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Military Spouse: What You Need to Know About Unemployment Compensation


Frequent transfer of location can create quite a stressful situation for military spouses and their families, especially when it comes to financial matters. But many states guarantee financial support and benefits for spouses who must leave their jobs due to a PCS.

On the other hand, there are states that consider you as a voluntarily unemployed applicant and therefore, you must abide with the corresponding rules set for traditional unemployment applicants. In addition, if it happens that your position with your current employer is transferrable and there is a vacancy near your new place of residence, you may be required by some states to just accept the transfer rather than apply for unemployment.

Many states offer unemployment benefits to military spouses who decided to leave their job as a result of a PCS. But here are some important bits of information that you need to know to make sure you can take advantage of the unemployment benefits being offered.

  • Based on Unemployment Compensation (Insurance) and Military Service and the Military Service Report, there are 37 states that offer UC or unemployment compensation to military servicemen’s spouses who quit a job due to their husbands transfer. The first thing you need to find out is if you are residing in a state that offers benefits to military spouses. Do some research or seek out advice about specific laws regarding filing, personal requirements and the application process to make sure you qualify.
  • Once you have learned about your state’s process, start complying with all the necessary requirements you need to file, such as including a copy of your husband’s reason of transfer with your unemployment application. The transfer must be involuntary and the order must come from your husband’s chain of command. A copy of your husband’s PCS order is enough proof of an involuntary transfer.
  • Most military spouses file an interstate claim which is a claim for unemployment benefits in the state where they temporary reside as a result of the husband’s new duty station. In an interstate claim, eligibility is based on the requirements of the state where the spouse had worked rather than the state where the claim is made.

Military spouses must be aware of their state's specific unemployment laws. Unless it is specifically excluded in the unemployment law, you are eligible for benefits and you should fight for them. After all, military servicemen can be more effective at their jobs knowing their families are financially secure.

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