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Benefits for unemployed pregnant women

Updated November 21, 2016

Being pregnant does not automatically bar a woman from collecting unemployment compensation. As long as the expecting mother meets the general eligibility requirements for unemployment she can collect unemployment during her pregnancy. Some women may also be eligible for unemployment compensation after the birth of their child as long as they are not on maternity leave.

Unemployment Benefits

If a pregnant employee is let go by her employer, she is eligible to collect unemployment. She may also have a legal case against the employer since the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expressly forbids an employer for discharging a female employee for being pregnant or taking maternity leave. Under FMLA, women are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

Women who quit their jobs, however, are ineligible for unemployment benefits even if they are pregnant. Additionally, women who become pregnant while unemployed who were not previously eligible for unemployment benefits still remain ineligible. Female employees who were terminated by their employer for misconduct are also ineligible for unemployment benefits even if they are also pregnant.

Also, remember that eligibility for unemployment compensation can vary from state to state. Check with your local unemployment office to see if there are any additional requirements for collecting unemployment while pregnant in your state.

Medicaid

Unemployed expecting mothers are generally eligible for medical assistance during their pregnancy whether they voluntarily left their job or were let go. Medicaid, which is a government-sponsored health care program, covers most pregnancy-related expenses such as routine checkups and costs for pregnancy-related prescription drugs. Medicaid may also cover postpartum care. To be eligible, the mother must qualify as low-income or medically needy and provide proof of pregnancy.

Short-Term Disability Benefits

Some states, such as New York and California, provide short-term disability benefits to pregnant mothers. Short-term disability for pregnancy can also be purchased through insurance companies.

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About the Author

Lindsay Nixon has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Vegetarian Times," "Women's Health Magazine" and online for The Huffington Post. She is also a published author, lawyer and certified personal trainer. Nixon has two Bachelors of Arts in classics and communications from the College of Charleston and a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law.