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Can my husband quit and collect unemployment?

by Katrina
(Indiana)

My husband and I live in Indiana. He works for the FBI and we have been waiting for a transfer opportunity to move back to my home state for 2.5 yrs now. At first it was because we wanted to be close to family as we have no family within a 3 hour radius from where we live. Now its because of two reasons that require us to move to Rhode Island with a little more urgency. One is our daughter was recently diagnosed with Epilepsy and we would like to get her into the Boston Epilepsy center which is the number one center in the nation for children with seizures(she is only 2). The second is because my mother is sick with MS, Chronic Fatigue, Bi-polar, Diabetes and Fibromialgia. She currently lives with my 83 yr old grandmother however my mother has been getting sicker and requires more care that my grandmother has a difficulty providing her. She was in remission for a while until this past October when she had a flair up of her MS.


He is at the moment talking to his office about getting a hard ship transfer however we are still researching other opportunities that might be available to us.

Are these reasons within the eligibility for quitting with good cause and being able to recieve unemployment benefits?

Thanks!
Kat
(IN)

Answer
Hi Kat,

What I think is that your mother's illnesses wouldn't be good cause to quit in Indiana even for you. Nor would your daughter's illness and the desire to have her treated in Boston be good cause for your husband to quit .. but it's very likely good enough for FMLA which should always be the first course of action to preserve a job even if you won't be getting STD to supplement.

The main reason people do get unemployment when a family member has a health problem is because FMLA runs out and the employer refuses to grant a request for additional personal leave. In other words they are forced to quit or fired because the employer refuses to hold their job .. happens all the time to people providing care to a dying family member who lingers longer than expected or to people not yet recovered and released to work after 12 weeks of FMLA.

The ADA can help extend an FMLA leave for a short time if some type of disability is involved which requires a bit more time to overcome.

In addition, to collect unemployment you must be able and available for work .. if you can't return from FMLA because you need to care for someone .. you're not able and available for work which is an eligibility condition. So even though you may be approved for benefits .. you can't collect until your care is no longer needed.

However, the request for the hardship transfer may be something an attorney can work with for unemployment benefits because there's the possibility of proving it is attributable to the work .. but I would strongly urge anyone in this situation to talk to an attorney before doing anything rash. I believe that a child's disability has relevancy for a caregiving parent under the ADA.

Here's hoping everything works out and unemployment benefits don't even become a factor to consider.

Chris

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