School Worker UI

We are excited to announce a major win for AFSCME 65 members who work in Minnesota's K-12 Schools. Beginning on May 28, 2023 school workers can apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI). We are the first state to make this change on a permanent basis. This will go a long way in helping workers get through the summer months and return to work at the start of the new school year. Continue reading to learn how we made this happen, and information on applying for UI benefits. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How AFSCME Members Made The Difference

AFSCME 65 K-12 members made it clear, going unpaid during the summer break made it difficult to stay in these jobs. Many had to ration heat, gas, and even food to make sure they had the resources to get by until the new school year. Council 65 worked with our labor partners to propose legislation allowing school workers to access UI. 

Last November, When AFSCME members helped elect a pro-worker majority to the Minnesota Legislature, we knew this was our chance. Some members testified before the legislature on how life changing this benefit could be, hundreds of others called and wrote their legislators asking them to support UI for school workers. You can watch member's testimony below. 

Thanks to all of this work, the bill was signed into law on May 24, and workers will be eligible starting Monday May 28, 2023.  

What You Need to Know about Unemployment Insurance

School workers will be eligible for unemployment during the summer break starting May 28, 2023. There are multiple factors used to determine your eligibility. The only way to know for sure if you qualify when break begins, is to go to, select Applicants, and then Apply for Benefits. Answer all questions as accurately as possible. False information can delay an application or disqualify you from the program. You can see more information on how to apply below, or check out our UI for School Workers FAQ or visit

  • Apply as soon as you are unemployed for the summer.
  • You must apply every week in which you are unemployed or have reduced hours. 
  • You will not receive benefits until the second week you apply. (See Nonpayable week in our FAQ)
  • You must accept comparable work if offered it.
  • You may be eligible for partial UI benefits if you have take a second job. 
  • The only way to know for sure if you qualify when break begins, is to go to, select Applicants, and then Apply for Benefits.
  • If you are denied benefits you may appeal. 

Apply Online

You can apply online Sunday - Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Go to, select Applicants, and then Apply for Benefits.

Apply By phone

Call on Monday - Friday from 8:00  a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Choose: English, Spanish, Hmong, or Somali. 

  • Twin Cities area: 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
  • Teletypewriter (TTY) users: 1-866-814-1252

*We are providing the best information we can to help members understand the resources available to them. However, each person will have to consider their specific situation to determine if they can and should apply for UI benefits.