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Military spouses eligible for unemployment benefits following PCS

  • Published
  • By Yaneris Dolce
  • 66th Air Base Group Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

Military spouses often move with their service member, which can mean having to leave a place of employment. Depending on the location of a new assignment, spouses may be eligible for unemployment compensation.

More than 42 states, including Texas, now allow military spouses to receive unemployment benefits in some form. Personnel and spouses can visit and select “unemployment benefits” for specific states.

To apply for unemployment due to a permanent change of station, a military spouse should:

  • Submit a copy of spouse’s orders with request.
  • Ensure “permanent change of station” is listed on all documentation as the reason for leaving a position.
  • Prior to leaving a position, notify employer in writing that “permanent change of station” is the reason for leaving and retain a copy of that letter.

Most states allow employees to quit or resign from a position 30 days prior to the report date listed on military orders. It is important to note the date of leaving a position if planning to apply for unemployment.

There are varying state eligibility requirements that must be met in order to retain unemployment compensation. After filing for unemployment and being granted wages, the respective state may require members to register with a local workforce center to ensure personnel are actively searching for a job.  

Unemployment offices will likely offer services to assist in job searching, such as résumé building, practicing interview skills, and career counseling. Military support agencies, such as Military and Family Readiness Centers, are also an available resource to help in the search for new employment. 

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program offers military spouses comprehensive education and career support, including career coaches who can help with career exploration, education and employment readiness through connections with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership and

SECO career coaches are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visit for more information about SECO.