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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    3

    Post Unemployment Insurance for Medical Reasons

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: PA

    Greetings,

    A bit of back ground: I've been at my current employer for that past 11 years doing IT support. About 3-4 years ago I developed massive RSI problems in my wrist, arm, shoulders and now my leg. When it first occurred, I had to take medical leave of about a week or so just so I could use a mouse again and sit at a computer comfortably. Everything I've tried, if it helps at all, is only temporary. Only thing I haven't yet tried is physical therapy which I've just started the other day. Even sitting in a car for periods of time is uncomfortable now because of this.

    My employer has been fairly understanding, for the most part, with regards to allowing me to reduce hours, leave early and adjust my work environment as I see fit. I've asked to be allowed to do other tasks that don't require my sitting in front of the puter all day but there really isn't much else to do and the one position that did open up was filled by another employee without even really discussing it with me, as I requested. On the bad days, I've asked to be allowed to work from home (since there is nothing I can't do remotely) and was denied but there are other employees that are able to work from home; so it isn't an unprecedented or unreasonable request. There are days when working from home isn't enough and I just can't sit at computer; on those days I just call off though I try not to do that much.

    If physical therapy doesn't help, I'm gonna have to quite and that would be a rather stupid thing to do (I make good money and have excellent scheduling) on my part but I'm out of options. Relief from the pain and discomfort is becoming a higher priority than money.

    So, my issue is such: if I have to quite, I"ll never be able to hold a "desk job" in my industry again, at least not for some months of healing and recovery. Which will make finding a job all the more difficult. If it comes to this I plan on applying for UI based on medical reasons. It's not that I won't be able to do other work, like more manual labor or something, I just can't sit at a desk with my hands on a mouse and keyboard for long periods of time, some days not all and if I quite I'm gonna need time to really heal as much as I can.

    In your opinion, do you think it likely that the state will consider this good enough and allow UI? I suppose that depends on the people reviewing the case.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Unemployment Insurance for Medical Reasons

    How do you work on the computer at home, and why can't you create a similar environment at work?

    If you are disabled from working you do not get unemployment - you must be able to work to qualify for unemployment. Or is it your idea that you're fully able to work in other types of job, such that you would be actively seeking work but not in a desk job?

    If you are claiming this to be a work-related condition you can try to qualify for worker's compensation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Unemployment Insurance for Medical Reasons

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    How do you work on the computer at home, and why can't you create a similar environment at work?

    If you are disabled from working you do not get unemployment - you must be able to work to qualify for unemployment. Or is it your idea that you're fully able to work in other types of job, such that you would be actively seeking work but not in a desk job?

    If you are claiming this to be a work-related condition you can try to qualify for worker's compensation.
    The environment is irrelevant, unfortunately. My home set-up only allows me some modicum of comfort compared to work. Eventually, even at home, I have to walk away for the day. When this first happened, my right arm, particularly the wrist, was incapacitated for a solid 3 days and it was another week before I was able to touch a mouse or return to work.

    Yes, I am perfectly capable of seeking work else where; just not at a desk job. I hope the damage I have done and continue to do isn't permanent. From what I understand, workers comp is compensation for illness or injury incurred on the job; with the goal of returning to said industry once healing is done. I have no intention of returning to IT support/desk job industry but I do intent on seeking employment else where. I'm in good health and stay active so I'm perfectly capable of performing other tasks, even manual labor or some such thing. My point is that I'm quitting a well paying job with excellent hours and work environment (co-workers are excellent) all because I simply can't do it any more because of the physical conditions that have arisen from too much time in front of a desk/computer. If the pain and discomfort were not present, I wouldn't even consider quitting. As I said, earlier, if physical therapy doesn't help correct the issue, quitting the industry is my last option. At which I will request unemployment based on medical reasons and proceed to healing and looking for another job.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Unemployment Insurance for Medical Reasons

    Have you asked for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA? Such as the set-up you have at home?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Unemployment Insurance for Medical Reasons

    Quote Quoting PattyPA
    View Post
    Have you asked for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA? Such as the set-up you have at home?
    The employer has been reasonable in trying to accommodate me by allowing me to do whatever I feel is required to be comfortable; even to the degree of sitting on an exercise ball as a chair and doing 5 min yoga stretching in the office. I asked for a adjustable keyboard try and they bought it without reservation. I'm sure if I were to ask for a new desk or chair they would eventually comply, though I have tried various desks and chairs available. Whatever I have tried has only been temporary at best. The doctor I saw a couple of years ago told me it sounds like tendinitis that can be categorized under RSI. He said there isn't much to be done about it and the only real way is to stop doing the tasks that cause the pain or lessen them to a comfortable level. Like I said, that has worked to a degree but since RSI is an accumulate problem, the longer I try to "deal" with it the more harm I'm doing. It's one thing to at the computer for a total of 2-3 hours per day spaced out through out the day, it's quite another sitting there for 7-8 hours with my hands on the keyboard and mouse almost the whole time.

    Every position in that company is a desk job to one degree or another. Several months ago, a position opened that would have given me some time away from the desk and I did ask, repeatedly, to be considered. I was denied that position and it wasn't even discussed with me. That decision is up to the employer and I'm fine with that. Truth be told the position itself only pulls one away from the standard desk duties a couple of times per week for how ever long it takes to complete the tasks.

    So I'm left wondering, if I decided to quite and file UC for medical reasons, what documentation will the state reviewers need to consider the case?

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