Forty States Provide Military Spouses Eligibility for Unemployment Compensation

Mar 09 2012

Published by at 4:04 pm under Career,Legislation,Tips & Advice

shutterstock_40103446**Current as of  06/18/2015.  Additional states (in bold)  now provide military spouses eligibility for unemployment compensation.  Stay with us as we track this important issue. Sign up for our E-News letter today.

PCS season will soon be here.

According to the DoD ,”-working [military] spouses lose approximately 6-9 months of salary per relocation.”

Generally, unemployment benefits are not available when an employee leaves a job voluntarily. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “recognizing that spouses of military service personnel who quit their jobs due to a military transfer may not be quitting so “voluntarily,” state legislators have amended unemployment compensation laws to help military families who are relocating between states.”

Forty-six States and the District of Columbia provide military spouses eligibility for unemployment compensation.

Will you leave a job to accompany your spouse as part of a PCS move?  See where your state stands on this important issue.

  • Alabama   YES  ( 5/26/2012; the law takes effect 08/01/2012)
  • Alaska   YES
  • Arizona   YES
  • Arkansas   YES
  • California   YES
  • Colorado   YES
  • Connecticut   YES
  • DC   YES
  • Delaware   YES
  • Florida   YES
  • Georgia   YES
  • Hawaii   YES
  • Idaho   NO
  • Illinois   YES
  • Indiana   YES
  • Iowa   YES
  • Kansas   YES
  • Kentucky   YES
  • Louisiana   NO
  • Maine   YES
  • Maryland   YES
  • Massachusetts   YES
  • Michigan   YES
  • Minnesota   YES
  • Mississippi   YES
  • Missouri   YES
  • Montana   YES
  • Nebraska   YES
  • Nevada   YES
  • New Hampshire   YES
  • New Jersey   YES
  • New Mexico   YES
  • New York   YES
  • North Carolina   YES
  • North Dakota   NO
  • Ohio   NO
  • Oklahoma   YES
  • Oregon   YES
  • Pennsylvania   YES
  • Rhode Island   YES
  • South Carolina   YES
  • South Dakota   YES
  • Tennessee   YES (signed 04/04/2012)
  • Texas   YES
  • Utah   YES (03/15/2012)
  • Vermont   YES
  • Virginia   YES (Signed 3/31/2014; Effective 07/01/2014)
  • Washington   YES
  • West Virginia   YES (04/02/2012; effective 06/07/2012)
  • Wisconsin   YES

Click here  information on individual state statutes and provisions. Select key search term, “Spousal Employment Issues”.

****NEW*****Click here to view the National Conference of State Legislatures Military and Veterans Affairs Legislation Tracking Database. The database includes introduced, pending, enacted and failed legislation from 2010 through 2014 on topics such as Spousal Employment issues, base realignment and closure (BRAC), education, employment benefits and licensing, health, insurance and death benefits, mental health, mission sustainability, readiness, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefits, and taxation.

 For additional information contact your state department of labor.

Karen serves as Deputy Director, Government Relations (Military Family Issues).


169 responses so far

169 Responses to “Forty States Provide Military Spouses Eligibility for Unemployment Compensation”

  1. Heatheron 22 May 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Do you apply for this in your home state of residence, or the state you are pcsing to?

  2. Karenon 22 May 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Great Question. Apply for unemployment compensation in the state where you were employed, not the state you are moving to. Every state has different requirements that must be met in order to receive unemployment compensation. Check with your state for the specific requirements.

  3. Steffanon 23 May 2012 at 1:20 am

    Is this retroactive or not? I move to california and my wife had to leave her job. Did not get a job for 7 months?

  4. Karenon 23 May 2012 at 5:20 am


    You ask a good question. If your wife has since found employment in your new state and is working, it is unlikely she receive compensation for lost wages.

  5. Melissaon 23 May 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Hmph, I applied for Illinois when we PCS’d to Texas and I was denied because I “voluntarily left viable employment”or something to that effect.

  6. Matton 23 May 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I was station on the Island of Guam and my wife had to leave her job do to my PCS to Louisiana. Guam does not have unemployment, so how does she get compensated if she can’t find a job here in Louisiana?

  7. Karenon 23 May 2012 at 11:04 pm


    Every state has their own requirements regarding unemployment compensation. Check here: to see Illinois’s specific requirements. Good luck!

  8. Paulon 23 May 2012 at 11:50 pm

    It’s hard to believe that the state with the largest military population (Virginia) does not offer this. My wife had to leave her job when I got orders to Japan and we had no way to recoup those losses. The only job she was able to get in Japan was working at the Exchange. Since our return in to the States, they only work she has been able to find in WA has been temp jobs. Maybe she will be able to collect unemployment from WA when we PCS back to VA this fall.

  9. Karenon 24 May 2012 at 8:20 am

    Paul-You are correct about VA. The Department of Defense State Liasion Office is working this issue on the state level. MOAA Chapters have also been successful advocates on state level issues.Military families can make a difference on this issue. If you live in a state that does not provide military spouses eligibilty for unemployment compensation, contact your state officals. Tell them your story. Encourage fellow military families to do the same. As a community, we have a powerful voice!

  10. Karenon 24 May 2012 at 8:29 am

    The territory of Guam does not provide unemployment compensation. Therefore I would encourage you to contact the State of Louisiana regarding your unique situation.
    Here is a link to FAQ’s from the Louisiana Workforce Commission: Phone numbers are included. Good luck!

  11. Bobon 25 May 2012 at 8:00 am

    Really? Unemployment pay checks for a PCS move? When you volunteered for the military, you volunteered to be moved around. PCS is not an unexpected event…save and plan accordingly. This is only going to encourage folks to not find jobs until they are about ready to move…what a scam! Compensation for moving is one thing but taxing and abusing the unemployment system for months or years for a PCS move (and not even living in the state anymore) is just greedy and disgusting. There is no magic pot of endless money we are somehow entitled to simply for being in the military….abuse like this corrodes the system that we all end up paying for. Grow up folks and stop looking for more handouts!

  12. Julieon 29 May 2012 at 7:45 am

    We are PCSing to Germany in July. I currently live in a state that is a “yes” for benefits, would I qualify if I am made to leave the country? TIA.

  13. Karenon 29 May 2012 at 8:31 am


    Good question to ask before a PCS! Contact your current state’s Department of Labor or Unemployment Commission to see if you meet that state’s qualifications for benefits.

  14. Aaronon 31 May 2012 at 6:31 am

    We PCS’d from Japan to Texas. My wife filed for Unemployment with the state of Texas and receives her compensation. Check with the state you moved to, if the state you moved from does not offer, or if you moved from overseas.

  15. Karenon 31 May 2012 at 8:33 am


    Thank you for your feedback!

  16. Kaylaon 31 May 2012 at 11:16 am

    When I married my husband two years ago I had to quit my jobs to move to California with him. I haven’t been able to find a job that could pay for child care too! Would I still qualify after two years?

  17. Devinon 31 May 2012 at 11:24 am

    Ok I just have something to say for everyone (Bob) that is having a hard time with this. I am in the navy and do to the down sizing that is going on I got re-rated to a different job. I literally within one month was moved to a school and then straight to a different state not of my choosing. So how is my wife supposed to plan ahead for something like that. We have twin daughters at home and she is supposed to still find a job and day care right away? What about the people that purposely get fired just for benefits. Yeah and we are lazy and scaming. It is also only for 6-9 months unlike the other people that can get it for up to 2 years. So please keep your negative comments about these benefits to yourself. Thanks

  18. Pamelaon 04 Jun 2012 at 9:13 am

    The military member volunteered to be moved around, not their spouses. This benefit is for the spouses, not the person who is actually serving their country(for you I might add). Thank you for the support (sarcasm intended).

  19. charleson 12 Jun 2012 at 9:59 pm

    These days it requires, in most families, both parents working to make ends meet. Sometimes the teenagers work also. I think that spouses should get work compensation. Most of my friends have both members of the family working. There is lots of expenses in change of station and
    many not covered by government allowances. So let us treat the working military spouses as we do the civilian working military spouses.

