The issue is whether disability renders someone one “unavailable” for work for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits, which would thereby render him or her ineligible. One’s disability does not necessarily preclude benefits, so the inquiry must be to what extent does the disability limit a claimant’s ability for work. If it essentially removes them from the labor market, then benefits may be denied.
A claimant may find suitable work but nevertheless refuse it only if good cause exists. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, consideration shall be given to the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and morals, his physical fitness and prior training his experience and prior earnings, his length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his customary occupation and the distance of available work from his residence. Rosenbaum v. Johnson, 60 Ill. App. 3d 657 (1st Dist. 1978).
The closest case addressing this issue was Rosenbaum v. Johnson. There, claimant voluntarily left her job after becoming medically ill. During her unemployment, she had refused offers of full time employment, citing medical restrictions on her ability to work full-time. When she filed for benefits, she indicated she suffered from a heart condition that permitted her to work no more than 3 days per week.
Although the court focused its analysis on whether the language of Section 500(C) and 420(c) require that a claimant make themselves available for full-time work, the basis for claimant’s appeal nevertheless concerned the reasoning behind claimant’s refusal to accept full-time work – namely, the medical restrictions placed on her as a result of her medical condition. The Rosenbaum court looked to the language of the statute and Illinois Supreme Court precedent and noted that although the “availability” requirement is satisfied when a worker is ready and willing to accept suitable employment,...