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Can I Quit My Job to Care for Elderly Mom Across the Country?

by lisa
(Kansas)

I've been with the company for 6 years.


But today, I found out my mom fell and knocked herself out...

She lives alone and and has early stage dementia. Im worried she will hurt herself more severely living alone. So if I quit a job and move to take care of my family am i eligible for unemployment benefits in the state of KS

Chris's Response



Hi Lisa,

If you were copy and paste your question " Can I Quit My Job to Care for Elderly Mom Across the Country? " into the search bar, you'd notice this is a common theme.

You know in your heart you need to provide aid to a family member, and that what I first ask about is whether FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) is something your employer must provide as an option to you. (Usually when the employer has 50 or more employees, but the minimum number can also be less in certain more generous to the employee states).

The reason I ask, is because of the necessity to care for even ill family members must be a medically documented fact .. for a personal LOA and for those with FMLA as an option.

It's one of those alternative a person needs to use first as an effort to preserve your employment before they ever think about just quitting.

In other words .. exercising your rights under the FMLA, a federal employee right law is often the first thing that is meant to help employees protect their job. And when the twelve weeks (per year) are used up, it is often going to be the employer who chooses to no longer hold a person's job for them when they reasonably, try to work with the employer and extend the leave time beyond that twelve weeks with a personal leave of absence for more medically documented reasons that would justify the extension as being something beyond the employees control.

Of course, there may even be alternatives to you the employee being the in home caregiver .. (but given I've been in this boat, it can be to expensive for some of us to handle).

When requests for leave are no longer with a concern for legal compliance from the employer .. it is often when the employment is ended by the employer, but not always without a low ball tactic meant to make an employee look like they have voluntarily quit by abandoning their job when they failed to return to their job on the end date of their FMLA leave.

You need medical documentation from your mother's physician for FMLA and you would also need more medical documentation to request the leave be extended past that of FMLA with a personal LOA.

Ironically, if an employee documents all requests to the employee including that all important medical documentation .. they have the proof they need when they do file an unemployment claim.

However, the important thing to remember is if circumstances do force you to move to where your mother lives to care for her .. this can also make you not able and available to work until something changes, either for the better or the worse with your mother.

And being able and available is a condition of collecting even benefits you've been determined entitled to based upon the circumstances of how you were separation from a job.

Kansas and most other states do not have a temporary disability unemployment benefit to ensure even an unpaid FMLA leave provides some sort of short-term wage compensation .. like these states.

So Lisa, in short, my answer is always the same .. your own health issues, or those of an ill family member do not literally provide the good cause a person needs to collect unemployment benefits, but there efforts to keep preserving their job under such dire circumstances can.

Chris

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