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53. Is the Claimant Eligible for Training ("TOP," or "Section 30," or "RED") Extended UI Benefits?

ALERT:   IN LIGHT OF THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY, ASPECTS OF THE UI PROCESS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED.  VISIT https://www.masslegalservices.org/covid-19-and-ui FOR CURRENT INFORMATION.

Unemployed workers who are eligible for UI are also eligible for up to 26 weeks of additional extended UI benefits under DUA’s Training Opportunities Program (TOP), under Section 30 of the UI Law, if they can show that they are in need of training to find new employment. G.L. c. 151A, § 30(c); 430 CMR 9.01 et seq. DUA also refers to these extended benefits as "retraining extended duration" or "RED," See generally, AH c. 11, § 6.

The link on the website of the Department of Career Services (DCS) to access a list of approved Section 30 training programs is: http://jobquest.detma.org /JobQuest. Click on “Locate Training” in the tool bar on top and then select “Section 30” in the “Approved Course Type” box. (Selecting “ITA” indicates which programs are federally funded). The selection of Section 30 provides 25 pages of approved training programs that can be organized by course or by provider. If a training program does not appear on the list of approved training programs, DUA may approve the program as long as it meets the criteria for approval set out in 430 CMR 9.04, see, e.g., BR-0016 3650 39 (5/11/16) (claimant was eligible for training benefits while participating in an out of state training program as the program met DUA’s requirements.); however, the TOP Unit may take a longer time to approve the application due to the need for investigation.

Many unemployed workers fail to take advantage of this valuable training opportunity, since they frequently are unaware of the program or are discouraged by procedural hurdles involved in getting approval for their program. All too often, claimants must go through adjudication, a hearing and then to the Board of Review before they obtain approval of participation in and an award of extended benefits for a training program. See, e.g., BR-0026 3026 22 (10/30/2018) (claimant’s approved training program did not appear in the Massachusetts One-Stop Employment System ("MOSES") due to a clerical error on the part of the training program, so it took approximately 17 weeks of review and appeal before benefits were retroactively awarded); BR-0024 6739 83 (9/28/2018) (claimant who enrolled in a Section 30 training program was not required to accept an offer of reinstatement for suitable work with her previous employer).

Eligible applicants, once approved for Section 30, continue to receive unemployment payments under §24(b) for up to the maximum allowed 26 (or 30 weeks during periods of higher unemployment) weeks. After the claimant has used up or, in UI lingo, “exhausted” all rights to regular UI benefits, the claimant can then receive up to an additional 26 weeks of extended UI or “Section 30” benefits if the claimant is still in school. This may lead to an applicant receiving a total of up to 52 weeks of benefits.

While in training, claimants are “deemed” to be able and available and actively seeking work and therefore, excused from doing work search.  G.L. c. 151A, §24. This includes any week of an approved break in training. 430 CMR 9.06(2); 9.07.  Moreover, the Board of Review has held that work search requirements are waived retroactively where the claimant’s section 30 application was initially denied but then approved as a result of the appeal process.  BR-0014 7197 91 (12/17/15) (Key). Additionally, a claimant does not have to comply with the Reemployment Assistance (REA) seminar requirements while she is in a section 30 approved training program.  BR-0015 7819 25 (11/5/15) (Key). (See Question 50, What is the Worker Profiling Program)

As a result of 2009 changes in federal and state law and state regulations, and 2016 changes in state law resulting in 2019 regulations, extended UI benefits under this program have increased and many barriers to participation have been removed. T. II of Div. B, Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program Extension and ... American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) made by the Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families, Act, 05/04/2009 (providing incentive payments to states that choose two out of four options, one of which is the provision of up to 26 weeks of extended benefits for participation in training); An Act Mobilizing Economic Recovery in the Commonwealth, St. 2009, c. 30, §§ 1–3 (adopting the training option); 430 CMR 9.00 et seq.(10/02/09) (implementing changes in federal and state law). An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development, St. 2016, c. 219,  §§ 107 – 110 (extending application period from 15 to 20 weeks, allowing claimants whose benefit year expired due to an erroneous denial of regular UI to commence training after the benefit year expiration, requiring new regulations setting out “good cause” reasons for the waiver of the 20 week application deadline, and requiring LEP claimants to receive information about the program including the grounds for tolling and the good cause waivers of the 20 week application deadline in their own language). DUA's current regulations at 430 CMR 9.00 et seq. (9/20/2019) now incorporate the 2009 and the 2016 statutory changes.

