Anxious about unpaid winter break/late January paycheck? Apply for unemployment NOW

Are you an adjunct faculty member staring at reduced class offerings for the spring term and, if you are lucky enough to get work in January, no paycheck til the end of January or even into February?

Don’t despair: apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you are finished working for the fall semester.  You are legally entitled to apply for benefits and because you are an adjunct *without* reasonable assurance of re-employment, you are entitled to benefits.

Thanks to the courage and persistence of your fellow adjunct faculty members who have stood up to their college employers’ efforts to challenge unemployment claims, more and more precedents have been established to support adjunct claims and reduce the chances that your application will be successfully challenged by your employer.


OPTFA and NFM are here to support you through the process and are leading the effort to regularize adjuncts’ access to unemployment benefits.

Here’s what to do:

  • Apply for unemployment online at ODJFS.
  • When filling out forms or responding to ODJFS representatives, answer “NO” to any question asking if you have “reasonable assurance” of re-employment, since you do not have reasonable assurance as defined by law.
  • Be sure to point out if your employer has suggested that you will have fewer classes in the spring term than you had in the fall, as this fact will help you receive some benefits if you end up teaching fewer (or no) classes in the spring.
  • Remember:  Employer letters asserting reasonable assurance CANNOT be used to prevent you from applying or to deny you unemployment benefits; ODJFS is required to investigate the facts and circumstances of your employment and cannot take the institution’s letter at face value.
  • Contact colleagues to encourage others to apply for benefits as well, and contact us if you have a group that would like advice and assistance.
  • For more detailed assistance on how to fill out forms and answer questions, contact us!

For more information and to report on your experience so that we can continue to collect data to support adjunct faculty rights, visit

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