General Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

Should I try to collect unemployment?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15715points) March 12th, 2012

I’m a full time college student and I work at a bank on a VERY part-time on-call basis – 10 or less hours per week. I’ve been there for over a year. This summer I’m getting married and I’ll be doing an unpaid internship that will make me unable to continue to work at the bank. I can go back after the summer is over, back to on-call, but I’m wondering about unemployment benefits. I have a couple of friends that can’t work a lot due to school and they get money to help them cover their costs.

When I get married, will my husband’s salary matter if I do apply for unemployment? He gets paid pretty well, but he pays all of our house bills, his truck payment, etc., and I cover all of my bills (car insurance, gas, phone bill, etc.), which isn’t easy when I only bring home $50—$100/week, if that.

Does it sound like it’s even worth it to apply for benefits? Would I even qualify?

Also, what would the cons of collecting the benefits be? Will it look bad on me or affect me adversely later on?

This may seem stupid, but I’m fairly young and I’ve never collected government funding at all, so I’m not too sure how it works.

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25 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

@livelaughlove21, unemployment insurance benefits aren’t funded by the government. The employer pays this exclusively with the exception of, I think, three states where employees contribute a very small amount. Each state sets certain guidelines for eligibility such as why you were separated from your job. The amount you would be eligible to receive would be based on the state’s formula and how much you earned during previous calander quarters.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess you wouldn’t be eligible for unemployment insurance payments if you voluntarily left your part-time job.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@bkcunningham My mistake on the government comment. Like I said, I’m clueless about this stuff.

Also, I’m not technically leaving my job. They allow me to leave to do my internship, but they keep my name in the employee records for when I’m able to come back. Like I said, it’s on-call—if I’m not available because of school, I don’t work. I won’t actually be quitting.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see why you would be able to collect unemployment. It is for people who are laid off, you are willingly leaving your job on good terms, wanting to go back in the future.

funkdaddy's avatar

Unemployment is for people who lose their jobs against their will and are searching for another job. So you probably wouldn’t qualify there.

You generally can include living expenses in student loans and education grants up to a certain amount. Of course you have to pay back the loans, but the interest rates are about the lowest you’ll find. That would be a more likely way to go and may be what your friends are doing.

People are sensitive about those who shouldn’t be collecting unemployment getting that money, so you may get some negativity here. There are ways to make it through, just find a solution that works for you.

Edit just to add that your husband’s income will count on some applications that are income dependent, but not on all, so there’s no single solution there. In the same way your parent’s ability to help you with school costs may count in the same way. Loans generally aren’t need based though so those are almost always an option. Congrats on the wedding.

john65pennington's avatar

funkdaddy is right on target with this answer.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie I guess I wasn’t clear. I meant collecting unemployment WHILE employed at my job. I’ve heard that if you get under a certain amount of hours per week, particularly if you’re a full time student, you can apply for unemployment at that time. I get 10 hours per week because that’s all I’m able to work. In fact, one of my close friends gets unemployment and she works two days per week, even though unlike me, she actually has plenty of time to work but chooses not to. I know she probably shouldn’t be getting it, considering her and her husband live with his parents with no intention to move out anytime soon and neither of them put in any effort to do so, which is why I didn’t ask her for details.

@funkdaddy I’m not trying to just get free money that I don’t need. I do have out grants and loans with school, but all they cover is my tuition and books. I don’t get “refund checks” back like some of my friends do. So, I’m on my own for non-school expenses that must be paid.

I guess I didn’t realize what a shitty person I was for asking this question. Ha. Now that I know, I wish I never asked. I thought it was just a simple question…silly me.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I don’t know if she is getting unemployment? Maybe some sort of social service/welfare type benefit. Probably you should call your social service office or google to find out the benefits offered in your state. Sounds like your friend is abusing the system, but I hate to accuse when I don’t have all the details.