Effective August 10, 2016, claimants can apply for training program up to the 20th week of a new or approved claim. St. 2016, c. 219, § 107. This means that the 20-week clock starts running when there is a compensable claim, i.e., when DUA starts paying UI benefits, not when the claimant first applied and continues only during each week of actual payment. 430 CMR 9.02 (Definition of Application Period); BR-022 2673 94 (1/31/18) (Key); BR-0027 1858 66 (3/20/19) (Key); BR-0031 2855 97 (11/12/19; BR-0031 5503 95 (12/17/19)(same plus noting that a claimant improperly denied section 30 has 2 weeks to reapply); AH c. 11, § 6C.1 (“Only weeks where the claimant is eligible, has certified, and has received a payment counts toward the 20-week period.”).

Claimants need to have first used up or "exhausted" other rights to state or federal unemployment benefits before receiving extended UI benefits to participate in training. G.L. c. 151A, § 30(c).

Note: Extended benefits that an individual receives under Section 30 are not charged to a contributory employer’s account but are drawn from the Solvency Account (unless the employer is self-insured). G.L. c. 151A, § 30(c).

Claimants are eligible for Section 30 extended UI benefits if:

  1. They are permanently separated from work; and 
  2. They are unlikely to obtain "suitable work" based on their most recently used skills; and
  3. They are in need of training to become reemployed. 430 CMR 9.04 (1).

The statute, G.L. c. 151A, § 30(c), provides eligibility for extended UI benefits for those individuals unable to obtain “appropriate” rather than “suitable” work; however, this term is not replicated in DUA’s regulations that refer only to “suitable” work. The legislative choice of the word “appropriate” was a conscious one; the original conference committee draft for Section 30 used the phrase “suitable employment” but this text was amended to use the word “appropriate employment.” Compare Journal of the House, 943-44 (using the term “suitable”) with House Bill 5981, p. 6-7 (July 1992) (substituting the term “appropriate”). Based on a review of the terms “appropriate” and “suitable” under welfare law (compare G.L. c. 118, § 3C (“appropriate”) with G.L. c. 117A, § 2 (“suitable), arguably the term "appropriate employment" support a broader standard than "suitable employment" and thereby supports support the need for training for those individuals who cannot obtain a family-sustaining wage.  See, e.g., DUA’s regulations under the analogous Workforce Training Fund, G.L. c. 151A, §14L at 430 CMR 14.03 defining “wage sufficient to support a family” as a wage that exceeds 50% of the most recent average weekly wage as determined under G.L. c. 151A, § 29(a). If a claimant whose job history is low wage work is determined not to need retraining, this legislative history supports an argument that where the prior work is not a living wage, to deny extended UI for training is to deny the claimant an opportunity to obtain appropriate work.

Although a claimant cannot quit a job to participate in training, there is a statutory exception to this rule if the claimant is employed during their benefit year in a part-time job and their employer is not a base-period employer (i.e., wages from this employer are not being used for the claimant’s benefits). G.L. c. 151A, § 25 (e), par. 10. Consequently, the Board has held that a claimant, who was retroactively awarded training benefits on appeal, may quit subsidiary part-time employment obtained during the benefit year, because the part-time job interfered with his training, without incurring disqualification or a constructive deduction.  BR-0016 1648 59 (12/28/15) (Key). Similarly, where an eligible claimant applies and is admitted into an approved Section 30 training program, but has not yet received the nondiscretionary DUA approval for Section 30 benefits prior to leaving her part-time employment, the claimant is not disqualified from regular and extended UI benefits. BR-1892833 (7/12/14).

Where DUA has approved of a claimant’s submission of an application for retraining under § 30 prior to recall following a seasonal layoff, the Board has held that the claimant is excused from returning to work after recall and is permitted to collect regular and extended UI training benefits while attending school. The Board noted that because the claimant’s timely submission of and approval for training benefits occurred before the employer's recall to work, the claimant was qualified for regular and extended benefits pursuant to § 30. BR-115501-OP (8/31/11). See also BR - 0015 4767 58 (9/30/2015) (claimant separated from full-time seasonal position without definite recall date was eligible for Section 30 benefits even though the claimant had returned to seasonal position for several years). And where a claimant’s work for an employer was part of the Section 30 full-time training program, the separation from work is controlled by G.L. c. 151A, §6(k), which exempts full-time students from the definition of “employment.” Because the claimant’s internship was an integral part of the § 30 training program, it is not included in the definition of “employment” and therefore could not be disqualifying within the meaning of G.L. c. 151A, §§ 6(k) and 30(c) and 430 CMR 9.07(1). BR-116867 (10/31/11).

