Bryan Caplan  

Unemployment Insurance Bleg

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As far as I can verify via Google, workers under the age of 18 remain fully eligible for U.S. unemployment insurance.  Am I missing anything? 

Please show your work.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Andrew writes:

Appears in Minnesota you are eligible as long as you have dropped out of high school after age 16.

DougT writes:

At least in New Hampshire, there is no age-restriction for claimants:

But that is tempered by the mandatory school requirement:

There are also significant hourly restrictions for minors:

Since you have to have worked a minimum 4 months to qualify for unemployment, this effectively excludes NH minors from unemployment insurance, unless they have graduated from high school.

JLV writes:

Maine explicitly states there are no age limits on UI:

Arkansas excludes the minor children of sole proprietors but not minors in general:

Although, as noted, other eligibility requirements (most states require a certain number of hours and a year of previous employment) make most minors ineligible in practice.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

No clear age restriction on receiving California unemployment (if you make at least $900 in one quarter of the last 12 months).


The California Unemployment Insurance Code has no provisions expressly rendering students, as such, unavailable for work. However, an inference of unavailability for work does arise when a claimant is attending school during hours customarily worked in business and industry. This inference may be overcome by evidence that the claimant is either:

Willing to abandon or alter school schedule if offered work (refer to Voluntary School Attendance - Willingness to Abandon School section C below for further information),


Willing and able to accept full-time employment and is available to a substantial field of employment (refer to Available For Full-Time Work While Attending School - Section 1253(C)-1(C)(4), Title 22 section D below for further information),


Available for part-time employment AND meets the provisions of Section 1253.8 (refer to Restricting To Part-Time Work Due To School Attendance - Section 1253.8 section E below for further information).

So practically:

A high school student over the age of 16 and under the age of 18 who indicates a willingness to abandon school in order to accept employment, may be eligible if the statement and status of the individual can be established as being credible under the conditions discussed in Mandatory School Attendance.

(details here)

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