What is a dislocated worker?
There are a couple of questions on the FAFSA that ask if either a parent, student, or spouse is a dislocated worker. While you may write off this question initially, don't!
The dislocated worker question is important for those who have either been laid off or have been struggling due to loss of income or underemployment.
How this Affects your FAFSA
The dislocated worker questions can have direct impact on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). By answering "yes", you may qualify for an automatic zero EFC, and therefore, be eligible for more aid, including Pell Grants. If you take the time to answer this question, you could receive a lot more money towards college expenses.
Dislocated Worker Qualifications
To qualify as a dislocated worker, you, a parent, or a spouse must be able to meet one of the qualifying criteria, as well as provide supporting documentation.
You may be considered a dislocated worker if you:
- Receive unemployment benefits due to being laid off
- Have been laid off or have received a lay-off notice
- Are self-employed but are now unemployed or underemployed due to economic conditions or a natural disaster
- Are a stay-at-home dad/mom who has lost spousal support. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent who is widowed, you qualify as a displaced homemaker and are able to answer "yes" to the dislocated worker question
You are NOT a dislocated worker if you:
- Quit your job
- Were let go for misconduct
If you answer "Do Not Know", follow up with your school's financial aid office to help determine your status. it could mean the difference between qualifying for the Pell Grant or not.
If you are able to answer "yes" to being a dislocated worker, you'll need proof to back this up. The type of required documentation may vary by school, but in general, be prepared to submit one of the following:
- Unemployment benefits documentation showing effective dates
- Employer documentation showing termination or separation
- Your previous year's tax return with any accompanying proof of income loss
- Death certificates
- Written, detailed explanation of your current situation
If your family has had a change in financial situation in the past 12 months for any reason, make sure to talk with a financial aid officer at your school. Making your advisors aware of the situation could help open the door for other types of financial aid based on family circumstances.
More FAFSA Questions and Answers:
- What are the FAFSA deadlines?
- Who is a dependent student?
- What's my FAFSA status?
- What is a dislocated worker?
- What if my parents do not want to submit their information for the FAFSA?
- I filled out my FAFSA but was not eligible, what do I do now?
- What is the purpose of a FAFSA Renewal form?
- What if I have a non-traditional family situation?
- What's my FAFSA PIN?
- Do I have to fill out the FAFSA every school year?
- How do you go about filling out the FAFSA if I am divorced and remarried? Does my ex fill one out as well? Do we list our current spouses?
- In order to get a Stafford loan or a Parent Plus loan, do I need to fill out a FAFSA?
- How do 529 plans affect financial aid?
- Can you mail me a FAFSA?
- Can you mail me a renewal FAFSA?
- How long is the FAFSA process?
- What are the final steps of the FAFSA?
- How long does it take for my school to receive the FAFSA?
- What's the difference between a FAFSA and a renewal FAFSA?
- What's the difference between a paper FAFSA and a FAFSA on the Web?
- Where should I mail my completed FAFSA paper application?
- What's the difference between a FAFSA application and a FASFA application?