The Board has held that a claimant is entitled to Section 30 benefits when the claimant continues to work during the training program in some situations. BR - 0016 9388 06 (5/19/16) (holding a claimant working in a per diem job during participation in his training program does not disqualify him from extended training benefits where he was never offered any hours during the training program); BR - 0012 9717 02 (9/8/15) (holding a claimant who continued part time employment during training program was not disqualified from receiving further Section 30 benefits under a new claim). (See Question 8, Availability/Full-Time School Attendance).

Typically, a claimant must take the first training program available to them and “appropriate to their circumstances.” BR-0014 2251 21 (6/25/15) (claimant who did not take the first course available to her because it interfered with a pre-planned trip to China to visit family was eligible for section 30 benefits where the claimant took the first course available after the trip).

Under DUA's current regulations, a claimant will be deemed to be unable to obtain "suitable" work (rather than statutory "appropriate" work, see above)if any of the following conditions apply, 430 CMR 9.03(c):

  • The claimant has applied for or is participating in a course or training program authorized by the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), 29 U.S.C. §3101;
  • The claimant requires training to become reemployed in a current occupation because her present skills in that occupation are insufficient or technologically out of date; provided that the claimant has separated from a declining occupation or is unemployed as a result of a permanent reduction of operations and the claimant is in training for a high-demand operation. Note: The federal Department of Labor has interpreted the term “separated from a declining operation” to include those individuals who may have left work for a disqualifying reason and are ordinarily not eligible for UI. (“Federal law does not condition eligibility on the cause of separation where the separation is from a declining occupation.”) Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Admin.’s Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL), No. 14-09, Change 1, CH 1-5, p. 2 (3/19/2009), available at: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=2732.
  • A claimant’s existing skills are obsolete due to technological change or because no demand currently exists for these skills in his work search area (defined as “one of more economically integrated geographic units within reasonable traveling distance for job seeking and commuting), 430 CMR 9.02), or because a disability has made the claimant unable to perform the essential functions of jobs in the claimant’s previous occupation;
  • The claimant has separated from a declining occupation or as a result of a permanent reduction of operations and she is training for a high-demand occupation. The training program must meet certain criteria as well. 430 CMR 9.04. The training must prepare the claimant for marketable skills in a demand occupation in the claimant’s work search area, or any other work search area to which the claimant wishes to relocate or commute. 430 CMR 9.04(1).

In addition, 430 CMR 9.04(2) provides the following additional criteria for approval:

  1. Have achived a training related employment of 70% during the recent 12-month period, except the UI rate is greater than 7%, this placement rate drops to 60% and is even lower when the UI rate is greater than 8% and the Director retains the discretion to consider other evidence. The Board of Review has waived this requirement for some claimants. BR - 0016 0160 41, (9/24/15) (claimant was eligible for Section 30 benefits even though the training program had a job placement rate below 70% because of the claimant's veteran status and high GPA which made it likely he would be reemployed.) BR-0012 3255 24 (9/10/14) (Key) (holding that claimant is eligible for extended benefits where the claimant can complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree on a full-time basis within 2 years of filing a claim for UI and that the college is not required to  meet the job placement rate requirement of the regulations).
  2. Be a full time course—meaning, in most instances, at least 20 hours of supervised classroom or 12 credits. Although DUA’s regulations require the training program to be a full-time course, the Board has held that a reasonable accommodation to claimant’s disability permitted enrollment in fewer than 12 community college credits per semester. BR-115841 (12/17/10) (Key); and BR-0014 7628 50 (8/21/15) (claimant who had a traumatic brain injury that prevented full-time participation was entitled to Section 30 benefits.