  20. Elleon 12 Jun 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I have very mixed feelings about this. I’ve moved to a different area 12 times in my spouses military career, where the distance required a job change. In my profession tele-commuting is not an option. While I was lucky enough to always find SOME job, the hours and salary were sometimes worse, sometimes better. I never even knew I could apply for unemployment. It certainly would have helped financially to fill the gap but we always budgeted our lives around the servicemembers salary and all else was gravy. We sometimes marry and then the spouse joines the service so one doesn’t always marry into it. This is a tough question which seems to be answered emotionally by most of the above. What is the factual rational of pros and cons?

  21. Hap Chandleron 13 Jun 2012 at 1:33 pm

    RE:Bobon 25 May 2012 at 8:00 am

    Really? Unemployment pay checks for a PCS move? When you volunteered for the military, you volunteered to be moved around. PCS is not an unexpected event…save and plan accordingly. This is only going to encourage folks to not find jobs until they are about ready to move…what a scam! Compensation for moving is one thing but taxing and abusing the unemployment system for months or years for a PCS move (and not even living in the state anymore) is just greedy and disgusting. There is no magic pot of endless money we are somehow entitled to simply for being in the military….abuse like this corrodes the system that we all end up paying for. Grow up folks and stop looking for more handouts!

    Bob;–You are absolutuly correct in your statement above—“PCS is not an unexpected event…save and plan accordingly”—for dinosaurs like me who enlisted back in 1949, and were not even allowed to marry (and NO same sex marriages) until you had achieved a certain paygrade ( can’t remember what that was)–Wives were “stay-at home-moms” in those days- Times have changed,”Son”, I understand that it now takes two paychecks and then “some” to survive on militay pay-(RE: some military families on “food Stamps” etc.)-Therefore, I encourage ALL states (for arriving or departing pcs spouses as the case may require) to adopt legislation allowing military spousal work compensation.–Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifices–
    Hap Chandler;

  22. Kelly Cottonon 14 Jun 2012 at 12:10 am

    As a military spouse, I’ve had to learn to be my own best advocate (and I cling to great organizations like MOAA to provide me with the best information). If you are told no, but everything you read says it applies, I would encourage you to notify MOAA Spouse or the Department of State Liaison office within DoD. Too often (I’ve found) the states aren’t even aware of their own law…

  23. Charleenon 18 Jun 2012 at 1:58 pm

    what if i quit my job 6 months ago and am just finding out about this and still haven’t found a job, also what if my husband was already stationed in nc and I just moved down after he got back from deployment

  24. Karenon 18 Jun 2012 at 7:45 pm


    Generally, unemployment benefits are not available when an employee leaves a job voluntarily. However, as noted in the blog, military spouses who quit their jobs due to a military transfer may not be quitting “voluntarily,” thus unemployment compensation laws have been ammended in some states to help military families who are relocating between states.

    Contact your state’s Department of Labor or Unemployment Commission to see if you meet that state’s qualifications for benefits.

  25. Margoon 19 Jun 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Would this at all apply if you voluntary left your job because of marriage to a service member? Would be helpful information to have. I left my job of almost four years to relocate to where my now husband is stationed. Thanks!

  26. Karenon 19 Jun 2012 at 8:51 pm


    Very good question. Each states sets their own rules and regulations for unemployment.Contact your state’s Department of Labor or Unemployment Commission (phone or website) to see if you meet that state’s qualifications for benefits.

  27. Eliseon 20 Jun 2012 at 1:51 pm

    We are PCSing from Alabama next month. I see it was passed in May, but does anyone know if it has gone into effect yet or when it will go into effect? I can’t find much information on it. Thanks!

  28. Karenon 20 Jun 2012 at 2:51 pm


    Good Question. You are right, this law was just signed the end of May. I took your question straight to the State of Alabama, Governmental Affairs Division. The law takes effect 1 August 2012. I am sure you have additional questions regarding your particular situation. I am e-mailing you a name and contact number for further information. Good luck.


  29. Kristanon 25 Jun 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Does this apply if I left my job 5 months before I joined my husband in Boston? I had to stay behind in California to figure things out with our house, among other things. Do I have to go somewhere to find out more information or is there a website?

  30. Karenon 25 Jun 2012 at 4:20 pm


    Because your work was performed in California, I would start with the State of California Employment Development Department:

    Good luck!

  31. Innovativemommaon 28 Jun 2012 at 12:35 am

    I don’t understand why there are negative comments about this issue. People enjoy their daily freedoms but don’t understand how it comes to be. My husband is a soldier by trade but a man. A man that, yes I vouluntarily fell in love with and married. The moving around in order to position himself in a way that will keep this country safe is a sacrafice that we as a FAMILY have to make.
    Unemployment benefits help with that transition so our family does not fall too far behind while I fiind employment.
    I know you are not apart of the military community or you would know that the number 1 distraction that gets soldiers killed is family concerns. Concerns that their family is not doing well while they are away. I don’t want my husband or anyone else’s husband, wife, son, or daughter destracted.
    This is not a hand out I worked for my employer and showed them respect by leaving in a positive way. If I would have gotten fired for some reason and received benefits this would not be an issue. You my dear are the one who needs to grow up.

  32. EBONYon 06 Jul 2012 at 11:37 am

    I filed a month ago with New york state unemployment and still nothing now they tell me my case is being reviewed by a reviewer and now it can take up to 3 to 6 weeks .. Sometime it makes you think is this all worth it but Ill wait and keep calling its not like I woke up one day and said I want to leave my family friends and job behind and what kills me is that my job laid everyone off 2 weeks after I left … new york state is a YES state but still gives you the run around

  33. Sickofsimplemindedpeople!!on 01 Aug 2012 at 3:09 am

    Hap and Bob how would you know anything about the military when BOB you are obviously clueless on the way of the military. Spouses that choose to work, work to collect unemployment? No we work to help supoort our families like the rest of the world. You BOB and Hap are some simple minded people! Unemployment helps us to be able to still provide and get back to work as soon as we are settled in our new location, please research more before you post ignorant stuff as for the LCDR Hap are you serious you have no military afflication aside from walking around in old uniforms if you wanted to be part of the military community you should have enlisted and seen what it was really about. First off you are not made to move anywhere unless YOU choose you apply for jobs to move around and wear a military uniform like you are really doing something really please get out of here with your stupid simple minded comments. I appreciate how the rest of the world respects the military and understands how we as the spouses support our significant other. As working people we put into the unemeployment funds for the rest of the world to sit on there butts it is only fair that someone finally stood up for the spouses!

  34. Shadeahon 23 Aug 2012 at 10:17 pm

    My family PCSed in June 2010 from New Jersey to California. After my last day at work in NJ, I submitted my claim online and also mailed a copy of my husband’s military PCS orders along with the information that I found on the website regarding military spouses
    ( ) and I was still denied unemployment benefits.

    I was put in contact with a NJ representative in June 2012 regarding this issue and was told that the bill was in place for National Guard Members spouses’ but not active duty members’ spouses.

    Gratefully, my family and I have been fine living on one paycheck, but it would be nice to know for sure whether or not I was entitled to receive unemployment benefits. I’m sure I’m not the only spouse that had an issue receiving benefits from NJ that we’d paid into.

  35. Tired of stupid peopleon 27 Aug 2012 at 11:53 am

    I am an Army spouse and it is difficult to save and plan in this economy so people like Bob need to shut up. We are PCSing to Germany and most of the jobs there you are not even allowed to apply for until you get there, I looked. Plus the benefits help while we are over there looking for housing and then getting settled in. We spouses are not lazy because we have to quit our jobs to travel with our soldiers to keep our families together because I know I don’t want to live without mine for two years because that is how long he would be over there without us. Bob you obviously have no idea what it is like to be in the military or to be a spouse of a service member but you have the nerve to put your two cents in, you should have kept it because it was worthless. You forget about the kids who did not volunteer for this but have to sacrifice for these moves.

  36. Eliseon 31 Aug 2012 at 12:13 am

    I want to let anyone in the state of AL know that filing unemployment as a spouse on PCS orders has proved to be difficult. I filed 8/1/12, the day the act was to go into effect. I was deemed disqualified for voluntarily quiting my job. I am appealing this as Act 2012-507 was passed and to go into effect 8/1/12. Just letting any others know who may be filing. It seems as though the employees were not made aware of this act, or if they were it was ignored.

