Salute to Spouses Blog

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Lose Job Due to PCS? File for Unemployment

During PCS you move away from friends, lose your favorite hair salon and sometimes, have to walk away from a job you love.

The sting cuts deeper because you lose a career you may have loved, as well as the income that comes with it. The Military Officers Association of America reports that military spouses lose six to nine months of income after a PCS move as they search for another job.

In years past, military spouses were not eligible for unemployment payments because the rules dictated that they made a choice to leave. Military spouses cried foul, legislators reacted and many states began to recognize that no, we did not choose, Uncle Sam told us to leave.

Only a handful of states offered unemployment benefits to PCSing military spouses at first. Now, 45 states and the District of Columbia grant the benefits to military spouses who leave on military orders.

States who continue to deny these benefits are: Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio and Vermont.

Now, there is no sweeping national law or benefit. Each state has enacted its own set of rules regarding unemployment for military spouses.

To learn the specifics for your state, visit the website for the National Conference of State Legislators at

In their search box type: spousal employment issues

You will find information about your individual’s state’s unemployment rules as well as a trove of information regarding the rights of military families and state laws.

You can also visit MOAA’s site for more information:

The organization does a great job of following legislative issues that impact military families.

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