Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides cash benefits to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The benefit is usually half of the worker’s average weekly wage for the year prior to submitting a UI claim (up to a maximum of $629 a week), plus $25 for each dependent.
Q1: What is the Section 30 Program, and how can it help me go to college?
Under the Section 30 program, unemployed workers who are eligible for UI can get an additional 26 weeks of UI benefits if they are participating in a training program approved by the Division of Unemployment Assistance. Unlike other UI beneficiaries, Section 30 participants do not have to look for work or show that they are available for work.
You may be eligible for Section 30 benefits if ALL of the following are true:
- You are receiving Unemployment Insurance.
- You need training to become re-employed.
- Your training program meets certain criteria, such as being a full-time college program of at least 20 hours a week or 12 credits.
- Your program can be completed in two years (or three years if it provides basic as well as vocational skills).
- You begin your training within one year of the date you filed your UI claim. (A traditional rule requiring that Section 30 applications be filed within the first 15 weeks of a new or continued claim for UI benefits is currently suspended because of the economic recession).
Q2: How do I apply for Section 30 benefits?
You can find application instructions on the Training Opportunities Program (TOP) Section 30 of the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) website. A college official has to sign one of the forms. Try to apply at least three weeks before the start of your program.
Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Ruthie Liberman, Crittenton Women’s Union Created October 2010