Unemployment Compensation for Spouses who Quit Work Because of Military Spouse Transfers

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What is Unemployment Compensation?

Each State runs an Unemployment Compensation (UC) program for people who have lost their jobs. Eligible unemployed workers get weekly checks and can qualify for other work-related benefits.

Can I claim benefits if my spouse or partner was transferred?

Maybe. The answer depends on the law in the State where you are re-locating. In general, you cannot get UC benefits if you “voluntarily quit” work. But there are “good cause” exceptions to this rule. Some States allow “good cause” for quitting a job if you did so in order to “follow your spouse” to his or her new job.

Some States limit that right to military transfers. Other States allow “good cause” for any kind of job transfer.

In general, you must be married to the person who has been transferred. But some States include people who are about to be married. A few States include “domestic partners.”

How can I find out the rules of the State I am moving to?

The law of the State where you move as a result of the transfer will apply.

Based on current information (April 2010), you may be eligible for UC benefits in the following States:

• Arkansas (any job transfer including military)
• California (any job transfer, including military)
• Colorado (any job transfer, including military)
• Connecticut (military transfer only)
• Delaware (any job transfer, including military)
• Florida (military transfer only)
• Georgia (military transfer only)
• Illinois (any job transfer, including military)
• Indiana (any job transfer, including military)
• Kansas (any job transfer, including military)
• Kentucky (military transfer only)
• Maine (any job transfer, including military);
• Maryland (military transfer only)
• Massachusetts (any job transfer, including military)
• Michigan (military transfer only)
• Minnesota (any job transfer, including military)
• Montana (military transfer only)
• Nebraska (any job transfer, including military)
• Nevada (military transfer only)
• New Hampshire (any job transfer, including military)
• New Jersey (military transfer only)
• New Mexico (military transfer only)
• New York (any job transfer, including military)
• North Carolina (any job transfer, including military)
• Oklahoma (any job transfer, including military)
• Rhode Island (any job transfer, including military)
• South Carolina (military transfer only)
• Texas (military transfer only)
• Virginia (military transfer only)
• Virgin Islands (any job transfer, including military)
• Washington (any job transfer, including military)
• Wisconsin (any job transfer, including military)
• Wyoming (military transfer only)

States change their UC laws from year to year. Go here to see an updated listing of the relevant State laws. Also, we encourage you to check with the State agency where you have moved, to make sure that you have the correct, most up-to-date information.

Where and how do I apply?

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. Go here to 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.

What if I am denied benefits?

You can file an appeal. Your denial notice should tell you how to appeal and the deadline. If your family has a low income, you may be able to get free legal help with your appeal from a local legal aid office.  Go here to find a low-income legal aid office near you.