  37. Jeannieon 31 Aug 2012 at 4:18 pm

    So BOB, clearly you didn’t read the entire post, you just responded because you geared it towards the military member, not the family member it was speaking of. None the less, I am terribly bothered by your assumption that people are just being lazy because I know better, at least in my case. I am a spouse, a veteran, and anything but lazy. I have my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and my Masters degree in Business Administration. The last time we PCS’ed, I obviously lost my job and we lost that income. We suffered terribly financially, my credit score went from a sweet 720 to I’d rather not say, because we literally had to take care of a family of 4 on just my husbands income and credit cards. This meant as much of his checks as we could for Rent, Utilities, Car Payments, and Insurance and the rest on cards for other important stuff like groceries, gas, school clothes, school supplies, and other events like Christmas and birthdays. Those credit cards all got maxed and when it came time for payment, not one month went by where one wasn’t late. Not the best choice, but out of necessity, it was our only choice. This went on for months as the area we moved to was economically depressed to begin with. It was tough to say the least and I had no idea I was able to apply for and receive unemployment insurance. I was finally able to find a new job, that I was terribly OVER-qualified for making $10.00 an hour but it was at least something until my current job came through. I have been at this job for coming up on three years and here we are again, preparing for transfer. We plan as best we can each time for a move, but even with degrees in hand it is difficult and I am so pleased to know that the great state of California is a “Yes” state because starting over is very, very hard, especially with two teenage daughters. If I could give you just one night of the sleeplessness and despair I felt in those months following our transfer, not knowing how we were going to make it or take care of our kids the way they should be taken care of, I would. I know if I could, you would apologize and take what you said back because your words come from a place of ignorance and for that, consider yourself lucky.

  38. Kyreon 01 Sep 2012 at 2:56 pm

    What if you met your husband while he was already stationed somewhere, then got married and chose to leave to be with him… does that qualify? or should I just stay home until he PCS’s?

  39. Kyreon 01 Sep 2012 at 2:59 pm

    to add to that, I also just had a baby

  40. Joannaon 04 Sep 2012 at 12:19 pm


    When I married my husband and moved to live with him in Nevada 3 years ago, I filed for unemployment benefits in Washington State, and they were denied. However, I appealed the decision with help from the Unemployment Law Project, and the judge approved them :-) I’m sure it depends on the state, but it is possible.

    Remember, if your benefits are denied, look into your appeal options – especially if you can find an organization like the Unemployment Law Project in Washington to represent you.

  41. Joannaon 04 Sep 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Has anyone made an unemployment claim after PCS’ing overseas? Nevada is giving me a hard time about not being a U.S. resident.

  42. Shannonon 06 Sep 2012 at 12:34 pm

    My husband is currently in A-school and does not have his duty station orders. He will hopefully have them in the next couple of weeks. We (I) currently reside in CA and depending on our PCS orders I may have to quit my job and move. Now CA is listed as a YES on the website. Therefore would I be eligible for unemployment benefits when I quit my job? Thanks

  43. Tiffanyon 11 Sep 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I am a servicemember soon to receive an honorable discharge, but I am staying in Germany because my husband is in the service as well. We have been here for seven months. We were stationed in Kentucky 6 years before coming here. Does anyone know if I can apply for unemployment benefits even though I have worked in Germany for the past 7 months and will remain here? I will continue to seek employment on the base but it is difficult to be a new hire since the base is closing down in 2014.

  44. Carmenon 11 Sep 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I submitted an unemployment claim with KY and they denied it because AL does not have the exemption for military spouse. I saw this article that says 5/2012????
    Did the change the law recently? If so, can you send me the statute so I can send it to KY for them to approve my unemployment claim?


  45. Karenon 11 Sep 2012 at 8:31 pm


    Yes, it is a new law. Alabama House Bill 121 was signed by the Governor on May 16th, 2012 and assigned Assigned Act No. 2012-507. Here
    is a link to the text:

    Note:This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

    Hope this helps. Karen

  46. Karenon 11 Sep 2012 at 8:35 pm


    To be certain, you can always contact the state of KY. In general, if you are employed you are not eligible for unemployment compensation.


  47. Dianaon 11 Sep 2012 at 11:27 pm

    We will be pcs-ing to Germany from Idaho next year. I called the department of labor where I got two different answers. One person said they are more lenient towards military spouses when it comes to approving unemployment benefits, while another told me no, not for overseas.
    Idaho is a no state, does anyone know if legislations on this is being worked on, as well as is there anyone out there who has experience with this from the state of Idaho?
    When I moved here from overseas I was approved for unemployment benefits….
    Thank you!

  48. Carmen M Perez-De La Mattaon 14 Sep 2012 at 3:02 pm


    From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all your assistance. I prepared a letter and I already sent it by fax appealing my case.

    You are a blessing!


  49. Carmen M Perez-De La Mattaon 14 Sep 2012 at 3:11 pm


    My sister is military as well and she was moved to FL. I cannot find the FL law, by any chance do you have the link?

  50. Karenon 14 Sep 2012 at 10:54 pm


    Here is a link

    Fla. Stat. §443.101

    For benefit years beginning on or after July 1, 2004, an individual is not disqualified under this subsection for voluntarily leaving work to relocate as a result of his or her military-connected spouse’s permanent change of station orders, activation orders, or unit deployment orders.

    Hope that helps.


  51. Vee Antonioon 17 Sep 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve worked in Utah at a loan company for about 2 years before I had to PCS to Lajes, AB Portugal with my husband. This move happened in December of 2011. Is it too late for me to try and file for unemployment? Also, would I still be eligible even if I moved overseas? Another thing is that since I’ve been here, I’ve applied everywhere on base and jobs here for spouses are scarce. Most of the jobs on base are contracted out to the Portuguese due to some agreement. Please help, I am running out of options and funds.

  52. Karenon 17 Sep 2012 at 1:31 pm


    Here is a link to the H.B. 263– This the law that was passed.

    Each state have unique rules. You will need to contact the Utah Department of Work Force Services:

    For employment resources, I would recommend you visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Local staff should be able to provide appropriate information on the employment conditions at Lajes.

    Some additional Web resources:
    Military One Source Spouse Career Center:
    The Military Spouse Employment Partnership:
    NAF Positions Worldwide:

  53. Christinaon 26 Sep 2012 at 8:55 am


    I am currently employed through the University of Oklahoma at an overseas location. We PCS to the states in December. The state of Oklahoma pays me but I am exempt from state and federal taxes. Do you think I would qualify for UI?

  54. Justinon 01 Oct 2012 at 8:06 pm

    My wife is currently re-classing in Texas and we are stationed at ft. Leavenworth she gets back in the middle of beginning of February and then she has to report at the end of February to Ft. Carson. I have to start getting everything packed due to us doing a ditty move. I have let my boss know she is getting PCSed to Ft. Carson and he told me I am not leaving my job till the moving truck is pulling out of the driveway for me to be eligible to collect unemployment. I tried doing research on what time frame I can quit my Job to be eligible to collect. All I could find is I am not required to give notice but no time frame and I am giving plenty of notice. (4 and a half months) Any help on this would be appreciated.

  55. AZIZIon 03 Oct 2012 at 10:10 pm

    my home state is missouri, i was deployed to overseas as an interpreter, I got laid off due to company contract decrease, now I would like to move to Virginia and apply for the unemployment benifits there, will i be able to get unemployment compensation in virginia. if someone can answer me please.

  56. Karenon 04 Oct 2012 at 8:43 am


    I would recommend you contact the Kansas Department of Labor:

    Topeka (785) 575-1460
    Kansas City (913) 596-3500
    Wichita (316) 383-9947
    Toll-free (800) 292-6333

    KDOL (785) 296-5000

  57. Karenon 04 Oct 2012 at 8:47 am

    Working military spouses that leave their jobs “voluntarily” due to a military directed move, may apply for unemployment compensation in the state where they were employed, not the state you are moving to.

    Every state has different requirements that must be met in order to receive unemployment compensation. Check with your state for the specific requirements.

  58. Amandaon 06 Oct 2012 at 8:52 am

    I am a GS civilian and moving with my husband to FL. I am going on leave without pay for 5 months in the hopes it helps me find a job easier. Would I be eligible a for unemployment if I am on leave without pay with resignation date 5 months out? Thanks!

  59. AZmilon 25 Oct 2012 at 12:54 pm

    My husband and I live in Arizona for the next few weeks but he has orders to Idaho in Nov. We will both of course be relocating there and I have to quit my job to do this. My last day of work isnt until next friday but I was wondering if I would be entitled to unemployment because of this move? if you have anymore info, I would appreciate it! KNowing this move is coming and I will have to quit my job has been so stressful!

  60. Carmen Perez De La Mattaon 29 Oct 2012 at 9:58 am



    I submitted my appeal for my UC claim and it was denied again. I contacted the UC Help Center at and the problem was the actual approval was required. We prepared another appeal and I will go to the AL UC center and they will fax it to KY UC for me. I will keep you posted.

    I wanted to share this information to other people, they may need it.

    Blessings and thank you!


  61. Karenon 31 Oct 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thank you, Carmen.

    Good luck!


  62. Tracieon 01 Nov 2012 at 4:51 pm

    My husband has been in the AF for almost 19 years, we have moved a total of 6 times, each time I had to leave a job because of the move. I did not know I was eligible for unemployment until this last move and then it was 5 months after we got to our new place that I found out. It would have greatly helped as things have been very tight since we moved. Yes, we know to expect a PCS but what we don’t always know is WHEN those orders are going to come. Even when we do know when they are coming we still have to live our day to day lives in our current place, sometimes, especially these days, it is hard to prepare for a move. It is very expensive to move, even if you don’t do a DITY move.

    This is something I think should be covered in the Smooth Move seminar that the military member HAS to attend and the spouse can attend if possible. I have always gone to these with my husband and nothing was ever mentioned about this for spouses. Better yet maybe they should start some kind of smooth move seminar for military spouses to help them out with the things they will be handling and things like this. Anymore it does take more than one income to support a family.

    Going to try to get what little benefits I can, I should not be punished because I married a man in the military, I have made sacrafices as well, I am very proud of him and my country!

  63. Karenon 01 Nov 2012 at 4:56 pm


    We have heard that comment often!
    Thank you for your excellent suggestion to add this to the “Smooth Move” Seminar. We will send it up the chain!
    Continue to share the information with fellow military spouses.


  64. LizFPon 05 Nov 2012 at 2:46 pm

    We are stationed at Ft. Campbell, and recvd orders back in Sept for El Paso, TX. I had a very good job, and gave my employer more then enough notice. They hired someone about 3 weeks ago, and of course the Army never has certianity, my spouses orders were deleted.
    When I explained this to my employer, they told me that they were going to keep my replacement on, and could not rescind my notice.
    I was devastated because now we are not moving, and I am unsure if I am sill entitled to unemployment if we are not moving.
    I am not sure how long it takes in TN to actually get a claim approved. They told me that it could take up to 48 weeks. Has anyone filed in TN?

  65. Michelleon 05 Nov 2012 at 4:38 pm

    My husband was given orders to Korea for a year. I turned in my three week notice at my current employer. We lived in Kansas but I worked in Missouri. His orders state that we are to move to the Ft. Campbell, KY area due to that is where he will be returning after his Korea tour. I was wondering who I would file unemployment with – MO, KS, or TN. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!

  66. Danielleon 05 Nov 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Being a military spouse that has worked for the government for 11 years I feel that is very helpful and the ten states that does not pay should get on board. As for Bob I can say that I’m not scamming and it’s something that I paid into. As military spouses we put our lives on hold and and take mediocre jobs to help our spouses make ends meet. So if the state is willing to help so be it.

  67. Karenon 06 Nov 2012 at 9:57 am


    Great Question. Apply for unemployment compensation in the state where you were employed, not the state you are moving to. Every state has different requirements that must be met in order to receive unemployment compensation. Check with your state for the specific requirements.

    Good Luck.


  68. Karenon 06 Nov 2012 at 10:12 am

    Because every state has different requirements for unemployment compensation eligibility, check with the State of Tennessee’s Employment Security Division. Quick links and contact information can be found at:

    Good luck.


  69. Fayon 12 Nov 2012 at 10:41 am

    Hello…Our home of record/permanent residences is Texas (a ‘yes’ state). I am currently employed/live in Virginia (a ‘no’ state) and we just received orders to Bahrain.
    Question…Which state would I file unemployment with Texas or Virginia? TIA

  70. Kation 13 Nov 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I am a military spouse and my husband and I have recently PCS’d to Hawaii. A lady from the unemployment office here told me to file for unemployment because Hawaii recognizes a military PCS as a valid reason for a spouse to quit their job. I moved from Kentucky, and when I filed for unemployment there, they disqualified me because they said Hawaii does NOT have a similar statute recognizing a military ordered move as a valid reason for a spouse to quit their job. According to your chart above, Hawaii does. When I clicked on the link to check with the NCSL, it says Hawaii does NOT (though it says it was last updated a year ago). I have to write a letter to appeal this, but I’m not sure if Hawaii does recognize the PCS move, or does NOT. Help! Who’s right?

  71. Karenon 14 Nov 2012 at 3:54 pm


    I can offer the following for informational purposes only–

    Confirm with the State of Hawaii the provision they site in granting military spouses unemployment compensation eligibility. Then it will be up to the state of KY to decide if Hawaii’s provision is sufficient.
    We are becoming increasingly aware that KY’s provision can create an obstacle for spouses seeking unemployment compensation.

    For reference:
    KY’s provision ( offers the following, “Leaving work to accompany the worker’s spouse to a different state when the spouse is reassigned by the military. b. Subdivision a. of this subparagraph shall apply only if the state of relocation has adopted a statute substantially similar to that subdivision.”

    HI ( speaks to the need to show sufficient “good cause” for leaving work, “real, substantial, or compelling reason, or a reason that would cause a reasonable and prudent worker, genuinely and sincerely desirous of maintaining employment, to take similar action Such a worker is expected to try reasonable alternatives before terminating the employment relationship.”

    Best of Luck, Karen

  72. Lauraon 27 Nov 2012 at 6:16 pm

    The report date on my husbands orders are December 10. Does it matter if I file for unemployment before or after this date?

  73. MCNBon 28 Nov 2012 at 10:14 am

    This MOAA article says that Washington DC offers unemployment benefits to spouses moving due to a PCS, while the NCSL link (their site was last updated about a year ago) says no. I tried calling DC’s Unemployment Insurance office but spent about 15 minutes on various phone trees but could not find an option to speak with someone. Any suggestions on where else I might call?

    Am wondering a) if spouses leaving employment in DC are eligible and b) what happens with the search-for-work requirement of unemployment insurance, particularly if the PCS move is overseas?

    Thank you.

  74. Carmen Perez De La Mattaon 06 Dec 2012 at 9:01 pm


    I came from Kentucky and I was denied three times. I persevere and Karen gave me some information and I started to write my appeals until I won my case.
    We moved to AL in July but the law was effective since August 1, 2012. You will need to send the proof in advance to prevent waist of time and denials.
    Go prepared, the link is:
    This is the law:
    “Act 2012-507, HB121, amends Section 25-4-78, Code of Alabama 1975, to allow spouses of active duty members of the military who receive permanent change of station orders, activation orders, or unit deployment orders to receive unemployment benefits if they voluntarily quit working in order to permanently relocate. The act specifies that any benefits paid to the individual based upon wages paid for that period of employment immediately preceding the separation is not to be charged to the account of the employer.

    EFFECTIVE DATE: August 1, 2012.”

    Any other information that you need, please let Karen know she has my contact info….


  75. Karenon 06 Dec 2012 at 10:25 pm


    Congratulations on a successful appeal! Thank you for sharing your experience with other spouses as there are important lessons to be learned: read the law–requirements can vary state to state and ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

    Most importantly, share your story. Fellow military spouses are excellent resources!!

    Good luck, Carmen. Happy Holidays!

  76. K. E.on 11 Dec 2012 at 4:12 pm

    My husband is transferring from Ft. Benning, GA to Ft. Lewis, WA in February. I am currently in CA working, but plan on PCSing with him to Ft. Lewis. However, I work in the school system and would want to finish the school year out in June. Will I still qualify for UI? I know if I transferred immediately, I would qualify, but what will happen if I wait a few months later?

  77. Karenon 11 Dec 2012 at 4:15 pm


    The law varies from state to state. Have you contacted you state employment commission?


  78. Angela Aon 30 Dec 2012 at 5:04 am

    Hi, I am a military spouse currently working for DoDDs in Europe. We will be PCSing to MD in a month. I will be working until a couple of days before we leave here. We are FL residents. Under which state do I file unemployment? I have already started applying for jobs online. Please help. Thanks.

