If I was denied unemployment benefits when I moved out-of-state, what are my options?

My husband was offered a job but has to go to school for 6 months first. So we moved out of ID to WA, where the school is that he’s required to go to. We weighed out the options of me staying until his schooling was over but I was only making $9.25 an hour and both rents would cost us $1,100 plus utilities and food. I also had to take into account that we have 4 kids to take care of and 1 vehicle, that we’re borrowing from my parents. So my income wasn’t going to be enough to pay for 2 households. I filed an appeal and it’s in a couple of days. What can I do?

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you probably can't do anything. A person is not eligible for unemployment benefits if he or she voluntarily leaves a job, except in the very narrow instance of the person voluntarily leaving the job because the employer changed the job in some way as to make it effectively impossible to do (often called "constructive termination")--for example, switched a day shift person to night shift, or transferred a worker to somewhere he'd have to commute 2 1/2 to 3 hours to get to.

However, from what you write, that is not what happened. Instead, you voluntarily choose to relocate and leave your job. It may have been for good reasons; it may well have been the best decision for your family; but it's still your choice, not the result of employee actions, and hence something you can receive unemployment compensation for.

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