Virginia Now Offering Unemployment To Military Spouses

June 18, 2014 | Kate Horrell

Beginning 1 July 2014, military spouses who have worked in Virginia will be eligible for unemployment compensation if they leave their job to follow their spouse to a new duty station.

Virginia State Senate Bill 18 was passed in March 2014, and broadens the definition of “good cause” for leaving a job.  Voluntary resignation to follow a PCSing active duty spouse will now be considered “good cause” and will therefore allow those former Virginia employees to claim unemployment benefits, provided that the state to which they move provides similar benefits.  After the Virginia law changes on 1 July, this will include every state except Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Vermont.  (Ohio has been working on this issue.)

The non-availability of unemployment has been a regular complaint of military spouses who worked in Virginia and resigned from their job to move with their active duty husband or wife.  This change will be most welcome by those folks!


  1. Mac says:

    Does this cover PCS orders to go overseas?

  2. Kate says:

    Mac, I think it should. It is still the same situation: you are claiming unemployment in Virginia based upon the fact that you have to leave Virginia due to your spouse's PCS orders.

    Let us know what happens if you apply.

  3. Tmj says:

    I was just denied. I guess because I'm returning to the states from Overseas and my employment wasn't in Virginia.

    • Kate says:

      Tmj, benefits are paid by the state in which you were previously employed. Therefore, you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits from Virginia.

  4. I have my phone hearing to determine eligibility in VA tomorrow morning! I turned in a copy of the PCS orders with the letter of resignation for my teaching position. Let's see what happens…

  5. AMR says:

    I had my appeal hearing today for benefits. I will let you know the outcome in a few weeks.

    • AMR says:

      My appeal was denied as I filed my claim early June and the new legislation is effective July 1, 2014. We will appeal this decision and write a letter to the congresswoman who helped this law pass. We will see what happens. Like others this is very frustrating as I am doing everything on my end.

  6. pcsmover says:

    I made a PCS move from Virginia in May, and my wife had to leave her job due to the move. We were rejected for Virginia unemployment, and the letter stated that the law specifically calls out military spouses relocating due to PCS move as an invalid cause for leaving a job. REASON: I can only assume…most likely because the new law didn't kick in until 1JUL? She had her APPEAL phone hearing last week, so hopefully she'll hear back soon and is told she's eligible under the new law. For real, though, they make it as DIFFICULT as humanly possible to get anywhere in the system. It's been 3.5 months since the move, and we're STILL nowhere…she isn't even able to file an online weekly claim until the appeal is finalized. That leaves both of us scratching our heads and wondering: even if she's approved, will she lose all 3.5 months of claims since she wasn't allowed to file, or will she be able to claim for the weeks she was in appeal? Either way, she's submitting applications for jobs constantly and hopefully won't have a need for much longer. Seriously though, the process is kind of a joke right now…and there is nobody out there to help.

  7. AMR says:

    Curious to see what your outcome is. My family is in a very similar scenario, however I have still been able to submit my weekly claims despite waiting on an appeal. This week I was denied again but still can make a weekly claim with the hope it will eventually be approved.

    Good luck

  8. PCS says:

    I was denied unemployment in VA. My spouse PCDs overseas but not allowed to bring dependents so I moved to my home town. Unemployment stated I left voluntarily.

    • Kate says:

      I can definitely see this as being a loophole. The law was written to address military spouses who quit their jobs to PCS with their active duty husband or wife. Since you couldn't go with your spouse, you don't fit under the law.

      I'm sorry it has worked out this way for you, but it does make sense.