The Potluck

Minnesota starts processing high school student unemployment assistance payments Friday

By: - December 11, 2020 4:28 pm

Photo illustration by Getty Images

Starting Friday, high school students across Minnesota can begin accessing unemployment assistance for the first time since the pandemic began.

The  Pandemic Unemployment Assistant Program funds, distributed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), were initially inaccessible to students as a result of a 1939 law that barred high school students from receiving unemployment insurance. Minnesota has some of the strictest underage unemployment restrictions in the nation, according to the New York Times

The added support comes after a Court of Appeals overturned a previous judgement by an unemployment law judge that determined high school students ineligible for the assistance last week. DEED was awaiting additional clarification before distributing funds.

The appeal was filed by Youthprise, a youth equity nonprofit, and the ruling means that unemployed high school students can now tap into between $14 million and $28 million, per the StarTribune

The payments are retroactive, meaning those who lost jobs earlier in the pandemic may still apply. Eligibility for the assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis, and those who have already applied do not need to do so again; their applications are already being reviewed.

High school students facing unemployment are encouraged to apply before Dec. 26 at

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Dylan Miettinen
Dylan Miettinen

Dylan Miettinen is a Reformer intern. A fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota, he was born and raised in Omaha, Neb. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. He's also worked for CNN, the Minnesota Media and Publishing Association and the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast.