Relocating to a new duty station every few years typically means you must leave your place of employment. Depending on the state, you may not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits since you voluntarily left your job. However, most states have legislation granting eligibility to military spouses for unemployment compensation when they leave a job due to a permanent change of station or military move.
To find out if your state offers unemployment compensation to mobile military spouses, visit the CareerOneStop Unemployment Benefits page and select your state. Then, click on your state's unemployment department to determine available benefits. Typically, you can file a claim online or call the telephone number provided on the site to start the claims process.
If you are eligible, you should apply for unemployment benefits from the state where you held employment and not the state where you have moved. If you relocate within the same state, your eligibility for compensation may depend on the distance you moved from your previous location. In most cases, your unemployment claim does not charge your previous employer’s account but is covered by the general state unemployment fund. If you are unable to file a claim before you relocate, you may need to go to a local unemployment office in your new location and file an interstate claim.
Make sure to explore other available Department of Labor unemployment resources if you become unemployed. Some programs include:
- Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees
- Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits
- Self-Employment Assistance
Take advantage of the information and resources available to you to be sure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled.
Part-time work, full-time unemployment benefits
While looking for a new permanent job, you may consider working part time and collecting unemployment benefits to increase the money you are contributing to the household. Many states will let you work part time and still collect full-time unemployment benefits, but every state has its own formula for determining how much unemployment a person receives and how much income someone can earn working part time without losing unemployment benefits.
Many states allow you to earn a portion of your unemployment benefits before they begin to decrease. For example, if your monthly unemployment benefit is $500, you may be able to earn up to $250 in part-time income before you will start to lose benefits. Check your state's regulations about what percentage of your benefits you can earn before making any decisions about working part time.
Contact your unemployment office to determine whether its guidelines allow you to work part time while collecting benefits. Remember, you will be required to pay taxes on the full amount of benefits you receive when you file your federal income tax return.
If you have questions about finding employment, creating a budget, managing transition or any other education or employment topic, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to speak with a SECO career coach. You can also use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website for additional guidance.