Unemployment benefits are a literal lifesaver, especially during a time of global crisis like the one we’re all currently going through. But there are things that can affect your benefits eligibility or reduce your benefits, so it’s important to be and stay informed about the unemployment laws in your state.

In light of this, many people may want to know: “Can I still claim unemployment if I’m attending classes at a career training center?”

The answer depends on the unemployment program in the state where you live. Your personal situation can also affect your unemployment eligibility.

Generally speaking, you’re eligible to still receive unemployment even if you are taking classes or attending a career training program.

This is true in the three states where the Center for Employment Training (CET) operates: California, Texas, and Virginia, but they all have different requirements.

Applying for Unemployment as a Student in California

Most states have a requirement that you are available for work, actively seeking work, and ready to accept work to qualify for unemployment benefits. However, California waives these requirements while you are enrolled in the California Training Benefits (CTB) program

Eligible types of training include:

  • Government organized training.
  • Union, trade association, or employer organized training.
  • Self-arranged training.
  • CET is also a CTB partner

Applying for the CTB program lets you attend classes, even as a full-time student, while still receiving benefits. What’s more, you are eligible for an extension beyond the typical 16-week unemployment limit, pending review and acceptance by the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California.

To learn more about applying, visit: https://edd.ca.gov/ or https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/California_Training_Benefits.htm

Frequently Asked Questions About EDD Unemployment Benefits While Attending Classes

Q: Can I receive unemployment while attending classes at CET?

A: Yes, students are eligible to receive their unemployment insurance payments while attending classes. This program is known as the California Training Benefit and CET is one of the approved programs. This benefit allows students to continue receiving their unemployment benefits while in school and even allows them a training extension, if needed.

Q: When can students let EDD know about their training?

A: Typically, students have to inform the EDD about their new training program before their 16th week of payment or if their claim is less than 16 weeks, the last week of their claim. To waive the requirement that they are ready to accept work and actively seeking a job, they must apply to the CTB program at the start of their application for Unemployment Insurance (UI).

Q: What part does CET play in informing EDD that the student is coming to school?

A: The first week the student attends classes, the CET admissions team will have the student fill out a Training Enrollment Verification form which will be faxed directly to EDD. This form proves that the student is currently attending classes.

Q: Is there any special process for certifying benefits in order to prove that I’m coming to school? 

A: When you certify for benefits, mark the box that says you’re attending a training program and make sure to put the name of the school: Center for Employment Training. If you don’t give the school’s name, there’s a chance your benefits may be cut.

Obtaining Unemployment Insurance in Texas While in a Career Training Program

Like most other states, individuals in Texas must be available for work, actively seeking work, and ready to accept work in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance.

However, the Texas Admissions Advisor shared that those enrolled in school can still seek unemployment benefits. The state also may waive the requirement that they’re actively seeking work for the duration of their education or training program.

Exemptions to this requirement are granted on a case-by-case basis, so reach out to a representative of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in order to learn more.

You can also visit https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/applying-unemployment-benefits to learn the general requirements for obtaining unemployment insurance in Texas and what you can do to ensure you continue to receive benefits once you are enrolled.

Virginia May Require That You Are Eligible to Work in Order to Obtain Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) currently requires all people receiving UI benefits to be available for work, which typically means that you are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the schedule for the majority of full-time jobs in America.

This can mean you’re able to take night classes, weekend classes, or self-paced online courses, but if you take daytime classes or are a full-time student, then you may not be eligible.

You can contact the VEC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-832-2363, to determine if your schooling or training will create an issue.

You must also inform the VEC of any changes to your class schedule or any changes in general that affect your availability for regular work.

Visit https://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/faqs/Unemployment-Insurance-Issue-Questions#a1 to learn more about UI availability while attending classes, and visit https://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/online-services/apply-for-unemployment-benefits to begin applying for unemployment benefits now.

Center for Employment Training Provides Ongoing Advisory Support for Those Looking to Transition to New Careers

An unfortunate side effect of the ongoing pandemic outbreak is that many top employers are temporarily shuttered or have severely reduced hours and staff. As a result, the livelihoods of many are actively being threatened.

We want to help you explore every opportunity available to you, especially if you are looking to shift toward a new career that can provide better stability, even during times of crisis.

The Center for Employment training can provide you with the hands-on learning and active training to help you enter a new career or profession. Our job placement advisors can also help you be job-ready, with resume prep and job search strategies that prepare you to apply for the jobs you’re qualified for. They help you apply in a way that grabs attention, and can actively point you toward opportunities to apply your new trade. We work closely with students and recruiters to match people with the right skills and ambition to launch a new career – and a new phase of their life.

Find out more about what exciting new career experiences could await you – take a look at our career training programs near you.