  79. Ricon 30 Dec 2012 at 7:34 am

    “…to help military families who are relocating between states.”

    I think this is only for relocating between states, to or from another country is not covered.
    I know when applying for unemployment benefits, you have to be in the US or Canada, in some states in Puerto Rico and Guam (US territories) are included.

  80. lance coppon 05 Jan 2013 at 10:05 am

    I filed for benefits in Mississippi and was denied for voluntary move with spouse. I submitted the orders and letter from chain of command. I am going to appeal but MS does not have anything listed that they approve military spouse compensation?

  81. Julissa Ron 16 Jan 2013 at 11:06 pm

    My husband will be PCSing to SC and I currently live in VA. So do you think there is no way of getting benefits from VA? Even if I try to appeal it. Is it just a waste of time and energy to do so. Or can I use/state some sort of clause to appeal my case

  82. Karenon 17 Jan 2013 at 5:17 am

    Currently, VA does not have any provsions in law specifically for military spouses that leave their places of employment due to military orders. VA is one of the largest military footprint states to NOT offer this eligibility.

    While we work to address this on the state level, I would encourage you to write to your state representative. Elected officials need to hear from VA Mil Spouses!

  83. Hollyon 21 Jan 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I just have to say that as a new military spouse, this is such a relief to me! My husband and I were married almost 4 years before he joined the military. His decision was largely based on the economy and not being able to find a steady job after being laid off. We will be PDCsing an a month or two and having to quit my job of 7 years is really a big deal to me. I would not be leaving at all if it weren’t for this move.

  84. Lucindaon 23 Jan 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I have been a self-employed psychotherapist for 12 years. I see mostly Medicaid and Medicare cts. I receive 1099 forms for tax purposes. My husband and I are discussing his taking a position in Canada. First, wondering if I would be eligible for any unemployment, second, is it difficult to find employment in Canada as an officer’s wife? Lastly, people such as “Bob” should absolutely keep their large ignorant mouths shut. He has NO clue what it is to be married to someone in the military and gives patriotism a BAD name. I can guarantee when many of our husbands joined 15 years ago, no one could have predicted 9/11, subsequent tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the impact this has on family relationships. No doubt your bitterness reflects on the quality of soldier you were–poor.

  85. Karenon 23 Jan 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Typically, self employed workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits. But, unemployment benefits are state specific. Because every state has different requirements eligibility, check with your State Employment Security Division–it never hurts to ask the question.

    Unfortunately, I do not have any information on employment in Canada. A quick search yielded this site: It might be a good starting point.

    If you move to Canada, try to connect with other military spouses attached to the unit/station or school your service member is attending. The “boots” on the ground typically have the best “Intel” on how things work.

    Readers—any thoughts?

    Good luck

  86. Karenon 23 Jan 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Welcome to the Mil Life! Best of luck to you and your Service Member as your journey on this amazing path! Be sure and check out our spouse and family page for more great information:

    Good luck!


  87. Karenon 23 Jan 2013 at 8:41 pm


    To date, VA is one of a few states that doesn not provide unemployment compensation eligibility to military spouses who must leave their job due to a move. It is an issue we continue to raise.

    Good luck!

  88. Karenon 23 Jan 2013 at 8:49 pm


    Have you talked to representative at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security? Just in case, here is the link to eligibility requirements:

    Good luck–if you appeal, please post the outcome so others can learn too!


  89. Austinon 29 Jan 2013 at 1:04 pm

    My wife and I recently PCSed to the United Kingdom from Illinois where she had been a teacher for 7 years. We were just told a few moments ago from the state of Illinois that she is not eligible for unemployment benefits due to the fact that our PCS move was overseas and not in the states. However, in everything I’ve found there is no reference to whether the PCS is overseas or not.

    Any help available on where we can look from here? She’s been a taxpayer in that state for 10+ years and I think it’s wrong that she is not able to get unemployment benefits due to my overseas PCS.

    Thank you!

  90. Chuckon 30 Jan 2013 at 9:24 pm


    Thanks for all the great information. Question?

    My wife and I will be PCSing from Hawaii to California in October. She has to attend a 2 month training before our official PCS in California which are unaccompanied orders. I currently am a DOD employee and plan on going on LWOP when we PCS. If I quit in August due to her leaving for training would I be able to collect unemployment or should I stay until October and work. If I can leave early I plan to move to Cali and get situated and start my job hunt. Thank you again for all
    You do.

  91. Karenon 02 Feb 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Those are very good questions to ask before you move. I would recommend you contact the State of Hawaii Department of Labor–Unemployment Insurance Division reagarding your situation as both a fedearl employee and as a military spouse.
    Honolulu Claims Office
    830 Punchbowl St., Rm 110
    Honolulu, HI 96813

    586-8970 586-8971

  92. Karenon 02 Feb 2013 at 7:00 pm


    I have provided the Illinois statute below.

    Illinois does have a provision for military spouses:

    7. Because, due to a change in location of employment
    of the individual’s spouse, the individual left work to accompany his or her spouse to a place from which it is impractical to commute or because the individual left employment to accompany a spouse who has been reassigned from one military assignment to another. The employer’s account, however, shall not be charged for any benefits paid out to the individual who leaves work under a circumstance described in this paragraph.

    However it appears the denial may have to do with “availability for work” which is a requirement in order for anyone to be eligible for compensation.

    Sec. 500. Eligibility for benefits. An unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week only if the Director finds that:
    A. He has registered for work at and thereafter has continued to report at an employment office in accordance with such regulations as the Director may prescribe, except that the Director may, by regulation, waive or alter either or both of the requirements of this subsection as to individuals attached to regular jobs, and as to such other types of cases or situations with respect to which he finds that compliance with such requirements would be oppressive or inconsistent with the purposes of this Act, provided that no such regulation shall conflict with Section 400 of this Act.
    B. He has made a claim for benefits with respect to such week in accordance with such regulations as the Director may prescribe.
    C. He is able to work, and is available for work; provided that during the period in question he was actively seeking work and he has certified such. Whenever requested to do so by the Director, the individual shall, in the manner the Director prescribes by regulation, inform the Department of the places at which he has sought work during the period in question. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the Director’s approval of alternate methods of demonstrating an active search for work based on regular reporting to a trade union office.

    3. An individual shall be deemed unavailable for work
    if, after his separation from his most recent employing unit, he has removed himself to and remains in a locality where opportunities for work are substantially less favorable than those in the locality he has left.

    I suggest you contact base legal services for an interpretation of the law. Provide them a copy of the statute.

    Good luck!

    Good luck!

  93. Joelleon 04 Feb 2013 at 2:54 pm

    My husband just got orders to Hawaii. He will be checking out of his current command and we are alloted 30 days of leave so we will take 30 days of leave, then must check into Hawaii by Oct. However we were considering having me quit the end of July in order to help take care of getting our cars shipped, dogs both ready to fly, health screenings, and house hold goods shipment. Most of these things require me to do them because my husband is busy, some of them require both of us. Would I still be able to file for unemployment if I quit this “early” about a month before we leave California.

  94. Karenon 04 Feb 2013 at 3:19 pm


    Great question to ask prior to providing your employee notification that you will be terminating your employment.

    Every state has unique rules and regulations that must be met in order to be eligible to receive unemployment compensation. I would recommend you contact the State of California Employment Development Department for guidance:

    Good luck!


  95. LaToyaon 07 Feb 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Hello, I am a spouse currently stationed in JBLM, Washington where I have worked full time the entire time my husband has been stationed here working in Human Resources as a government contractor. We recently received orders to Germany and plan to leave early summer. I have done research and I am still unclear if I am eligable to receive unemployment compensation when I move. I would imagine so since WA has the military clause however since we are moving to a U.S Army Instillation in Germany I am unsure. Any assistance in this manner is greatly appreciated~


  96. Codyon 12 Feb 2013 at 9:17 pm

    My spouse has been working the same job here in Louisiana for 2.5 years. She has worked her way up to GM of the Florist shop. Now she has to leave that because, yes BOB, we have to PCS to Hawaii. I am reading several sources that Louisiana does not offer to Military spouses. Can we verify this? Other question, does Hawaii offer compensation for spouses moving into their state. Please help me in this manner. And Bob, some of our families do need two different sources of income. Not a hand me out.

