People who leave their jobs by choice are generally disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. But there are several exceptions that would allow a worker to resign and still get benefits. For example:
This article explains the steps workers can take to get unemployment benefits when a medical condition makes it necessary to leave their job.
To Get Unemployment Benefits, a Worker Must Be Both “Eligible” and “Non-disqualified”
How do I know if I’m eligible?
To be eligible, you must:
You must also be:
I'm eligible. What is the next step?
If you are found to be eligible, the New Jersey Department of Labor will review the reasons you left your job. Then they will determine whether you should be disqualified. The disqualification could be for as little as four weeks or could be a complete disqualification. Complete disqualifications remain in effect until you find a new job and meet the eligibility requirements in your new job.
In their evaluation of the circumstances, the Department will place you into one of three categories:
Preparing to Leave Work With “Medical Good Cause”
Communicate with your employer
If you have a health condition that was caused or aggravated by the work and you are having a hard time performing your job, let your employer know. If special accommodations, such as changing your shift or restricting lifting or standing, would enable you to keep working, ask your employer for those accommodations. You should provide your employer with a doctor’s note explaining that you need a certain accommodation due to your disability. You don’t have to give extensive medical records to your employer, but you should be prepared to offer a brief doctor’s note explaining the need for an accommodation. The employer does not have to grant your request for a “reasonable accommodation” (a term from the federal Americans with Disabilities Act) if doing so will be a significant burden. But your employer must at least discuss with you the possibility of one or more reasonable accommodations. More information on disability-specific job accommodations can be found on the Job Accommodation Network website.
If you are not given an accommodation, ask your employer if there are any other positions available that you could do, given the limits of your disability. In some cases, it may seem obvious that there is no other suitable work available, but it’s a good idea to make the request anyway. If you leave work due to a medical condition and want to receive unemployment benefits, you will need to prove that there was no other work you could have performed there.
Communicate with your doctor
You are in the best position to know whether or not you are able to work. However, for the purposes of unemployment or Temporary Disability Insurance, only a medical professional can certify that you are unable to work. For this reason, it is important to communicate with your doctor and to discuss with him or her your ability to work. If you and your doctor determine that you are no longer able to work because of a disability caused or aggravated by the job, ask your doctor to write a note explaining how your job caused or aggravated your medical condition. In the note, your doctor should also recommend that you leave the job.
What if I can't get a letter from my doctor?
A medical professional’s note explaining that you need to leave work for medical reasons is best. If you can't get a note, gather as much medical documentation as possible to support your case. The documentation should show a connection between your medical condition and your work. For example, if you suffer from a chronic back condition that is aggravated by heavy lifting on the job, you should get medical documentation that shows your condition is worsened when you lift heavy objects or put significant pressure on your back. Medical documentation dated shortly before your resignation is ideal.
If you are not able to get a doctor’s note before you resign, try to get a note as soon after your resignation as possible. Even if you see your doctor after you leave work, the doctor may still be able to write a note based on previous documentation and his/her assessment stating that you had to leave work due to a medical condition. Finally, be aware that all unemployment determinations are fact-specific. Even if you are not able to get the ideal medical documentation, you might still qualify for benefits if the facts support your case. These tips simply aim to make the process easier.
This information last reviewed: Dec 11, 2015