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Unemployment Benefits Allowed For Military Spouses

Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis recently announced changes to unemployment laws that allow a spouse of military personnel facing a military transfer to collect unemployment benefits if they quit their job. In most cases voluntarily quitting a job makes an applicant ineligible for unemployment benefits.

“This expansion of eligibility for unemployment is the right thing to do in supporting Tennessee’s military families whom are often affected by military transfers,” said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis.  “Lawmakers and the Governor have created this temporary assistance and protected employers from additional tax burdens, which is ideal for everyone involved.” Typically employers pay higher taxes when they lay off a worker and unemployment insurance is approved.

The bill that was sponsored by Senator Tim Barnes and state Representative Joe Pitts of Clarksville was signed by Governor Haslam in April, but $278,800 in appropriations for the measure became available to claimants in July.

“The Governor’s support of this bill shows that Tennesseans truly care about our military families,” State Representative Joe Pitts said. “This is a tangible way to show our support and gratitude to our veterans, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to do so.”

“With the passage of unemployment benefits for military spouses, Tennessee became the twelfth state in the nation to attain all of the Department of Defense’s desired outcomes regarding military spouses,” said Sen. Barnes. “I am proud that Tennessee is leading the way in showing how our military families should be treated.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects more than 70 families could take advantage of the benefits during this fiscal year. Funding for these benefits is paid from the state’s General Fund rather than from the state’s unemployment trust fund. Tennessee is the fortieth state to allow benefits for trailing spouses.

The only exception to the new eligibility laws are assignments outside the United States, Canada, or any United States territory. Federal law prohibits the payment of unemployment benefits to claimants outside these areas.

Claims can be filed on the Internet at or by the phone. A dedicated phone line has been established to take initial claims for military spouses. The number is (866) 331-1271 ext 7590.