Section 599, part of New York State’s Unemployment Insurance Law, allows unemployed people to continue receiving jobless benefits while attending an approved school or a training program full time. Although Section 599 does not provide tuition assistance, the program includes several advantages for eligible unemployed participants who continue to be enrolled in training.
Section 599 was implemented to help unemployed workers complete training that allows them to return to the job market with higher-level skills. Section 599 addresses job market issues, such as the need for more highly trained workers and the loss of traditional industries that employed low-skill workers. The program, which operates when money is available in the state budget, allows educational and vocational training. Career advisers at the One Stop Career Centers throughout New York State provide information and assistance with Section 599 registration and selecting a training program.
Individuals who receive unemployment insurance and who are enrolled or become enrolled in a full-time training program must apply to participate in Section 599. The state’s labor department will contact you if you note on your claim for benefits your interest in a training program. Participants may receive waivers for the work-search efforts required while receiving benefits. A participant who receives approval of his training program prior to exhausting his regular benefits may qualify to receive extended benefits for a maximum of 104 days, as of publication. Extended benefits will not begin until the labor department receives certification from the training program that the participant continues to make satisfactory progress.
Section 599 requires that applicants meet certain qualifications for participation. The ability of the applicant to find a job must be significantly impaired because of one of several causes, such as labor market conditions in the local area, limited job opportunities in the applicant’s occupation, technological changes, seasonal employment or the applicant’s disability. Participants who are not approved for participation may appeal the decision.
Section 599 participants must enroll in approved full-time, which is a minimum of 12 hours a week, training programs that require 24 months or less for completion. The training must upgrade the participant’s skills or provide occupational training that is likely to lead to long-term employment. The applicant must enroll in a training program that she is capable of completing successfully and that prepares her for jobs that have immediate prospects for employment opportunities. New York State Department of Labor provides on its website a searchable database of approved programs and providers.