Becoming disabled to the point where you are unable to perform essential duties of your job is scary on a number of levels. You are dealing with a whole new set of restrictions on your ability to go through the normal activities of everyday life. Additionally, the thought of your job being in jeopardy because of your disability is a whole other added level of stress. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of being terminated while you are on disability.
There are both federal and state protections in place that may protect you from having your employer fired from your job. In some instances, these laws will protect your job while you are on your leave of absence. For instance, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for eligible employees on temporary disability. The employee must be working for a covered employer and will not be protected for longer than a 12-week absence.
Alternatively, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) could protect your job while on disability leave. Despite these protections, however, there are countless ways your employer may still be within their legal rights to terminate you while you are on disability. Should this happen, you will most likely want to seek unemployment benefits.
Can I Collect Unemployment If I Am Terminated While On Disability?
If you are terminated while on disability, you may be able to collect unemployment. However, as long as you are unable to perform your job duties, you will be unable to collect unemployment benefits. All 50 states have the same requirements for a person to be eligible for unemployment compensation. First, the individual must be physically able to work. Second, the person must available for duty. Third, the person must be actively interviewing for jobs.
In most cases, those who are terminated from employment while out on short term disability will be able to go on and receive unemployment benefits. This is because they are likely to recover from their disabling condition sooner rather than later and, therefore, be able to perform their job duties. Those who are terminated while on long term disability, however, may remain unable to work. Because of this inability to retain substantially gainful employment due to disability, a person would be unable to collect unemployment.
Should you be terminated while on disability and be eligible for unemployment benefits, you should file for these benefits as soon as you recover. Because the amount of wages you earned in the year you seek to collect benefits may be affected by your disability leave, you may be able to use an alternate base year. The alternate base year set by your date of disability will allow you to qualify for unemployment benefits based on what you made in a normal year that was not affected by your disability.
Disability Advocates is here to advocate on behalf of the disabled. Should you be terminated while on disability, talk to us about your options. We are happy to review your benefit options so that you can continue to receive the necessary financial support. Contact us today.