    Full-time is further defined for the following programs:

    • University or College Programs. For university degree programs, this is usually measured as taking 12 credits per semester, but that is not determinative. If the program uses an alternative measurement of full-time status, section 30 benefits are allowed. See BR - 0018 1732 53, (11/30/16) (claimant's 9 credit summer program considered full-time where summer classes are accelerated requiring more work); BR - 0017 4895 95 (2/26/16) (claimant’s training program could be considered full time  where in addition to her 10 academic credits the claimant she also had 17 hours per week of clinical training; BR - 0014 4043 74 (9/30/15) (claimant who took 17 credits during the summer semester, even though  the summer semester was divided into three sessions that were less than 12 credits per session, was in a full-time program); BR-0014 0406 76 (3/4/15) (Key) (program satisfied the full-time training requirement where the claimant was required to engage in 120 hours of field work in addition to her credit hour coursework; BR-106513 (5/5/08) (Key) (claimant qualified for extended benefits where the externship component of claimant’s college program brought the average credit hours up to 13.3 hours). A program in a university that will earn a claimant a certificate rather than a degree must meet DUA job placement standards and consist of 20+ class hours per week to be considered full-time and to render a claimant eligible for Section 30 benefits, not the 12-credit requirement for university degree programs. BR - 0014 1645 92 (3/10/15). The Board reversed a denial of all extended benefits because the claimant needed to attended part time during the final term, BR - 0018 3639 73 (11/30/16); a claimant's revised schedule after remand from District Court brought claimant into compliance with requirements, plus Board permitted a condensed summer program for 9 credits to meet the requirement as the shortened semester required the claimant to devote more hours to her studies, BR - 0018 1732 53 (11/30/16); BR - 0016 2849 49 (9/9/16)(also allowing revision of schedule after remand); Board refused to penalize claimant for a temporary reduction in course load while awaiting the resolution of the appeal of the denial of extended UI benefits as long as the course of study could still be completed within 2 years. BR - 0017 7504 53 (5/24/16).
    • Part Practicum or Internship. These programs are approved for the time needed to complete state or federal certification licensing requirements or the time needed to become employable.
    • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The Director may waive the 20-hour requirement if no program of 20 hours or more is available within a reasonable distance from the claimant’s home
  3. ​​be completed within 2 years measured from the date of approval of the application or the date the claimant starts training, whichever is later; but if it combines basic skills with vocational training, completion can be 3 years, unless a reasonable accomodation to an individual with disabilities requires an extended completion date.; BR- 2049196 (9/24/14) (claimant met the “2-year requirement” of a Section 30 DUA–approved program when enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, and due to a transfer of credits from junior college, would complete the program in less than 2 years); BR - 0015 8286 38, (11/24/15) (claimant enrolled in accelerated bachelor’s program could receive training benefits because degree could be completed in two years); BR-974525(2/19/15)  claimants are still eligible for Section 30 benefits where, as a reasonable accommodation to a disability, they take more than 2 years to complete a program that otherwise would take 2 years or less to complete, so long as they otherwise remain a full-time student); BR-123257 (3/30/15) (the 2-year requirement is measured from when the program starts, not from when claimants file their claim); BR - 0017 0815 72, (2/26/16) (claimant met the 2-year requirement by showing that degree completion was possible by taking a larger than average course schedule); BR - 0011 9516 84, (9/18/15) (claimant could finish a training program in two years after including 12 credits that the training program granted to students who conveyed their personal experiences to the school); BR - 0016 2718 53,  (10/29/15) (claimant was entitled to extension of Section 30 benefits when the training program failed to provide software to perform coursework and the claimant exercised due diligence in trying to obtain the software); BR - 0015 3668 03, (9/24/15) (claimant who prematurely withdrew from training program because of incorrect advice from college counselor was entitled to continue training benefits after enrolling in community college.)
  4. Apprenticeship programs approved by the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards and the Director under 430 CMR 9.04 and certain on- the-job training programs approved by the Director containing substantial periods of work may extend beyond the 2 years if enrollment and attendance in the program are interrupted by such work.

Note 1: Although historically DUA has denied Section 30 benefits to claimants switching training programs on the grounds that the regulations permit claimants to participate in only one trainnig program in a benefit year, the current regulations excuse claimants from this requirement where “circumstances beyond their control make participation, or continued participation in the original program impossible.” Importantly, the new application “shall be deemed to have been filed on the date the completed application for the originally approved program was filed.” 430 CMR 9.05(8). This now comports with the Board of Review decisions, see, e.g., BR-0022 2673 94 (1/31/18) (Key) (citing Haefs v. Director of Div. of Employment Security, 391 Mass. 804 (1984) to support holding that the date of first application submitted is controlling with regard to 20-week application deadline);

Note 2: Another related issue arises with the end of the claimant’s benefit year because a claimant must file a new claim for UI benefits to determine whether the claimant is entitled to regular UI based on intervening income. 430 CMR 9.06(1). In this situation, DUA requires a claimant to reapply for training benefits, even if the prior application was approved. In a case adjudicated by the Board, DUA denied a training program under these circumstances even though the training program had previously been approved during the claimant’s benefit year. Although the Board acknowledged that there may have been reasons for the subsequent denial, it found that the interests of justice and equity are better served by approving claimant’s request for training benefits to complete the same program that was previously approved. BR-0020 8639 98 (11/22/17).

