I'm currently a student at Cornell University, where I pay for a monthly rent of about 780 dollars per month. I need a little more money to keep up my payments, but a job is simply not an option with my current workload. I took a year off of school after my sophomore year because I was given the opportunity to work on the TV show, Survivor. I worked on the show for 4 months in 2011 in Western Samoa making about 10 grand. There was a hiatus between filming seasons and once again I returned to the show this past summer (2012) to work for 4 months with the same wages. The company I worked for was based in Los Angeles, CA. My hometown is in North Carolina though. So, to give a summary of it all:

  1. Worked for 4 months in Samoa in the summer of 2011
  2. Worked for 4 months in the Philippines in the summer of 2012
  3. Company that paid me is based in Los Angeles, CA
  4. I'm currently a student at Cornell University in New York
  5. My permanent residence is still registered with my family in North Carolina
  6. Am currently renting a place for 780/month
  7. Made 10 grand each of the four months
  8. Am getting a job with Cornell University in January/or will be working on another TV show probably on location somewhere in South America (company most likely based in California)

My question is, Am I eligible for unemployment benefits and if so, in which state do I apply?

  • You are not eligible for unemployment if you were a student while you were employed or if you currently are a student. So even if you would qualify for it otherwise I think this provision is going to get you.
    – user4127
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


To receive unemployment benefits, you must be registered with an employment agency and be actively seeking work, and be willing to accept work should it be offered to you. As a full-time Cornell University student, as you describe yourself, this does not seem a likely scenario.

Also, you need to have established a state of residence. It is not clear to me that you have done so, given your travel between the South Pacific, Ithaca, New York, North Carolina etc.

You should check with your local state unemployment office in New York State, or perhaps North Carolina, although I don't know if you satisfy residency requirements in either state. They will be able to confirm however.

Are your parents claiming you as a dependent on their federal income taxes? If so, I do not believe that you will be able to file for unemployment benefits, regardless of your student status at Cornell University.

One more issue to consider: Have you filed tax returns for the income you received from your television production work? I am uncertain of the amount, as you said that you worked for two 4-month intervals making $10,000. That implies $20,000 of earnings over two years. Yet your bullet point number 7 states that you made "10 grand each of the four months". If that means that you made $10,000 per month for four months, then you earned $40,000 per summer, for a total of $80,000 for two summer's worth of work. I don't think unemployment benefits are intended for individuals in your situation.

  • 1
    +1 Corrected deductible to dependent. Please roll back to the original wording if that is what you meant to write. Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 1:52
  • unless the OP changed his residency to the location then residency should not be an issue. There are questions about work in other states and countries so long as you maintained primary residence in your home state this should not be a problem.
    – user4127
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 14:49
  • @FeralOink Sorry for the confusion, I should have said I made 10grand per 4 month period. Thus I made a total of 20,000 in earnings over two years. I am unsure of my status in regards to my parents' tax filing, but it seems I got enough against me that I'll go ahead and accept you answer. I still plan to call the NC employment office and I'll update this post with the final verdict. Cheers!
    – user7195
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 1:25

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