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Unemployed, diagnosed with cancer, and hoping to be school bound!!

I have a friend who is in her 40's and was recently laid off from her job in Iowa. She was wanting to go back to school to get a degree in the medical field, but a few weeks ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her employer called her last week and said they may need her to come back, but she has yet to tell them about her diagnoses. She is also really wanting to go back to school.

First things first, will she still be eligible for her full unemployment benefits even if she is unable to work due to her cancer treatments?
Second question, once she gets through her treatments successfully will she still recieve benefits if she does decide to continue her education in school?
Third question, if her employer calls her back and she turns them down, will she no longer be elible for her benefits?
I'm trying to give her as much advice as I can, but it's a very difficult topic to help her on. So any help from anyone who knows anything about this topic would be very helpful!


You sound like a good friend to have:) and your friend's desire and ability to continue to look forward is inspiring. I'm happy to help answer your questions as best I can.

1&2. Iowa does not, like most other states have temporary unemployment benefits due to an illness or short-term disablity.

This type of UI benefit is fairly comparable to an employer's option to provide STD, there are about five states that have varying ways to provide unemployment benefits under such conditions that would make someone unable to work.

In all other states, including Iowa, you must be able and available for work in order to collect unemployment benefits. If it becomes an issue, she would of course be able to resume benefits when she is cleared medically to return to work.

2. The recall to work is a possible issue .. especially if she want to go back to school. No
state allows for benefits if you quit to attend school. But once you are unemployed everyone has the option to attend "state approved training" which may exempt a person from looking for work.

"State approved" may be a number of different types of schools and I know that the medical field is a hot labor market .. and that "state approved training is based on BLS labor statistics in part. So I think she need to see if she can get into a program.

Iowa does not disqualify simply because someone is in school. They disqualify for unemployment benefits if the school interferes with the unemployed persons choice or ability to accept suitable work.

If we keep in mind always that unemployment benefits are not a subsidy to be used for anything except keeping us afloat while we look for another job the whole system becomes easier to understand ... but

This does not mean that there are not ways for it to become "like" a subsidy and this can happen when we first get the states approval for improving our marketability for a better future job.

So, I decided to find some other resources specific to Iowa because you're right .. it can be confusing and differing from state to state.

Iowa Workforce Development Offices This is where you need to first go to find out about approved training. This is the type of office all states have which is funded by the federal government and is usually the place where all unemployment claimants are required to register for work. For anyone in Iowa they have a very interesting new feature call IHaveAPlan as well as a "real advice" feature ..

It would be great if you let everyone else know how it works out because it is confusing.

My best advice is always to first see if your schooling can be "state approved" .. if not you can't let school interfere with the primary objective of unemployment benefits .. wage replacement while you look for another suitable job.

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