Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits in Michigan While I Am Going to School?

According to Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), going to school full-time will not hinder you from unemployment benefits. Residents can collect unemployment benefits as a full-time student, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation. However, the UIA does not make any special exceptions or arrangements for full-time students who receive unemployment compensation, so you must be willing to make certain sacrifices to qualify for benefits.

Unemployment Qualifications

Applicants must qualify for unemployment benefits based on the conditions of their job separation. Applicants must separate from their previous job through no fault of their own. For example, if you quit your job to return back to school, this automatically makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits. However, if you were laid off or lost your job due to reasons not related to poor job performance, you may still be eligible for benefits.

Work Availability

Unemployment recipients must remain willing to accept any full-time work that is comparable to their experience and previous earnings. You must remain available to work on any day of the week and for any shift the work is typically done. There are exceptions, such as the death of a close family member; the availability requirement is then deferred for five days. Otherwise, you must accept comparable work for any shift, even if it interferes with your school schedule and accepting the job would require you to drop a class or drop out of school entirely.

Seeking Work

In addition to remaining available for work, unemployment recipients must actively seek work according to the unemployment agency's terms. Michigan's UIA doesn't regard reading the newspaper classifieds as actively seeking work. Unemployment recipients must register for work by entering their resume online, continuously applying for comparable positions and reporting their active search for employment every week using the UIA's telephone reporting system. Failure to actively seek work and report on time will lead to forfeiture of unemployment benefits for that week, unless you provide a good cause for late reporting.

Considerations

It is important to weight your options before agreeing to accept unemployment compensation as a full-time student. Understand that this means you are agreeing to risk your chance of attending school for the duration of time you receive unemployment benefits. As an alternative, consider pursuing work-study or part-time employment options. If are awarded unemployment compensation while you attend school full-time and you refuse to accept a suitable job offer that interferes with your class schedule, or if you fail to comply with any additional rules, you will lose your eligibility for up to 13 weeks. Furthermore, if the unemployment agency discovers that you never intended to remain available for work, you could be forced to repay any unemployment benefits you received.

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