My mother is 69, an LPN, was hospitalized with Stage 4 cancer. Will she qualify for any unemployment?

Q) My mother is 69, an LPN, working as an in-home care nurse. Was hospitalized for four months and now terminal with Stage 4 cancer. She was not fired by her employ and the employer has been really nice. Their policy is that after 6 months her employment status will change to “inactive.” Will that disqualify her from applying or receiving any type of assistance? Will she qualify for any unemployment?

A) I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s diagnosis. It sounds like she is going through a very difficult time.

The answer to your question depends on the specific unemployment benefits program in your state. In general, however, unemployment benefits are designed to help people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. If your mother was not fired from her job and her employment status is changed to inactive due to her terminal illness, she may still be eligible for unemployment benefits.

The best way to find out if your mother is eligible for unemployment benefits is to contact your state’s unemployment office. They will be able to assess her eligibility based on the specific facts of her case.

In addition to unemployment benefits, there are a number of other programs that may be able to help your mother. For example, she may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). She may also be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

I recommend that you contact your state’s Department of Human Services to learn more about the programs that may be available to your mother. They can help you assess her eligibility and apply for benefits.

Your mother likely will not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits as she would need to be willing and able to find work. She will not qualify for Short Term Disability as most plan benefits are paid for the duration of the disability up to the age of 65. Your mom may look at applying for Social Security Retirement benefits if she has not yet done so. According to the Social Security administration – the earliest a person can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits will remain age 62.

If you start receiving retirement benefits at:

age 62, you will get 75 percent of the monthly benefit because you will be getting benefits for an additional 48 months.
age 65, you will get 93.3 percent of the monthly benefit because you will be getting benefits for an additional 12 months.

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