Can I Claim Benefits if I Leave my Job Due to Stress? (A guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question “can I claim benefits if I leave my job due to stress?” and some other things you may want to be aware of as a member of the workforce. We will also look at how one can deal with stress and if one can claim unemployment if they leave a job due to COVID.

Can I Claim Benefits if I Leave my Job Due to Stress?

Yes, you may be able to claim benefits if you leave your job due to stress, as there are provisions in the United States Labor Laws that allow for such a possibility if someone is able to provide adequate proof of what their health is like.

When someone wants to claim benefits because they have left a job due to stress they may be able to do so by providing adequate information about their condition, and in most states, they may be required to tell the employer and the relevant authorities about what they are suffering from, and why their job is the only respite they have.

In some places, like Texas, the employee might also need “Good cause”, which is a legal term and requires the person to show that they have substantial grounds to quit their job, and this may include many reasons like if they are not getting paid, there are unsafe working conditions, or they may be dealing with a significant medical condition, in which stress may make the cut if it is bad enough.

If someone has stress from work or feels that they have stress from work they may need to provide some evidence of that too, or they may be required to tell the employer how quitting their job will help them.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

What is a “Good Cause” to quit a job and get unemployment benefits?

Good cause does not mean a good reason, instead, it involves specific circumstances that may make the individuals eligible to receive benefits and in some places, it may include stress that is extreme enough to warrant leaving the job or that is causing the person to have trouble with maintaining their physical health. 

Good Cause may also differ from place to place, for instance, this legal website based in Illinois mentions these possible reasons as being under “Good Cause”:

  • “Employer broke state or federal law,
  • Working conditions or terms changed,
  • Coworkers or supervisors were abusive,
  • The employer refuses to pay you wages for work you have done,
  • Hours, benefits, or pay rate was cut, or
  • Boss changed your work shift, causing child care or transportation issues.”

According to the same website in order for a reason to be a “good cause”, it must include what is known as a “Constructive discharge”, which means that they should be doing what anyone else in their position would also have to do.

Do I need a Lawyer to quit my job due to stress and claim benefits?

If you feel that your claim might be contested in some way or maybe problematic, it might not hurt to contact a lawyer before you hand in your resignation letter.

One might need to talk to their physician first about their stress, naturally, and once they have decided that leaving is their only option they may want to talk to their employer, just to make them aware of the situation they are facing with their stress.

In some situations, the individual may have trouble with the employer and they may be adding to the pressure or stress in some way, in this case, the person may go directly to the physician and the lawyer and consult them on what they can do and how they may go about it.

If you need to consult a lawyer to quit your job and claim benefits, you may need certain documents and information, which may involve the following:

  • Your medical records and doctor’s notations with information about the problem.
  • Your personnel or HR file from work, which should usually be freely available to people.
  • Communications with the employer in the form of emails and texts
  • Your employer’s policies and procedures or any problems you may have faced.

The lawyer will be able to review these documents and reach a proper conclusion and they may be able to advise you much better on what you might do to get unemployment benefits after you quit your job due to stress.

Should I quit my job due to stress?

Before you wonder about whether you will be able to claim benefits you might want to consider if you should even quit your job due to stress, and if you really want to do so, it may be better to first talk to a physician or psychiatrist and assess your situation.

If you are feeling stressed you may experience a number of physical or psychological symptoms, which according to the MayoClinic maybe something like the following:

  • “Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Restlessness
  • Anger outbursts
  • Chest pain
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Tobacco use
  • Change in sex drive
  • Irritability or anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Stomach upset
  • Sadness or depression
  • Exercising less often
  • Sleep problems”

These symptoms may be visible in anyone that is experiencing a great deal of stress at work.

Another problem that you may be facing that may want to quit your job due to stress is Burnout, which can be incredibly problematic and may render someone very incapacitated in some cases.

Symptoms of Burnout may be assessed through these questions:

  • “Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?”

If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of these questions it may be time to either take a long holiday or quit your job because burnout can lead to further mental health complications that may make it harder to cope with it or come back from it.

Another thing you may be able to do is to try to take a sabbatical due to stress, as they can help tremendously. 

If you can do the necessary financial planning to take a long leave in the form of a sabbatical to recuperate from stress, you may be able to come out on top of the stress and find yourself energized enough to go back to work.

It is important to talk to your employer about your options before you straight away decide to quit your job because of stress, as many employers may be able to provide alternatives that are not quite so permanent and disruptive.

Can I Collect Unemployment if I Quit my Job Due to COVID?

Yes, you can collect unemployment if you quit your job due to COVID, although you may want to go through the specific Department of Labor guidelines regarding this issue.

COVID pandemic has disrupted work balance by a lot, and many people have either found themselves out of a job due to the economy suffering or because they have directly been affected by COVID in some way.

The US Department of Labor has issued specific guidelines about whether someone might be able to collect unemployment if they quit their job due to COVID:

“Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:

  • Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.
  • Meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.” (In most states, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed.)
  • Meet any additional state requirements. Find details of your own state’s program.”

There are also specific processes involved in applying for unemployment benefits under the COVID specific CARES act, which are given as follows:

“States must have a process for determining that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applicants are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, which may not include filing a regular claim as a first step. States are not required to take and adjudicate a full claim for regular unemployment insurance benefits to meet this requirement.  While states are not prohibited from taking a full claim, to facilitate expedited claims processing the U.S. Department of Labor has discouraged states from doing so. Individuals should apply using the state’s PUA application process and, in states that have not yet established that process, must wait until it is established.”

If you want to know whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits during the COVID crisis or if you want to know where in your state you may be able to apply for unemployment benefits, here is the website you can refer to.


In this brief guide, we looked at the question “can I claim benefits if I leave my job due to stress?” and some other things you may want to be aware of as a member of the workforce. We also looked at how one can deal with stress and if one can claim unemployment if they leave a job due to COVID. 

Leaving a job is a massive stressor on its own, and the financial difficulties that company such a decision for most people in the current economy can put great stress on anyone, so if you have any questions or comments related to this subject, please feel free to reach out to us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can I Claim Benefits if I Leave my Job Due to Stress?

Can I leave my job due to stress?

Yes, you can leave your job because of stress, though you might be required to submit a doctor’s note along with your resignation letter as proof that you are suffering from a problem.

If you feel like quitting your job due to stress may be a bit extreme, you can also try to talk to your employer about just taking a simple break from work if stress is impacting you from outside your job.

Can I claim benefits if I leave my job?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you leave your job until you find work again, but it will depend on why you quit and what the circumstances of your quitting were.

There is also a chance that you may be penalized by the loss of benefits for around three months if you left your last job voluntarily, but if you can show that you left for a “Good Cause”, you may receive what is known as a Sanction, and be exempted from this penalty.

Can I claim Universal Credit if I leave my job?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if you leave your job, but you don’t have to be out of work to claim universal credit. 

Most people may also claim universal credit while they are working and you may try to do so even after you leave your job, though the amounts may decrease somewhat.

What is a good cause for quitting your job?

“Good cause” for quitting a job may include problems with child care, a serious illness that you or a close family member may be suffering from, employer’s bad or illegal behavior, significant problems at home, or leaving the city or state.


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