Having disability insurance can provide critical compensation while you are unable to work. Whether it be short term or long term, disability insurance will pay a portion of income for a set period of time. This can alleviate much of the financial pressure those on disability leave may face. While disability insurance serves an important purpose, it is only to help cover part of your income while you are unable to work. It does not protect your job. There are some federal and state laws in place that will, in certain instances, protect employees on disability from losing their jobs. Whether your job will be protected by these laws, however, will depend on other factors such as whether or not you qualify for the protections and how long the protections last. In any event, should you be terminated from your job while on disability leave, it is important to understand your options. For instance, you will most likely want to pursue the possibility of collecting unemployment should you find yourself in this situation.
Can I Collect Unemployment If I Was Fired While on Disability?
It is possible for a person who was fired while on disability to go on to collect unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefit laws, however, are consistent across all 50 states in requiring that a benefit applicant be not only physically capable of working, but also available for duty and actively interviewing for jobs. This means that, as long as you remain unable to perform your job due to disability, you will be unable to collect unemployment benefits.
People who are terminated while on short term disability leave, however, will likely be eligible for unemployment benefits as soon as they recover from their temporary disability. Those who are fired while on long-term disability, however, usually suffer from a permanent medical condition from which they may never recover enough to be able to go back to work. In these cases, unemployment benefits are not going to be an option. As long as you remain unable to return to work, you will not be approved for unemployment benefits.
If you are terminated while on disability, you may also want to see whether your rights were violated when your employer fired you form your job. Some federal and state return to work laws provide protections for qualified employees of covered employers. These return to work laws may protect your job while you are on disability leave or shortly after you return to work post-disability leave. For instance, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), is a federal return to work law providing protections for temporary disability. FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protection while eligible employees, working for employers covered by FMLA are on disability leave. Furthermore, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that has return to work provisions to provide protections for employees on disability leave.
Being on disability leave, even when receiving disability benefits, can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety. Waiting to recover and not knowing about your job situation when you are able to return to work can be overwhelming. Know your disability rights. Know your legal options. For disability questions, Roeschke Law can help. We are here to support you in any way we can. Contact us today.