  97. Fayon 13 Feb 2013 at 9:25 am

    We currently live in VA (with no spouse unemployment benefits); but permanent residence of TX (with spouse unemployment benefits). We are about to PCS to Bahrain. Am I able to apply for unemployment benefits for TX since that is our home state of record?

  98. Karenon 13 Feb 2013 at 9:37 am


    The state in which you performed your job is the state that pays the unemployment benefits. The State of Virginia is one of 6 remaining states that do not offer this eligibility to military spouses.


  99. Karenon 13 Feb 2013 at 9:54 am


    Louisiana does not currently provide unemployment compensation eligibility to military spouses that leave their place of employment due to a PCS move. The State of LA is one of 6 remaining states that do not offer this eligibility to military spouses.The state in which you performed your job is the state that pays the unemployment benefits.

    Regarding Hawaii—here is a link to the Unemployment Insurance Handbook:

    The only reference to work in another state is found under the section entitled “Combined Wage Claims”:

    If you worked in Hawaii and another state(s) during the 18 months before you file your initial claim, you might be able to combine your out-of-state wages to qualify for a valid claim, or to increase your weekly benefit amount. When you file your claim, the customer service representative will explain your options for combining your wages.


  100. Jennon 20 Feb 2013 at 8:35 pm

    So we just PCSed to Japan from South Carolina. I was approved unemployment benefits. (FYI- I worked for 3 years total before PCSing) Well they paid me while we were still in the States but once we were officially over here to Japan I got a denial letter in the mail stating that because I was in Japan I was no longer eligible for unemployment. I have legal looking into this week but anyone else have this problem? If I would’ve PCSed anywhere stateside I would be receiving these benefits but because we were stationed overseas they deem that reason to cancel benefits?! :( It’s hard because I want to work and right now with Congress and the budget issues there is a freeze on jobs. Kinda makes it hard and with all my kids now in school and the husband working it is just me and the dog at home and it is quite boring. I’ve already submitted my application to start my Master’s degree but that takes time to get going. Just frustrated and wondering if anyone else has had this issue with moving overseas. Thanks!

  101. ellieon 20 Mar 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Will i still be qualified if my husband moved first to where he is stationed and i move to the state where he is at a year after?

  102. Karenon 21 Mar 2013 at 9:45 am

    Did the State of SC provide any additional information regarding the discontinuation of the benefit? Here is a link to SC’s Labor and Employment Laws: for additional information. Often, states have very specific requirements that must be met in order to remain eligible for the benefit.


  103. Karenon 21 Mar 2013 at 9:48 am

    What state are your working in? Every state has different requirements that must be met in order to receive unemployment compensation. Check with your state for the specific requirements. Karen

  104. ellieon 04 Apr 2013 at 6:12 pm

    i currently live in nevada, but hes been stationed in seattle washington for a year now. will i still be qualify for unemployment even if hes been there for a year now?

  105. Karenon 10 Apr 2013 at 5:08 am


    I need a bit more information. You currently reside In NV and your husband reside in WA and you will be leaving your place of employment soon to join him?


  106. ellieon 11 Apr 2013 at 5:03 pm

    yes that is correct, i currently live in NV and my children and I will be joining him in WA.

  107. Desireeon 09 May 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I married my husband while he was on his orders for a year and a half they were dated 2010. I lived in NJ and he lived in GA (stationed until 2014), we married in 8/2012. I left my job 7 months after we were married 3/2013 and was told by unemployment that since I did not move in 2010 that I was denied benefits according to their letter I did not move within 9 months of his transfer (which we were not married) . I am appealing, we were not married in 2010 therefore the law doesn’t cover me we were married in 2012 the law covers spouses not “partners”…. I’m hoping that I win my appeal.

  108. Ineson 19 May 2013 at 11:33 am


    I applied for unemployment benifets for the state of Virginia, which they were denied. Do you know if anybody has ever appealed that decision with that state and won? I would like to appeal the decision but don’t even know where to begin or how to go about it? Is it worth trying to appeal since they are one of the “NO” states? Please whatever info I can get I will greatly appreciate it.

  109. Spouseon 15 Jun 2013 at 8:36 pm

    60.2-618 the law in Virginia passed the General Assembly in 2009. Please see Virginia Guide for Effective Unemployment Insurance Adjudication, Office of the Commission on Appeals, VEC, Online Edition, 5th Edition. Also see General Assembly Legislature Information System (Virginia) and Justia US LAW 2011 Code of VA Title 60.2 Unemployment Compensation Chapter 6 Benefits.
    I hope this help all military spouse such as myself.

  110. Karenon 15 Jun 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing.

    The State of VA offers the following explanation of 60.2-618 in their VA Guide to Effective Adjudication:

    “However, there is specific enabling language that the revised Section 60.2-618(1) only
    becomes effective when the federal government allocates funds
    specifically for paying benefits to spouses made eligible under
    the revised section.”

    I will reach back out to the VA Employment Commission this week, but the consistent answer I have received is VA does not offer unemployment compensation to trailing military spouse.


  111. Aliceon 21 Aug 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Joelle,

    I had the same situation as yours. We moved to Hawaii from CA, I quit early too to do all the required stuff for PCS but I was able to get unemployment from CA. But you should file only when you are available for work or after you arrived to HI. Like from my part I quit Feb but we arrived Hawaii in April so I started claiming only the month of April there’s no retroactive. For me, it’s reasonable since during the transition time I just considered it as my “personal vacation” without pay.

  112. Aliceon 21 Aug 2013 at 5:52 pm


    From Hawaii we Pcs’d to Japan and HI does not provide unemployment benefits when moving outside the country. So I was denied unemployment benefits in Hawaii.

    I hope this helps.

  113. Cassion 02 Sep 2013 at 3:39 pm


    I recently left my job in NV to move with my husband to Germany. I can’t find any information about Nevada laws regarding unemployment specifically for overseas PCS moves.
    Also, I read somewhere that your last day of work could not be more than 30 days before the report no later than date on the PCS orders. I left mine about 35 days prior.
    I will be calling the unemployment office asap but would like to be more informed before getting the run around.

  114. Karenon 03 Sep 2013 at 7:33 pm


    Here is a link to all the rules and regulations for the State of Nevda as it pertains to unemployment compensation: Sec. 551 is where you find mention of military spouses.

    Also, from the Nevada Employment Security Division (

    Minimum qualifications for eligibility include, but are not limited to:
    1. Sufficient earnings within the base period of a claim to qualify monetarily for benefits;
    2. Must be wholly unemployed or employed less than full-time and have earnings less than their weekly entitlement;
    3. Must be found to be out of work through no fault of their own;
    4. Must be available to seek and accept work customary to their normal occupation;5. Must be physically and mentally able to work at the time they initiate a claim for benefits; and,
    6. Must not refuse suitable work when offered.

    Available to Seek and Accept Work:

    A person must be actively engaged in efforts to seek and secure employment in their customary occupation to be eligible to receive benefits. A person must not have personal circumstances which prevent them from applying for a job and accepting a job when offered. Some examples of circumstances that may prevent a person from being available for work include, but are not limited to:
    1. Inadequate child care;
    2. Lack of adequate transportation;
    3. Lack of tools required to perform the job;
    4. Unwillingness or inability to work the days and hours customarily required by the type of work; and,
    5. A personal decision to attend school not designated as approved training by the Division.

    Persons in good standing with a hiring hall union and reporting for job call as directed, those on temporary lay-off with a definite date to return to work as defined by the employer and approved by the Division and persons attending a training or educational program designated as approved by the Division are considered available for work.

    As always, your best option is to talk to the unemployment office for clarification.

    Good Luck,


  115. Julia Wardon 01 Oct 2013 at 2:09 am

    Has anyone received unemploymet benefits when pcsing to Germany?

  116. Lyssaon 26 Nov 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Well, I believe it is a great benefit. I have worked for the DoD and Department of Army for a combined total of seven years as a civilian. However due to my spouse being moved to another state, I did quite my position as a federal employee. It has been rough because the unemployment takes a long time to investigate even with the right documentation. I am thankful that this law is in affect, but seriously it takes a long time to process.

