Can I Go Back to School on Unemployment in Georgia?

By Michael Marz
Older college student in library

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If you recently lost your job and you’re eligible to claim unemployment insurance from the Georgia Department of Labor, or GDOL, you generally must be able, available and actively searching for work while receiving benefits. For certain claimants, the GDOL provides an exception to this requirement that may allow you to collect unemployment benefits if you decide to go back to school rather than search for a new job.

Claimant Trainee Program

Going back to school to retrain for a new career, or to enhance skills in your current profession, doesn’t mean you’ll need to forfeit your Georgia unemployment benefits. Through the Claimant Trainee Program, the GDOL allows eligible claimants to receive benefits while in school. Before you enroll in a program, you’ll need to visit your local career center to determine whether you’re eligible for the exception.

Maintaining Unemployment Benefits While in School

Once approved for the trainee program, withdrawing before completing your courses without good cause will put your unemployment benefits at risk. Moreover, the GDOL may require your school or training facility to certify your enrollment and attendance on a weekly basis before you receive each unemployment insurance payment. The GDOL also is required to perform random audits to verify the accuracy of the information reported to the agency. If you’re selected and the agency discovers that you reported false information, whether it relates to your school attendance or actual enrollment, not only can you lose your unemployment benefits, you might even have to pay back what you’ve already collected.

About the Author

Michael Marz has worked in the financial sector since 2002, specializing in wealth and estate planning. After spending six years working for a large investment bank and an accounting firm, Marz is now self-employed as a consultant, focusing on complex estate and gift tax compliance and planning.

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