Q) I am on medical leave for a back injury…short term disability has denied my claim….am I eligible for weekly unemployment benefits?
A) You will not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you take medical leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act and you cannot work. In order to qualify for unemployment benefits one of the requirements is you must be able and available to work and you must be actively seeking employment. So while on medical leave you would generally not qualify if you are unable to work.
You also must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Medical leave does not classify you as being unemployed. You are still employed – you were just given some time off from work to recover from your illness. If however, you have certain restrictions because of your illness and your employer had forced you to take medical leave despite your ability and willingness to work, then you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. You will have to prove that despite your medical restriction you were fully capable of doing your job.