Can I receive unemployment benefits if I have to re-locate because my husband was transferred?

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Can I receive unemployment benefits if I have to re-locate because my husband was transferred?

My husband and I worked in KS and he put in for a job transfer to MN. I have been unable to find a job in MN. He is the “breadwinner” of the family.

Asked on August 18, 2011 Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that unemployment benefits differ greatly from state-to-state. Many states have what is known as a “trailing spouse” provision contained in their unemployment laws. This provision allows a person who has had to quit their job in order to relocate with their spouse to collect unemployment benefits at their new homes. This is done in the interest of keeping the family together. My research suggests that both KS and MN are such states. At this point you should contact MN's Department of labor for details.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately no, you cannot get unemployment benefits when you transfer to follow a spouse. Unemployment compensation is not available for "voluntary" separations from employment, and for this purpose, leaving a job is "voluntary" if it's your choice to do so--even if you had very good reasons, like a family relocation. Only if the separation from employment was occasioned by something the employer did--e.g. they fired or laid you off; they transfered you to a different location, too far away to work at without having to uproot your family; etc.--can you get unemployment compensation. Your own decision to relocate for your husband's job, however, is not something your employer did, so you can't collect unemployment insurance.


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