Unemployment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions.
The only way to be sure whether you qualify for unemployment benefits and what your benefit amount will be is to apply after MAY 28th and answer the questions honestly.
Q: Where do I apply for unemployment benefits?
Q: Should I apply for unemployment benefits this summer?
A: Yes, if you are not working this summer or are working a significantly reduced schedule, you should apply. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be actively looking for work, and you must accept suitable offers of employment. The union encourages you to accept jobs that are offered to you – especially summer school and extended school year positions with your district – AND apply for unemployment, as you may be eligible for a partial benefit.
- To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be actively looking for work, and you must accept suitable offers of employment. The union encourages you to accept jobs that are offered to you – especially summer school and extended school year positions with your district – AND apply for unemployment, as you may be eligible for a partial benefit.
Q: I am still working 10 hours a week and provide one of the following services: summer meals, meal delivery, childcare, or education support with the School District. Will I be eligible for unemployment?
A: The only way to know whether you’re eligible for UI benefits is to apply and answer the questions honestly. Unemployment offers a partial benefit for individuals who work at jobs where they make less. It’s probably in your self-interest to work summer school and collect the partial unemployment payment.
- Things to consider: Should there be a break between the end of the school year and before summer school starts, you should apply for unemployment, as there are 5 weekdays without work that must be served before unemployment eligibility may begin. When working at summer school, should your hours drop in a week, and you were not eligible before, you may be now and should apply. If there are weekdays after summer school ends and school begins, you should apply as you may be eligible.
Q: Am I eligible for unemployment this summer even though I have never been eligible in the past?
A: On May 28, 2023, the law changed; unemployment now works the same for hourly school employees as it does for all other workers. You can now apply for and receive unemployment compensation so long as you meet all the other eligibility criteria.
Q: I’ve worked at Summer School for several years, and this year I did not sign up to work summer school. Am I still eligible for unemployment?
A: The only way to know whether you’re eligible for UI benefits is to apply and answer the questions honestly. Unemployment offers a partial benefit for individuals who choose to work at jobs where they make less. It’s probably in your self-interest to work summer school and collect the partial unemployment payment.
Q: I work a second job outside the school district. Should I still apply for unemployment benefits this summer?
A: The only way to know whether you’re eligible for UI benefits is to apply and answer the questions honestly. Unemployment offers a partial benefit for individuals, so you may still be eligible based on your reduced work hours from the school district.
Q: Do I have to look for work if I’m going to apply for unemployment?
A: To apply for unemployment, there is an expectation that you are looking for work (online, in the newspaper, and so on). Generally, that is similar work, and there is no expectation you will take a position that pays significantly less.
**Q:**Do I need a layoff letter from the school district?
Other Frequently Asked Questions about how to apply:
Q: Is this a member’s benefit only?
A: No, unemployment now works the same for hourly school employees as it does for all other workers. If you are seeking assistance from SEIU Local 284 in your specific situation, you must be a member.
Q: What income does and does not need to be reported?
A: DEED frequently gets questions about social security income, child support, foster care and other sources of income. Here are the links to their resources:
- Summary of how other income affects benefits: https://uimn.org/applicants/affectsbenefits/other-income/index.jsp
- Wage reporting: https://uimn.org/applicants/howapply/info-handbook/report-working.jsp
- Other income reporting: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/howapply/info-handbook/income-affect-benefits.jsp
Q: I work during the normal school year (10 months) but my wages are split out and paid over 12 months. So, I’m getting paychecks during the summer, even though I’m not working. Am I still eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer?
A: UI is always more concerned with when you worked, rather than when you get paid for the work. If you are off during the summer, you should apply for benefits. When you file your weekly request, UI will ask if you worked during the week you are requesting:
- If you did work, then answer “yes” and they will ask you how much you worked in the week and how much you will be paid by your employer for the week.
- If you didn’t work, you can say “no”. If you are just getting a payment in the summer for work you did during the school year, you don’t have to report the payment.
Q: The District contributes or pays my health insurance and/or other insurance premiums during the summer? Will I lose my insurance benefit if I apply for unemployment insurance, and/or do I have to report the district’s insurance contribution as income?
A: Filing for unemployment does not impact your insurance benefits, and insurance contributions are not considered income for purposes of unemployment.
Q: One of the questions you will respond to when applying for unemployment is a union-related question.
A: Our union is not listed. You should select “other.” This question is related only to those workers who part of are a “hiring hall” union. Hiring hall unions directly place their members with their employers. Hiring Hall unions only exist in the building trades and do not represent school employees.
Q: How long does it take to apply for unemployment and file a claim weekly?
A: The first time can take a while (but often takes as little as 15 minutes) as you must set up an account and answer many questions. The best thing to do is apply online and answer all the questions fully and honestly. The UI program does have a call center in case you have questions, but they are expecting to be busy, and wait times could be longer than normal.
Weekly claims after that: This is quick. You answer 6 or 7 questions. It is important that you answer “yes” to the first question if you worked at all during the week for which you are requesting benefits.
Q: Are we considered “seasonal” employees?
A: No, school employees are not considered "seasonal" employees for UI purposes.
Q: For the reason I am filing, options are termination, quit, layoff, or seasonal.
A: If your work ended because of the end of the school year, you are considered laid off. If you quit or were terminated, you must say that when you apply.
Q: Is this taxable income?
Q: Can I still receive unemployment compensation if I am out of state or take a trip?
A: Probably not. To receive unemployment benefits, you must be available for suitable employment and able to start work. The state regulations require a person to stay within 50 miles of their residence while receiving unemployment benefits. The exception is if a person must travel further away as part of their job search.
Q: Our District has a “sign up” list for available positions. I did not sign up on that list. Does that mean I was offered a job and turned down? What exactly is a job offer?
A: No. A general sign-up list does not mean that you have been offered a job and turned it down (by not signing up). To be considered a job offer, the actual job position must be offered directly to you and should include such things as the number of hours you’d work, the wage rate for the position, and other terms of employment.
Q: If I am a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance in Minnesota?
A: Being a DACA recipient does not disqualify you from Unemployment Insurance eligibility. You will have to report your status and provide required documentation to DEED to completely fill out the application.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Appeals Process
Q: I’ve been denied unemployment, and their letter says I can appeal. What should I do?
A: For any week you intend to receive unemployment benefits, you must request benefits. Follow all the steps and timelines in the process.
- (Even if you are denied many times). This includes responding to all communication they send you and filing the appeal.
Q: Do I have to file for unemployment every week even if denied?
A: For any week you intend to receive unemployment benefits, you must request benefits (even if you are denied many times); eligibility is determined on a week-by-week basis. Unemployment compensation is only available for the weeks you file a claim. You should request benefits every week.
Q: If I am initially denied but then win on appeal, will any unemployment compensation be paid retroactively?
A: If you win on appeal, unemployment compensation may be paid retroactively to the first date you applied for it. However—and this is very important to remember—you must continue to request benefits each week throughout the appeal process. If you don’t apply each week, you likely will not receive any retroactive unemployment compensation.