  117. kenon 11 Dec 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hi I filled for MD unemployment in august due to my wife getting ORDERS FOR GUAM and we moved in Sep. I received unemployment for a couples weeks then I called to update my address and I was told that it cant be change and I will be disqualified for unemployment since am overseas and I might have to pay them back, I dont understand why and I had send in my wife order to MD unemployment for that their new where I was going in the beginning. HELPPP

  118. Johnon 13 Dec 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Does this apply to military moves only? How about regular work related moves?

  119. Karenon 13 Dec 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Good question. It depends on the wording of the state statute. Check with your states unemployment commission. Some states will require proof of orders.

  120. meganon 12 Jan 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I received unemployment benefits from Texas when we PCS’d to Germany in 2009. I exhausted those and all federal tiered extensions.

    We PCS’d to Florida in June. I’ve been looking for a job for 6 months and am still unemployed. Can I re-file an unemployment claim?

    Has anyone done this? Or am I SOL because of the overseas assignment?

  121. Andreaon 18 Jan 2014 at 2:44 am

    Can you please help me find a link to the NC laws? I would like to look into the agreement within the state in regards to overseas pcs. Thank u for all of your help!


  122. Tiffanyon 19 Feb 2014 at 1:31 pm

    # Karenon 15 Jun 2013 at 9:26 pm
    Thank you for sharing.

    The State of VA offers the following explanation of 60.2-618 in their VA Guide to Effective Adjudication:

    “However, there is specific enabling language that the revised Section 60.2-618(1) only
    becomes effective when the federal government allocates funds
    specifically for paying benefits to spouses made eligible under
    the revised section.”

    I will reach back out to the VA Employment Commission this week, but the consistent answer I have received is VA does not offer unemployment compensation to trailing military spouse.



    Do you have any updated info on the above post? I will be PCSing to Alabama this summer and wanted to know if my spouse can apply for unemployment compensation in VA.

    Thank you.

  123. Kendallon 06 Mar 2014 at 5:57 pm

    This information is really helpful. Heres my question:

    My husband and I currently live in California. He has decided to not re-enlist and gets out of the military in April and we are moving back to his home state of Missouri (which the military reconizes as home of record).

    Would I still qualify for the unemployment insurance. I would call and ask if I didn’t have a 3 hour window to reach them monday-friday with 100,000 people trying to get through! :)

  124. Pam The Beyond Frustrated Federal Employee Military Spouseon 24 Apr 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I am beyond frustrated. I hold a government job (DOD Civilian) and I’m a military spouse. I was originally hired at Aberdeen Proving Ground base in Maryland. I went on Leave without pay (cleared post, left my job) and PCS’d to Fort Stewart, GA with my husband and children. I applied for Unemployment through MD and was approved no problem. There was no issue with my leave without pay status because I was no longer working in Maryland. I found another government job on base at Fort Stewart, GA and after 5 years had to leave that job to follow my husband to Fort Carson, CO… It was the same procedure… I went on leave without pay, left the job, and PCS’d to CO.

    I applied for Unemployment through Georgia, and it was denied because they said that “You are still working. You are just on Leave Without pay.” I am NOT working. The Leave without pay is something they recommend federal workers do when they PCS with their spouses because it helps preserve some benefits and can help with getting rehired. I just had my appeal hearing yesterday and the appeals officer was a little aggravating. He repeatedly pointed out that I am still employed by the federal government. I am still employed, but I DO NOT have a job. I ‘cleared’ that post and my place of employment. Twice I have sent in copies of my husbands military orders, and for the hearing I sent in copies of my ‘clearing’ papers that stated that I no longer work at that military installation. They would not tell me the decision over the phone. But I can only imagine.

    Should I keep fighting?

  125. Karenon 26 Apr 2014 at 10:17 am


    Thank you for writing. Have you contacted your previous HR Department to ask for guidance and/or for assistance in explaining what “leave without pay” means for a person who had been employed by the Federal Government? HR might be in the best position to guide you. Clarification might be in order.

  126. Shirleyon 02 May 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks, I guess I’m not alone. I’m tired of combing through job websites just to hear about my employment work gaps at interviews. It takes so much time to fill out applications, and cover letters, that some days I spend my day in front of the computer. Most employers are unfriendly to military spouses, where I live in Virginia but are in a hurry to hire military personnel. I’m left with retail because I didn’t go to school to be in the large medical field, ship building and construction here. I’m not complaining about retail but there is a least five girls from high school, who can work any schedule when their is a position available. Well, I guess there is tomorrow.

  127. Vinceon 06 May 2014 at 10:54 pm

    My wife and I pcs-ed from Hawaii to California she is getting unemployment from Hawaii. I got advanced to a higher paygrade and in less than a year we are pcs-ing from California to oregon. What are her options? Will she file again through Hawaii?

  128. Karenon 07 May 2014 at 6:00 am


    If she is currently receiving unemployment from Hawaii, I would recommend she contact the State of Hawaii.


  129. Julieon 04 Jun 2014 at 10:32 am

    I PCSd in August 2013 from California and do not have a job (live in Japan on base). Is this retroactive for me? If so, how do I apply?

  130. Karenon 04 Jun 2014 at 10:40 am


    Each state sets their own rules. You would need to contact the State of CA. This link provides an overview, along with contact information:

  131. Mary Oldhamon 04 Jun 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I have to disagree with the statement that Mississippi participates in this program. I am a military spouse that applied for unemployment and was denied because I had never worked in Mississippi. I was told the unemployment office that just because I was a military spouse I didn’t rate unemployment benefits because we moved to a new state. I even asked about this program/law and they had no idea what I was talking about.

  132. tiffanion 04 Jun 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Does this apply for an EAS back to our home state?

  133. tiffanion 04 Jun 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Does this apply for an EAS back to our home state? My spouse is wanting to go back to his homestate after he gets out. I currently work in california full time. Would this apply to me in this situation?

  134. Karenon 04 Jun 2014 at 5:37 pm

    You must apply for unemployment in the state where the work was performed. If that isn’t possible, you can go to a local unemployment office and seek to file an interstate claim.

  135. Karenon 04 Jun 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Tiffani–each state sets there own rules. You are very wise to think of this in advance. Call now or go on line! Advance leg work will help. Good luck.

    The link for CA information is a few comments down.

  136. Roxanneon 04 Jun 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I was denied benefits from WA State in. Oct. 2008 because we were PCS’g to japan. I appealed several times to no avail.

    We moved back to WA State Dec. 2013 and I still can’t get unemployment because I haven’t worked in the US in the last 5 years. I try to call and talk to someone and all I get is a dead end recording.

    How to I get benefits???


  137. Michelleon 05 Jun 2014 at 9:26 am

    I applied for unemployment from Florida when we PCSd to Japan. I was told by the State of Florida yes I was entitled due to my active duty spouse moving on orders. However my claim and appeal were denied because said move took me out of the local commuting area. Really? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Lots of empty legislation.

  138. Krystalon 10 Jun 2014 at 5:56 pm

    My husband had orders for California and is already waiting for me there. I had to stay behind in New York due to my daughters school and wanted to finish my semester. I am still currently employed is there a certain way I need to resign with my current employer. What is it that the unemployment office looks for?

  139. Karenon 10 Jun 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Contact the NY Unemployment Commission and confirm what yoou need to do before you resign and move. Each state sets their own rules.

  140. Sadieon 28 Jun 2014 at 9:00 pm

    My husband is a GS DOD civilian employee and just accepted a position with a different agency in FL. We live in VA and I currently work in WV. Would our situation be considered as “military transfer” even though he isn’t active military?

  141. Pam @ Ft Carsonon 29 Jun 2014 at 1:08 am

    WV has a spouse job transfer clause, but only for a PCS move of an active duty military spouse.

  142. Pam @ Ft Carsonon 29 Jun 2014 at 1:14 am

    Mary Oldham…. you are misunderstanding the regulations. It’s not a program it’s a law that provides unemployment compensation to military spouses who quit their jobs due to a PCS move. You apply to the state you worked and quit your job in.

  143. kaitrosson 20 Jul 2014 at 9:09 am

    any updates on luck with pcsing overseas? we will be going to japan from texas in December. just trying to get ahead of the game… from what I interpret the law, I would be able and available to work on base, is the base considered us territory?

  144. candyon 13 Aug 2014 at 12:25 am

    We are PCSing to Germany. We live in Virginia which is a “yes” state. I have worked as a teacher for a year, but now due to these orders I had to resign my position. Does anyone know if Virginia will deny me unemployment benefits. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  145. bobisanidioton 05 Sep 2014 at 11:50 am

    Lol Hand outs really bob?


