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I am resigning from work due to illness. Will I be eligible for unemployment in Florida?

Delray Beach, FL |
Attorney answers 3


No, you will not be eligible. It is a good reason to quit, but it is not attributable to the employer, which is the second requirement to be eligible for unemployment when you quit. There is no need for you to be specific about your illness. In fact, you can simply advise the employer that you are resigning for personal reasons. Unless you have some sort of disability insurance, in which case you need to check with HR. You also need to check with Social Security disability if it is going to be a long term disability. Depending on how long you will be out, you may want to talk to your employer about the possibility of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act so your job could be available when you return. Make sure before you quit that you are not walking away from any benefits that may be available to you.

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While you may not be eligible for unemployment you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. If you are considering it and your illness is debilitating enough to disable you then defining it in your resignation letter can be a benefit. It can be used in your application process. Find a Social Security Attorney in your area to handle the case from start to finish. Your odds of success will likely be improved.


Unlike my colleagues, I am not so sure that you will be ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits. The appellate court case of McEnery v. Unemployment Appeals Com'n, 835 So.2d 290 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) held:

Under Florida unemployment compensation law, if the employer meets the burden of showing an employee's voluntary departure, the employee must prove that he left for good cause in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. Lewis v. Lakeland Health Care Ctr., Inc., 685 So.2d 876, 878 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996). Good cause “includes only such cause as is attributable to the employing unit or which consists of illness or disability of the individual requiring separation from his or her work.” § 443.101(1)(a)(1), Fla. Stat. (2000). “[T]he law permits an illness ... to be a good cause for voluntarily leaving a job.” Lewis, 685 So.2d at 879

some other Florida appellate court cases have held similarly. For instance:

Claimant who left job after four weeks because he found himself physically unable to perform job did not terminate employment voluntarily and without good cause attributable to employer and, thus, was eligible for unemployment compensation. Krulla v. Barnett Bank, App. 4 Dist., 629 So.2d 1005 (1993).

Preexisting nature of employee's physical problem that was not caused by employer was irrelevant to whether employee had good cause to resign because of physical inability to perform the work and, therefore, did not bar award of unemployment compensation. Vajda v. Florida Unemployment Appeals Com'n, App. 3 Dist., 610 So.2d 645 (1992).

Others may have reasons why they arrived at a different conclusion but it seems to me that pursuant to section 443.101, Florida Statutes and the appellate court decisions interpreting it , resigning due to illness may entitle you to unemployment compensation benefits.

Disclaimer: the above does not constitute legal advice and is only an opinion of the author as to current law. You should consult an attorney with questions about your particular situation.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft


The first step would be to apply letting them know. The application process is entirely online now and is not user friendly but based on Mr. Palso's very thorough answer, if you are denied, I would pursue it, and would suggest that you get legal assistance. Legal Aid and Legal Services often assist with unemployment claims, and should also be familiar with any recent changes in the law. I know that there have been some, but I am not familiar with all of them.

Dennis Alan Palso

Dennis Alan Palso


Ms Morcroft makes an excellent point about seeing if you can get some legal help through local legal aid organizations. You should of course also try to contact private attorneys but I find that it is frequently difficult to find one who will accept an unemployment compensation case.

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