When dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it can be difficult to work. You may find that you need to take time off, for a short period of time, for a longer period of time, or stop working entirely. You may also find yourself experiencing a loss of employment unrelated to cancer, such as when an employer goes out of business. This Quick Guide has some key things to think about as you leave work.
If you are unable to work for a longer period of time, your employer may not be required to hold your job for you. You may have intentions to find a new job at some point in the future, or you may not be able to work again. You may decide that you want to retire. Depending on your situation, you may have access to the following options to maintain income and health insurance coverage.
Individuals in this situation often have questions about how to replace lost income. There are three common options: disability insurance, retirement, or unemployment benefits.
For more information about these options, and how to make choices, watch our Animated Video on Losing Health Insurance at Work and read the Quick Guide to Losing Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance.
There should be someone at your job to help answer these questions as you prepare to leave your job. Some employers have an internal human resources (HR) department or staff person, some hire an external company to handle their HR needs. Some smaller employers don’t have any HR staff. If you aren’t sure who to ask, start with the person who handles timesheets or other employment paperwork. There are usually deadlines to make these decisions, so don’t delay getting the information you need to make them!
If you feel that you have been let go because of your medical condition, you may consider filing a complaint. Depending on the type and size of the employer, the agency you will file the complaint with varies. You may be able to file a disability discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or a state fair employment agency. If you are a member of a union, you may have additional options through your collective bargaining agreement.
Last reviewed for updates: 01/2022
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