Alert
Close

AARP hosts National Caregiving Forum on Wednesday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m. ET. Watch here

Highlights

Open

 

Contests and
Sweeps

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

PROGRAMS & resources

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Check out the winners list and latest news about this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Your Own Business

Information for business owners, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Outrage

No Benefits for Sick Job Seekers

After battling leukemia, man is denied unemployment benefits

En español | Don Bright lost his job of 23 years as a maintenance engineer for an international shipping company in Richmond, Va., when his division moved to North Carolina in 2009. The 69-year-old Midlothian, Va., man collected unemployment for six months while he looked for a job.

See also: Collecting unemployment and Social Security benefits. 

A Virginia man had his unemployment benefits suspended while he fought leukemia and couldn't look for work

Fighting leukemia, Don Bright needed a year off from a job search ... making him ineligible for unemployment benefits. — Photo by Jared Soares

Then Bright's life derailed. He was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a year off from his job search for chemotherapy and recovery. He informed the state he couldn't look for work while undergoing treatment.

A year later, with a clean bill of health, Bright applied for unemployment benefits to resume and was turned down. He had no grounds to appeal.

He fell through the cracks because he couldn't meet the requirements for an unemployment check: minimum earnings of $2,700 in recent employment history, weekly job hunting and immediate availability for work.

"I'm still seeking employment," says Bright, who would have been eligible for a total of 86 weeks of unemployment if there had been no break in his job search. "I am healthy and want to work a few more years."

Joyce Fogg, spokeswoman for the Virginia Employment Commission, confirms that unemployment beneficiaries must look for work weekly, report their efforts and be available to work at all times. "There are no exceptions," she says.

Bright wants his case to be a warning to others. "Something is not right" with a system that denies people benefits when they get sick, he says.

Also of interest: 50 jobs for a second career. >>

Judi Hasson is a writer in McLean, Va.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits AT&T Wireless Cell Phone

Members save 10% on monthly usage charges on qualified AT&T wireless plans.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services and 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.