Unemployment Compensation for Quitting a Job for Health Reasons

Help may be available if you are unemployed due to a health condition.
i Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

The purpose of unemployment compensation is to provide temporary financial assistance while you're between jobs. To receive unemployment benefits, you must be jobless through no fault of your own. In many cases, if you quit a job it decreases your chance of receiving benefits. Whether you qualify to receive unemployment after quitting a job for health reasons depends if you had a “good reason” for quitting.

The Health Reason

Just because you have a health issue doesn't automatically mean you have a good reason for quitting. The Unemployment Securities Commission doesn't provide an official definition of what constitutes a good reason, as revealing an exact definition could result in abuse of the system. A good reason can best be defined as one that would cause the average person to quit, given the same circumstances.

Exhaust Other Options

It's important to exhaust all possible options before quitting a job due to health reasons. If your health condition requires a stress-free environment, ask your supervisor if she can transfer you to a less stressful job assignment. If your health condition requires you to avoid long periods of standing, ask if you can be transferred to a position that allows sitting. When communicating with your employer about your options, put your request in writing and ask for a written response. By doing so, you have a paper trail to prove that you attempted to stay on the job.

Must Be Able to Work

To receive unemployment compensation, you must actively look for a job and accept suitable work. If your health prevents you from accepting suitable work, there's a good chance you won't qualify for unemployment benefits. It's possible to look for work that won't aggravate your health condition. So if a health condition requires you to stay off your feet, look for jobs that don't require standing. Anything else would be considered unsuitable. You're not disqualified from unemployment for refusing to accept unsuitable work.

The Only Way to Know

The only way to know for sure if you qualify for unemployment compensation is to apply for benefits. This is done by submitting an application to your local Unemployment Securities Commission. When asked your reason for quitting, simply state “health reasons.” An unemployment agency representative will contact you to get the specifics. At that time, you can provide her with the details of your health issue, as well as documentation proving you asked the employer for other options. After the agency representative speaks with your employer, you'll receive a determination letter indicating if you've been approved for benefits.

the nest