Are youa dependent of your parents still? That would probably affect eligibility also.

chyna's avatar

I would call the local unemployment benefits office and explain your situation with them. They will be the only source to fully understand your situation and explain any benefits you may be eligible for at this time.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, you mentioned you are on-call, which typically means a person is not eligible for unemployment even if they get laid off.

bkcunningham's avatar

@livelaughlove21, I don’t think anyone is judging you or trying to make you feel badly. @chyna has the most logical answer. Yes, I’ve known of people who are eligible for partial unemployment benefits when their fulltime hours are cut. I don’t know about part-time though. That is where you need to talk to the local employment commission office in your area. Good luck.

marinelife's avatar

Have you worked full-time before? If not, it does not sound as if you qualify for unemployment.

robmandu's avatar

It varies significantly by state.

Eligibility requirements for Texas are here: Note you will have to prove that you have a payable claim, that you have had a valid separation from work, and that you will be required to maintain an ongoing search for work in addition to other eligibility maintenance.

In which state will you file for unemployment benefits?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@marinelife Yes, I started off at the bank working permanent part-time at 30 hours, then became a floater and worked technically on-call, but I was working 40 hours a week, and now I do this because of school.

@robmandu South Carolina.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie Well she applied through the unemployment office and that’s what she calls it. And she’s not the only one. I’m not sure, but @bkcunningham seemed to know what I was referring to. Like I said, I’m not really familiar with it. And, yes, you’d be right in saying she’s abusing the system. That’s why I didn’t want to ask her. I don’t want to get free money for no reason, so I thought someone else may know a bit about it.

I could call the unemployment office and ask. I may do that, and I may just deal with what I’ve got.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think what will prevent you from getting benefits, @livelaughlove21, is this from the SC Department of Employment and Workforce website: “To get benefits, you must be seeking full-time employment, able to work, and available for work.”

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Well, she will probably know the system much better than us. But, your best bet is to speak to the unemployment office.

@bkcunningham All people on unemployment must be seeking employment to collect. People claim they are seeking when they aren’t, they lie basically. That is part of the reason a lot of people are against extending unemployment benefits. The lie is against the law of course.

judochop's avatar

Should I try to collect unemployment?
you should always try to collect unemployment if you are in the right.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The best thing you can do is call the unemployment office and explain your situation. I know that if my hours get cut at work due to a low patient census, I can file for unemployment to make up the difference in pay because I’m a full time employee (as per the agreement I signed at work). If they cut my hours, I can get some unemployment benefits to help make up the lost wages, but if I cut my hours voluntarily, I can’t do that.

You could also look into other benefits that may be able to help. In addition to speaking with someone at the unemployment office, you should talk to someone in the social services office.

marinelife's avatar

@livelaughlove21 OK, then you have accrued some credits. So, it depends on the state where you live what their rules are about going to school and collecting unemployment.

CWOTUS's avatar

Most full-time students are disqualified on that basis from receiving unemployment benefits, at least in my experience. The problem is that as a full-time student you are not “available” to work at a job that may very well be offered but which conflicts with your school schedule. So you’re at cross-purposes with the whole point of unemployment, which is “to tide you over until you can get another full-time job”.

If you neglect to inform the unemployment agency that you are a full-time student, then you open yourself to a fraud charge, which could end up costing you a lot more than any cash you may be able to cadge from them in that manner.

If you’re going to try this, be certain to be completely forthcoming about your student status. My guess is that you won’t even get an interview once that is known.

whitecarnations's avatar

Especially since you’re a full time student you wouldn’t even pass the interview. They interview you and ask about your schedule and if you are even qualified to go and search for full time work.

whitecarnations's avatar

Don’t be greedy you’ve already got your foot in the some kind of door with internship for a firm. If you can’t keep up with all that you do, don’t expect the unemployment department to pick up your slack while you voluntarily quit. That’s just bad morals. Take the loss, do your internship finish school, and get your job. Let Joe the Plumber collect.

robmandu's avatar

@whitecarnations, I was once employed at a full-time job while also a full-time university student… and qualified for full – and maximum – unemployment benefits when laid off at Christmas time.

whitecarnations's avatar

@robmandu Then they must have saw your schedule fit. Besides you got laid off, not voluntarily quit, or ask for leave of absence due to maternity leave. I’m a full time student who’s laid off and still receiving benefits. The interviewer has found my schedule to be open to accept full-time work, which is still true to this day.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@CWOTUS Oh, I wouldn’t lie about it. It’s not worth all that.

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