Georgia military spouses eligible for unemployment insurance after PCSing

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
Moving may be a way of life for military families, but when a family receives permanent change of station orders there are obstacles to overcome before the new station feels like home.

Family members have to sell existing homes and find new homes at their new station. One of the biggest stressors for many spouses is starting a job search.

Georgia understands the angst and has found a way to ease the stress of relocating and finding a new job by offering unemployment insurance to the spouses of military personnel who receive orders from a duty station in Georgia to another location within the United States.

Georgia is one of only a few states who has a provision within the law for military spouses who relocate because of their spouse's military commitment, said Keith Ribnick, unemployment program specialist with the U.S. Department of Labor.

"If a person lives in a state that doesn't allow it, they would view it as a voluntary quit without good cause. Those from the few states that actually have a provision for a spouse who moves with a spouse for a new position would receive a determination and start receiving monetary benefits," Mr. Ribnick said. "The bottom line is it is up to the individual state if they offer benefits to military spouses who are relocating to a new duty station."

A military spouse who resides in Georgia and then relocates to a new duty station somewhere else in the U.S. is eligible to apply for unemployment insurance once they arrive to their new duty station, according to a law passed in July of 2005.

Before the law was passed, Georgia military spouses would not have been eligible for unemployment benefits when accompanying their spouse to a new assignment.

Denise Beckwith, UIS systems and procedure analyst with the Georgia Department of Labor, said the program is designed to benefit military members and their spouses because military members typically don't have a choice when new duty assignments are given.

The law, however, does not apply to military spouses whose spouses' orders are to overseas duty stations.

The law also does not apply to military personnel who are relocating to Georgia based on military orders; new assignments are based on the state of previous residence, said Ms. Beckwith.

"They will be filing against another state so the laws of that state apply, not Georgia's laws," she said.

The program for those relocating from the state of Georgia is overseen by the Georgia Department of Labor, who handles the claims and payments for the unemployment insurance.

There are a few things military spouses should be aware of before they turn in their resignation and apply for the unemployment benefits when they are dislocated from Georgia, Ms. Beckwith said.

The main requirement before making the move is to be sure to continue working until at least 30 days before the new assignment begins. To be eligible for the insurance, a person must resign within 30 days of the transfer, Ms. Beckwith said.

The claim filed will be an interstate claim, which means no paperwork has to be done before you depart Georgia for your spouse's new duty station. All of the required paperwork will be filled out once you arrive to your new duty station.

"An interstate claim allows the other state to act as an agent for them and help them complete the required forms," Ms. Beckwith added.

She encourages spouses to report to the new state of residence's department of labor office as soon as possible and inform them you recently moved from Georgia because of your spouses military assignment.

"Do it immediately because their claim is effective from the day they file. We don't go back to the last day of employment," Ms. Beckwith said.

The other mandatory requirement for eligibility is registering with the new state of residence's employment services, which assists you in finding a new job, she said.