Legislature approves funding for military spouses

Posted on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:42 am

Labor & Workforce Development Acting Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the 108th General Assembly passed legislation that continues the funding of unemployment benefits for spouses who quit their job to accompany military personnel who leave their jobs to transfer to a new assignment. Funding for the program for the current fiscal year was nearly exhausted, prompting the legislative action. 

“We’re pleased the General Assembly approved appropriation for this benefit to trailing spouses for the remainder of this fiscal year as well as for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013,” said Phillips. “This action shows support of our military families and we hope lessens the stress that goes with active duty transfers.” 

Voluntarily quitting a job to move usually makes a worker ineligible for unemployment benefits; however, this legislation expands eligibility for those spouses who are included in a permanent change of station order to a new location. This expansion does not adversely affect an employer’s experience rating, that is, his taxes are not increased. 

Last year’s legislative session passed the bill allocating $278,800 in state funds for unemployment benefits to civilian spouses who leave employment because of a military move. The administration’s amendment passed earlier this month provides a non-recurring supplemental amount of $130,000 through June 30, 2013. The amendment also makes available a recurring addition of $150,000 for a total of $428,800 through June 30, 2014. 

At the time the bill was passed this year, 87 claimants had applied for unemployment insurance under this provision, with 78 having been approved and nine denied; the denials were mostly the result of transfers outside the country, which are an exception to the eligibility law. The service member’s permanent change of station order to a new location must be within the United States, its territories, or Canada.

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