Can you get unemployment insurance while getting medical insurance (on medical leave)

I’ve been medically disqualified from my current job. I am officially on medical leave per FMLA, and will be able to continue getting medical insurance for another year. I am looking for another job, obviously, but I need one with good medical insurance, and those are hard to find nowadays. So I was thinking of taking unemployment insurance to make up for the fact I am receiving no pay so I can survive longer while looking for work. But I"m afraid that taking unemployment insurance will disqualify me from being on medical leave, or that being on medical leave will disqualify me from taking unemployment insurance.

Doe anybody know the legal facts here? My employer is a govt. entity and I am in Georgia, if that matters.

You are still technically employed, but a call to the unemployment office would better answer your question. They’re there to help.

Have you looked at Cobra options?

I’d suggest contacting a legal aid office like this one http://www.atlantalegalaid.org/ or the state Department of Labor http://www.dol.state.ga.us/js/unemployment_benefits_individuals.htm (they’ve got some infor on their website, too).

They’ll be far better equipped to answer your question than anybody here.

I looked at COBRA in the past when I was unemployed, the costs were basically the same as buying insurance on your own, i.e., over a grand a month. I’m not sure why the program exists, it seems totally useless based on my experience.

not legal or medical advice

A major advantage is that COBRA generally is “shall issue” coverage, while getting insurance on your own is a gamble, especially if you already have medical conditions. If you are on some expensive treatment or you have major medical conditions in your medical history, insurers might decline to issue you an individual policy or might charge you hugely, but if you sign up for COBRA within the available period, they MUST issue you coverage at the quoted price and with all benefits that you previously had.

not legal or medical advice

I have checked out Atlanta Legal Aid in the past, I found out they were basically overwhelmed and pretty much focussed on getting criminals out of jail rather than helping people with legal issues who weren’t facing jail time.

Unemployment is a good idea, though, I’ve been trying to call them (their line is busy, surprise) because basically all I need to do is speak with some bureaucrat who knows the rules cold and can just tell me what they are. I’ve done some google searches on “medical leave” and “unemployment insurance” and come up with nothing so far, but I have good hopes for that line of investigation.

Well, true enough, and a godsend to some I suppose, but if it’s unaffordable it’s unaffordable, no matter what your need is.

  1. Check this out: http://www.kmm.com/articles-200.html
  2. More info and agency contacts here: http://www.legalaid-ga.org/GA/StateChannelResults.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/%3D%201/Language/1/State/GA/TextOnly/N/ZipCode/%20/LoggedIn/0/iSubTopicID/1/iProblemCodeID/1760000/sTopicImage/work.gif/iTopicID/456/bAllState/0/ichannelid/54
  3. Good luck.

As a general rule anytime you’re out of work, whether it’s permanent or temporary, through no fault of your own, you can apply and get unemployment. For instance, when I worked in a hotels at Christmas it was slow so for about 3 weeks about half the staff was laid off. They were able to get unemployment. So you don’t need to be fired to collect unemployment, a temporary layoff will also get you it.

Here’s the thing, to qualify for unemployment you MUST be willing and ABLE to work.

So I assume you are able to work but not able to do the job you were doing so they gave you medical leave.

Absence a contract to the contrary there is no law that says you can’t work two jobs. For example, suppose before you were given medical leave, you worked weekends at Starbucks.

If this were the case and you were given medical leave, you’d still have your job.

I’m assuming that while you’re on medical leave you are able to get medical insurance at the same cost as the deduction to your paycheck would be. For example if they took out $25.00 a paycheck for medical you’d be able to pay it now that your on leave. Is this so?

I reckon this is the jist of your problem. If you weren’t on leave for medical reasons, you’d be forced to get COBRA options.

Of course if you apply for unemployment, your past employer is immediately notified and will know you are working. Under the FMLA if you qualify you are entitled to take that time off, so they couldn’t lay you off till the time is expried.

Everyone I knew who has been on FMLA has been let go the day after the 12 weeks of FMLA is up.

Your problem lies with two factors and how you answer the question will depend on your eligibility. Were you FORCED to take leave? If you volunteer to leave a job or quit on your own, you generally aren’t able to get unemployment. (There are exceptions to this, like quitting with just cause).

If your employer said “You aren’t able to do your job due to medical reasons and we can’t find another job for you in the company,” you’re being sacked. Then you are eligible for unemployment, regardless of your health status as long as you’re willing to work

If your company said, “Look you can’t do this job, but we can give you 12 weeks of FMLA and that way you’ll get cheap insurance, till something else comes up,” you cannot collect.

The only way to know is go and apply to unemployment and tell them you were laid off and see what the company says.

I’ve worked in H/R in Illinois and basically I see the details like this

You apply
Your company gets notified and disputes it
You go to the unemployment office and say “I had no choice,” I was let go

Then it goes to an arbitrator or judge will decide.

In Illinois arbitrators are all different. I have had two different arbitrators decided differenlty for the same thing. I had some employees late constantly for work and were fired. One arbitrator denied the claim for the fired employees. The other said “No, they TRIED to show up for work, it wasn’t there fault”

So you never really know how it’ll work out.

So you need to figure out which is better. Cheap insurance or Cobra and unemployment