Note 3: The DUA has denied Section 30 benefits when claimants apply to programs that have not yet obtained Section 30 approval. The Board of Review has held that claimants are nevertheless entitled to Section 30 benefits in a number of these situations. BR - 0012 5524 23,  (10/29/15) (claimant was still eligible for Section 30 benefits after enrolling in a program with the help of DUA, and afterwards the program lost its Section 30 approval); BR - 0017 0103 50, (11/22/15) (claimant was  eligible for Section 30 benefits when the program in which the claimant had enrolled allowed its Section 30 approval to lapse, but the program was still listed on DUA’s JobQuest database); BR - 0015 7145 16, (9/24/15 (same); BR - 0016 2827 68, (12/31/15) (claimant was entitled to training benefits when program obtained Section 30 approval four weeks after the claimant's enrollment) ;BR - 0014 4409 86, (12/17/15) (claimant was eligible for training benefits when her training program obtained Section 30 approval between the claimant's application for Section 30 benefits and her appeal to the Board); BR - 0016 3650 39 (5/11/16) (claimant approved for Section 30 benefits while pursuing a training program in Florida, where the sworn testimony of the out-of-state school's representative demonstrated that the program met the requirements).

Note 4: When a claimant’s UI benefits are approved on appeal, the claimant can retroactively claim Section 30 benefits. BR - 0016 1171 46, (12/18/15) (claimant’s subsequent approval for training benefits applied retroactively to when she actually began training.); BR - 0014 7197 91, (12/17/15) (claimant could retroactively claim section 30 benefits when claimant is seeking work instead of continuing training program during his appeal of the section 30 denial); BR - 0015 3683 19, (12/17/15) (claimant who attends a training instead of seeking work while his Section 30 disqualification is appealed is retroactively approved for Section 30 benefits when he wins his appeal); BR - 0016 1648 59, (12/28/15) (claimant in a training program who began and quit a part time job while appealing Section 30 denial could still retroactively claim Section 30 benefits on winning his appeal and would not be subject to a constructive deductions). In addition, the Board has held that approval of §30 benefits on appeal means that the waiver of work search and availability requirements must similarly be applied retroactively to the period the claimant begin training. BR - 0016 9047 52 (8/31/16).

Although, generally, a claimant must apply for an approved training program in order to receive extended UI benefits within the first 20 weeks of a new or approved claim,this deadline can still be tolled under 430 CMR 9.05(6), if:

(a)   The training program refuses to reasonably accommodate a qualified individual with a disability (under the Americans with Disabilities Act), tolling the application period form the date claimant filed a complete application with DUA until the claimant was notified of the refusal or failure by the traning provider.

(b)   DUA denies the application and the claimant’s opportunity for applying will expire in less than 2 weeks, then the application period shall be extended once for 2 weeks from the date the DUA notifies the claimant. BR-0032 2245 11 (12/17/19); BR 0029-7008 15 (9/23/19) (Key) (Claimant, who was denied Section 30 benefits for failure to begin training as scheduled, remains ineligible for the program during that period, but has 2 weeks to submit a new Section 30 application).

(c)   When a claimant is initially denied benefits and the denial is later reversed by the Hearings Department, Board of Review, or Court, the 20 week period begins one week after DUA issues the claimant a decision reversing the denied claim, even if the benefit year has expired. BR-0027 1858 66 (3/20/19) (same, citing G.L. c. 151A, §30(c), as amended by St. 2016, c. 219, §§ 107 - 110).