    You are ignorant… and a joke. Buckle up and join the Military and serve your country, while we all fight for the paycheck. That more than likely you just sit on your butt and watch CNN. your an idiot there are millions of illegals and drug addicts collecting welfare and unemployment, and your complaining about a small group of military spouses who are forced to leave there job because of military orders. So you should focus your ignorance on those who dont deserve the benefits like the drug addicts and illegals that gouge the system! hope you feel dumb! wow “Taking advantage of the system” My wife works loves to have a job and we need an income to support a family that we want to have but cant. Military service members have horrible pay. Once minimum wage is raised to 15(which you probably support) People working at burgerking (which im sure you eat alot of) will be making more money then service members think about that bob!

  146. Melon 24 Nov 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Does anyone know if I can receive unemployment while I am in a Leave Without Pay status as a GS employee (state of FL)? I am going to PCS with my husband and was told LWOP will help me find a job faster along with PPP status, but this move is causing financial strain. For those who don’t know any better (like Bob)- the BAH does not line up with the going rate of rentals where we are moving to (we will come out of pocket) and the job situation is bleak over there as well. We were only given 90 days to make all of this happen and losing my job is going to significantly affect us. I called my local unemployment office and they could not answer…thanks!

  147. Karenon 24 Nov 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you for writing. Have you contacted your HR Department to ask for guidance and/or for assistance in explaining what “leave without pay” means for a person who had been employed by the Federal Government? HR might be in the best position to guide you.

  148. Jesson 13 Dec 2014 at 1:24 am

    Hello! What about if you PCS from an overseas location to another overseas location but the state you’re a resident of is a ‘yes’ state? Would you be eligible? Or, what if you PCS from an overseas location (where you had a job) to another state but not the state you’re a current resident of? Anyone hVe experience with this? Also, a lot of GS employees go on leave without pay when they PCS. Can you still technically apply for unemployment if you go on leave without pay? I’d think no but just curious about everyone’s experiences. :)

  149. Lynnon 30 Dec 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I am currently living in CA. We will be PCS’ing the end of March. Does anyone know if there is a min/max time you can leave your job and still receive unemployment? I was hoping to leave my job on good terms 4-6 weeks before the move, to be able to take care of everything. Any knowledge on this subject is welcome! Thank you for your time! Happy New Year!

  150. Karenon 30 Dec 2014 at 2:10 pm


    It is good to ask these questions before you resign your position. Since each state sets their own rules, I would suggest contacting the State of CA. This link provides an overview, along with contact information:


  151. Lynnon 30 Dec 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you! I have already tried to reach out, with no response. I will keep trying. I was hoping that maybe someone had experienced this before. Thank you again

  152. Tieonon 04 Feb 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I was in Germany before here so how would I go about filing???? Do I go through the state we was living when she joined????

  153. Anneon 09 Feb 2015 at 6:34 pm

    My husband will be receiving orders to PCS to a US Embassy overseas soon. We are currently stationed in California. I am having a difficult time finding information about qualifying for Unemployment Benefits. Would I qualify? Any information would help. Thank you.

  154. Sandraon 17 Feb 2015 at 1:56 pm

    What happens if your service member has EASd and you return to your home of record. Does this count as a military move?

  155. Sandraon 17 Feb 2015 at 1:58 pm

    What happens if my husband EAS’s and we move home. Is this a military move?

  156. Danielleon 09 Mar 2015 at 11:57 pm

    #Mel and #Jes, you can still apply for unemployment even when you are on LWOP because you are not getting paid. Basically, LWOP is saying that you are a Government employee and yes it will give you preferred status at your next Duty Station but you are still not getting paid and that is where the unemployment helps to offset some of the loss in wages. When I joined my husband on his PCS form Kansas to Korea I went on LWOP and collected unemployment until I found a job here in Korea.

    What I am curious now is that we are in Korea and getting ready to PCS in June, but we still don’t know where to. I am hoping I will be able to collect unemployment from somewhere when we leave here to help offset my lost wages and the large expense it costs to move overseas that the government does not cover. Anyone have experience with this?

  157. Cocoon 12 Mar 2015 at 11:21 am

    Hi All,
    Thanks for providing this site. Such great resource. I left my job in Massachusetts to PCS with my husband to Japan in 2013. I was initially approved to receive benefits (and luckily found a job within the year as well) however a year later was sent a letter we had to return all the unemployment money. It’s now a year later through all the appeals and they are stating our move would have to have been on one of the 50 states which is not what is listed on any of their law books. On the other side I am also being told that technically we live on US territory here in Okinawa since we live on base so we don’t really live outside the US (not sure if this is right but since I pay MA taxes and am technically still a MA residence (I vote there, maintain citizenship there). I also have to pay MA taxes now that i have my current job here which seems rather idiotic to have to repay everything only to continue to pay the state that denied me benefits in the first place. I have no idea what is right or wrong anymore and their law books don’t say anything about benefits being received by having to move within the 50 states, which we keep asking them to point it out and we just get a vague answer from an appeals worker. And then we always have to argue we are not technically considered overseas for all other purposes.
    It’s frustrating and a lot of money we don’t have to have to pay back. Any thoughts? I completely understand if we don’t have a case but they keep flip-flopping with different reasons on denying my claim (one claims person even stated I was applying for benefits from China -I’ve never been to China nor would there even be a US military base there but she wasn’t buying my insistence on that one.
    I appreciate any help on this and hope all your cases work out as well!

  158. Ericon 03 Apr 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I have received 2 year unaccompanied orders overseas, and my wife can’t come due to our son being in the EFMP program. Do you know if she can file for unemployment in California due to the increased hardship of her having to essentially become a single parent?

  159. Deniseon 03 May 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I submitted my claim to Hawaii after reading your article. I just recently received a notice stating my claim is invalid/rejected because I relocated in advance of my husband’s orders (1 month in advance). They said moving in advance of him to find a home and write offers was not compelling enough. So much for Hawaii helping me out.

  160. Karenon 11 May 2015 at 11:07 am


    I am sorry to hear about your troubles. Each state sets the rules regarding claims. have you tried appealing the decision?

  161. RHarrison 16 May 2015 at 7:22 am

    What about coming from overseas back to the states. Can you file for UI once back in the states?

  162. Dianaon 18 May 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Do you know where I can find information about Hawaii allow military spouses to claim unemployment? I filed unemployment with KY and just was told they I got denied because HI doesn’t recognize the same statues as KY with military spouses leaving their jobs to relocate with their husband. I am waiting for my letter so that I can try to appeal.

  163. Deniseon 18 May 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I filed an appeal and received a notice I have a hearing in a few weeks. In my appeal I included the verbage from the bill that both the House and the State Legislature passed. I hope to have employment before the date of my hearing.

    Here’s the link to the law:

  164. Christinaon 10 Jul 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve been overseas for 2.5 years and have been out of work. This is my husband’s first duty station. We are from California. Is there any way I can claim now after just finding out about this?

  165. Silviaon 16 Aug 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I recently PCS’d with my husband from WA to OK. I filled unemployment with WA but was denined because I am in an LWOP status with the DoD. The LWOP status is suppose to assist with me being eligible for certain positions that are only available for current employees. Do you know of any legislation or court decision out there that might support an appeal to this decision?

  166. Dianaon 16 Aug 2015 at 2:08 pm

    So I appealed KY’s denial and was denied again, this time they are stating that I didn’t leave on good cause because I quit my job to follow my husband, that’s in the military. But they insist that they also allow milspouses to claim unemployment. A spouse would not leave their job if their husband wasn’t pcsing.

  167. Kellyon 11 Sep 2015 at 1:54 pm

    My husband is PCS’ing to Germany. I will lose my current job. I have applied for several jobs overseas but no success. I am coming from Ft.Bliss, TX. Can I apply for unemployment? Should I do this while still in TX or after the relocation?

  168. Karenon 11 Sep 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Kelly, Check with the the State of Texas BEFORE you leave your current position.

  169. Jessica Laceyon 25 Sep 2015 at 5:28 am

    I know to contact my state for official word but I’m curious if a military spouse has left a job in an overseas location (Turkey) and PCS’d with their military member spouse to another overseas location (Japan) and been able to receive benefits because their state of residence (Indiana) is a ‘yes’ state?

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