RENTON, Wash. - Getting unemployment benefits can be a challenge, particularly for those in temporary jobs. This weekend, part-time college instructors are getting a short course in how and when to file for unemployment.
More than half the faculty members at Washington colleges are now part-time, as full-time professors have been replaced because of budget cuts, and those part-timers don't always know from semester to semester whether they'll have jobs.
Annette Stofer, an adjunct professor at South Seattle Community College and a member of the teachers' union AFT Seattle, says some don't try to get unemployment even though they are eligible.
"The process can be so difficult and degrading and just filled with tension, and I think a lot of adjunct faculty just can't be bothered, because they've heard how hard it is."
Many instructors assume they'd be taking money away from their colleges if they file for unemployment, she says, but that is not the case. The colleges get an allocation from the state to cover unemployment claims. Schools which don't spend it can keep the extra money and use it as they wish.
More employers are challenging unemployment claims, Stofer says, adding that her advice from personal experience also applies to people in occupations other than teaching.
"Don't give up quickly, and get some help so that you feel like you're supported through the process. And if Unemployment or the employer challenge, and then the claim is denied, appeal - because many people win on appeal."
Stofer says they've invited Unemployment Department investigators to Saturday's workshop to answer eligibility questions and talk about why claims commonly are denied.
The free workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Room C-101 at Renton Technical College, 3000 N.E. Fourth St., Renton. Lunch is included but space is limited. Call 206-432-8086 to sign up.