(d)   If DUA fails to provide the claimant with written information regarding eligibility for extended UI benefits in the claimant’s primary language as required under G.L. c. 151A, § 62A, including that the application shall be submitted no later than the 20th week of a new or continued claim unless the period is tolled by regulation or waived for good cause, or if DUA or its agents gave the claimant misinformation, the application period is tolled until the claimant learns of the eligibility requirements, provided that the claimant identifies the date and source of misinformation in situations where misinformation is cited as the reason for tolling. Note: DUA has committed to providing every claimant with a brochure explaining the section 30 program including the application deadlines.

(e)   If economic circumstances permit the provision of extended benefits or any other emergency UI funded in whole or in part by the federal government, the application shall be extended until the end of such period.

(f)   If a claimant who is not permanently separated at the time of the initial claim and becomes permanently separated during the benefit year, the 20-week application shall begin on the date the claimant became permanently separated;

(g)   If a claimant has delayed applying due to the need to address the physical, psychological, or legal effects of domestic violence as defined in G.L. c. 151A, § 1(g1/2), the-20 week application shall start or resume on the date that the claimant was able to do so;    

(h)   If a claimant has been separated from a declining occupation (one that has a demonstrated pattern of reduced employment or has suffered an immediate and significant reduction in employment), or if the claimant has been involuntarily and indefinitely separated from employment as a result of a permanent reduction of operations and the claimant is in training for a demand occupation (an occupation determined by DUA where opportunities are available or future growth is anticipated), the 20 week application period shall be extended until the end of the claimant’s benefit year, or longer if applicable under 9.05 (6)(c).

In addition to extensions of the 20-week application deadline for reasons that toll the application deadline, the 2019 regulations implement the 2016 statutory requirement that the 20-week application period can also be waived for “good cause” where “circumstances beyond the claimant’s control prevented the application from being filed within the prescribed time period.” 430 CMR 9.05 (7). The regulations provide the following non-inclusive examples of good cause:

(a)  The claimant did not understand the deadline due to illiteracy, mental disability, or limited English proficiency where the claimant’s language is not one included in M.G.L. c. 151A, § 62A;

(b)  A natural catastrophe such as a fire, flood, or hurricane;

(c)  Death or serious illness of an immediate family or household member;

(d)  The claimant’s training provider failed to act in a reasonably prompt manner; or

(e)  The Department or its agents discourages the claimant from applying for training under M.G.L. c. 151A, § 30(c).

Although the regulations do not define "agents," in the tolling and good cause waiver regulations, the Board has also tolled the application deadline when the delay was due to actions by the MassHIRE Career Services (CS). BR - 0017 4269 54, (2/9/16) (holding the  (then) 15-week application deadline was tolled because CS staff required the claimant to provide proof of citizenship and the resulting delay in obtaining the documents prevented timely enrollment).  BR-107628 (2/13/2009) (Key) (claimant, who applied within the (then) 15 week deadline but could not enroll because the CS was out of training funds and told claimant to re-apply after the deadline, was determined by Board to have met the timely filing requirement). 

Advocacy Tip: All too often and inexplicably, DUA not only denies an individual Section 30 extended UI benefits but also stops the individual's UI benefits altogether (however, a DUA Memorandum, “Issue Creation–Section 30 School/Training Attendance,” 10/22/09) instructs claims agents not to stop benefits if a claimant notifies DUA of current or anticipated school or training attendance; a copy of the memorandum is available at https://www.masslegalservices.org /content/dua-memo-issue-creation-section-30-schooltraining-attendance. If the claimant is participating in training that she started while working full time, or if the training program otherwise does not interfere with her work search for permanent employment (such as part-time evening courses and the claimant never worked in the evening), contact the Section 30 program immediately. It can be reached at 617-626-5375. Numerous Board decisions, have found that a claimant should be approved for UI benefits in instances where the claimant could be found to be either in an approved Section 30 program or be seeking work since the beginning of the claim. BR - 0019 3195 11 (11/30/16); BR - 0018 8094 32 (2/14/17)(even though claimant did not have a history of working while a full-time student, her full time studies did not interfere with customary work as a bar tender in the evening).

Even in instances where participation in training under the Section 30 program has been denied, the Board has reversed the determination of ineligibility for UI benefits. BR-108813(8/20/09); BR-107560 (4/14/09); BR-107331 (11/6/08); BR-106011(6/23/08). DUA’s Memorandum and the Board decisions also provide grounds for arguing against denials of Section 30 benefits when an individual starts a program prior to receiving DUA final approval, see 430 CMR 9.06(2)(b), especially if the training program is a DUA preapproved program, or easily meets the regulatory criteria for approval of training programs, 430 CMR 9.05(2), or if DUA took far longer than 15 working days to approve the training application, 430 CMR 9.05(2).  See (Question 8, Availability, Full-Time School Attendance; Praticipation in approved Training).

