Get extra weeks of Unemployment Benefits while you are getting trained

You may be able to get up to 26 extra weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, if you can say "yes" to 4 questions:

  1. Are you eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)?
  2. Have you left your job permanently? The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) calls this "permanently separated" from your job. If you are on any temporary or short-term leave you can not get the extra weeks of UI benefits.
  3. Will it be hard to find another job if you do not improve or update your skills?
  4. Are you getting training from a DUA Training Opportunities Program? Or, are you planning on getting training from a DUA Training Opportunities Program?

What is a DUA Training Opportunities Program ?

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Training Opportunities Programs (TOP) are training programs that the DUA has approved. If you get training from a TOP you can get unemployment insurance (UI) benefits while you are in training. 

What kind of training program will the DUA approve?

Training can be vocational, college education, or basic skills courses. Basic skills courses can be English for Speakers of Other Languages (E.S.O.L), G.E.D., or A.B.E. programs. The DUA will approve vocational or classroom training that:

  1. gives you some sort of vocational or basic skills training;
  2. is full-time which generally means at least 20 hours per week of classroom training or 12 credits per semester of college. You may be able to take less than 12 credits, if the class requires a lot of out-of-class work,.or you have a disability that makes it difficult to take 12 credits. 
  3. has good job placement rates so that you are likely to find a job;
  4. you can finish in two years. You have 3 years to finish a course that combines E.S.O.L., GED, or adult basic education with vocational training.

Why would I be interested in a TOP?

1) Training may help you get another job.

2) If you take an approved training course you will not need to meet the DUA’s "able and available" requirement. You will not have to look for a new job while you are in training, and you can keep collecting UI benefits. You still have to certify online or by phone every week to keep getting your benefit checks.

3) You may be able to get up to 26 extra weeks of UI payments while you are in training.

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Created December 2012