AZ Unemployment & Teaching Contracts
I'm currently a high school teacher in Arizona. Due to potentially massive and currently vague budget cuts, I am almost certain to receive notice that my district plans to lay me off for the 2009-2010 school year. Depending on how the exact budget numbers work out, it may or may not call me back for that school year, and if it does, said callback may or may not happen prior to the actual start of the school year. I cannot afford to hang my hopes on this. Plan A is to find another teaching job with a different district. (While I don't think there are really "easy" job markets anywhere, I do have reason to believe that jobs in the surrounding districts will be a little more open than in the district I'm likely leaving.) But Plan B, which may come into play if Plan A is not happening quickly enough, is to file for unemployment benefits. However, right now I'm a little confused as to when I qualify. Technically, my last day of employment with the district will be May 21, 2009. According to the Arizona Departnment of Economic Security website, I should apply immediately after that point. However, because of the way my current salary gets paid out, I'll continue to receive a paycheck from the district (for the 2008-2009 school year) until July 31, 2009. If I'm reading the website's information correctly, even if I file immediately in May, I won't be entitled to benefits until August. (The amount of my district paycheck would be more than the amount of unemployment dollars I'd collect.) So while it says to apply as soon as one is unemployed, it doesn't actually look like there's any point in me applying until all of my 2008-2009 teaching contract is paid out, correct? Additionally, since I'd theoretically be able to draw unemployment for up to 26 weeks from the time I apply, is it not actually better for me to wait until August to file a claim? Finally, does anyone happen to know if the time between May and August -- where I am technically no longer employed with the district but where I am still receiving a paycheck for previous contract time -- counts against the time for which I'm entitled to receive unemployment? I don't see anything about it in any of the online literature, but one of my friends (who was on AZ unemployment in the summer of 2007) swears this is the case. And you know, it seems like the sort of question their Call Center should be relatively easily able to answer -- but I've called twice, been disconnected once, and received one "you could try it and see what happens" response. Not so helpful. I realize that I have at least a couple of months before I need to know this if I end up actually needing to know it. But I think planning ahead is its own poor skill -- and even if it isn't, it beats the hell out of scrambling at the last minute! :) Thanks!