Funding to pay for the job training may be available through the MassHIRE Career Centers. Priority for funding will be given to public assistance recipients, other low-income individuals and individuals who are basic skills deficient. 20 CFR 680.120. The Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 3101 et seq. (Pub. L. 113-128) provides the authority for funding and assisting claimants. Among the many changes in the law under WIOA, three are highlighted for UI claimants:

1.   Core services and intensive services will be provided together under the category of “career services.” These services are available to all “adults and dislocated workers through the MassHIRE delivery system.” 29 U.S.C. § 134(b)(2).

2.   Adults and dislocated workers meeting certain requirements will be able to access training services without having first passed through those “career services (previously core and intensive services).” 29 U.S.C. § 134(b)(3).

3.   “Wagner-Peyser” employment service officers will be co-located with MassHIRE Career Centers. 29 U.S.C. § 121(e)(3).

For additional details on WIOA, see U.S. Dept. of Labor Employment and Training Administration information available at http://www.doleta.gov/wioa/.

Assistance in finding training programs funded under WIOA is available from the MassHIRE Career Centers. (See Appendix A.) Claimants must always make a timely (generally within 15 weeks of a new or approved claim) written application for Section 30 benefits (even if the program was approved for funding under WIOA) and must file the Section 30 application with DUA, not with the MassHIRE Career Center. For additional WIOA advocacy suggestions, consult the websites of the National Employment Law Project, www.nelp.org, and the Center for Law and Social Policy, www.clasp.org. More information on the Section 30 program and training opportunities (including training provided near a claimant’s zip code) is provided at Appendix F and at www.mass.gov/dua/training (or search "job quest and training"). When on the Jobquest page, go to “Approved Course Type” – click on “ITA” (Individual Training Account) for funded programs and on “Section 30” for programs approved by DUA for extended UI benefits.

Advocacy Tip: Advocates should look to federal guidelines for support for expanded opportunities for unemployed workers to participate in training. The federal Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has sent several advisories encouraging states to broaden their definition of “approved training” and to notify UI claimants of their potential eligibility for Pell Grants. See Appendix P.

Additionally, as outlined above, the Board of Review has issued numerous decisions overturning denials of Section 30 benefits. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) Benefits

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) are available to workers laid off (or at risk of being laid off) because of competition from imports or because the employer moves its jobs abroad. To qualify, the employer or employees must first petition for and be granted certification by the Department of Labor. Individuals apply for TAA benefits at Massachusetts’ MassHIRE Career Centers. TAA supplements UI by providing additional cash benefits (called Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)) (with a deduction for the number of weeks of UI benefits already received). In some instances, additional TRA benefits are available. TAA also provides reimbursement for certain expenditures. More information about TAA and TRA Programs is available at the federal Department of Labor website at www.doleta.gov/tradeact.

The Board of Review has restored additional TAA benefits in some situations. BR - 0016 0797 10, (3/11/16) (holding that a claimant who withdrew from the TAA program when starting full-time job, but was then laid off shortly thereafter, was permitted to return to the TAA program because the claimant had never stopped participating in his on-line training.  Since he was reinstated for TAA, his TRA benefits were restored.); BR-0027 4833 16 (5/20/19) (a claimant who had “exercised due diligence” by repeatedly contacting the agency about applying for TRA benefits, who had not been notified of the deadline until after it was passed and whom the state provided erroneous information was entitled to a good cause waiver of the application deadline); TAA - 16 007 (4/13/17) (reversing denial of travel reimbursement in connection with training program even through claimant missed deadline based on equitable tolling principles that to hold otherwise would be unfair where claimant made genuine efforts); BR - 0016 7644 17 (8/25/16)(reversing denial of TRA benefits where career center provided erroneous information that delayed meeting with trade counselor until after the deadline for applying had passed). BR-0008-9746 27 (5/29/14) (Key) (claimant may quit unsuitable work in order to continue the requirements of TAA program without jeopardizing UI benefits); BR-121844-TRA (3/27/12) (Key) (claimant who missed the TRA application deadline because the school did not complete and submit its application to become an approved training program to DUA in time, was entitled to an extension of the deadline for good cause).


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