Military Spouses and Moving

The loss of a military spouse's employment is frequently part of the PCS (Permanent Change of Station) reality. Many military spouses report that they lose significant family income when moving from state to state. Finding a job in a new state can be a challenge, especially if there are state-specific licensing and certification requirements. Fortunately, there are a few resources out there for spouses who are moving.

Unemployment Compensation for Spouses

Unemployment compensation can be an important part of the solution for military families who cannot afford to lose income following a military move. 

Many states provide eligibility for unemployment compensation to military spouses who are "trailing" their service member on a PCS to a new state. Most states recognize that when a military family moves for duty, quitting is not “voluntary” and therefore allow the trailing military spouse to receive unemployment compensation. Some states will let spouses work part time while looking for full time work without decreasing benefits. You may also be eligible for unemployment benefits while re-certifying or relicensing, if necessary.

Spouses should file unemployment compensation claims in the state in which employment was held, not in the new duty station state. Each state operates its own unemployment insurance program. Find contact information for your state here.

Transferring State Licensing and Certifications

Many occupations require a state license, often with state-specific conditions and processes. Military spouses who work in fields that require such licensing might experience lengthy reemployment delays when moving between states. Some spouses may ultimately decide not to practice in their professions, which can be a difficult financial and career choice for military families.

Spouses with careers that require state licenses can prepare for moves by:

  • Checking this map to see whether the state they are moving to supports the transfer of licenses.
  • Checking the Department of Labor guide to local and regional programs and services, including the state employment office.
  • Utilizing the Spouse Education & Career Opportunities website to connect with a career coach, research career opportunities, or build a resume.
  • Setting aside some funds to cover the cost of getting a new license or maintaining a current license.

While moving can create challenges for military spouses, preparation and research can soften the impact. Spouses may also consult with employment readiness professionals at the family center on their local installation.

From the FINRA Foundation

Visit MilitarySaves.org or the FINRA Foundation’s www.SaveAndInvest.org for more information and resources. Take the Military Saves Pledge today and receive motivation to achieve financial success.

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