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Office of Work-Life Programs : Spouse Employment Program - Unemployment Compensation

Forty-six states have passed laws that may qualify you for unemployment insurance (UI) when you resign from your position to move with your service member.

Each state determines the amount of compensation you can receive, length of time, and criteria for eligibility. UI is often substantially less than your previous earnings and isn’t a replacement for earned income, but it could provide some assistance while you are searching for a new job.

If you submit for unemployment while moving for a PCS make sure you submit a copy of your spouse’s orders with you unemployment paperwork even if you are not asked to do so initially. List your spouse’s military relocation as the reason why you quit your job on all forms. When you quit your job be sure to notify your employer in writing that you are quitting due to your spouse’s military relocation and keep a copy of this letter.

Most states allow you to resign or quit 30 days before the report date listed on your spouse’s orders, so be careful about quitting too early if you plan to file for unemployment.

Apply for benefits in the state where you have relocated. Each state has its own process. In many states you may file your claim by telephone or online. Or find your State Workforce Agency. Apply as soon as you can after you have moved.

The law of the state where you apply will determine the results. That is, whether you qualify, your benefit amounts, the number of weeks you can get benefits, how to file weekly claims, and so forth. The amount of your benefits will be based on your prior earnings record -- typically, how much you earned in your last job.