving unemployment benefits. All one has to do is look at the chart in the first link I referred you to, to see this also varies from state to state.

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