Can I Collect Unemployment if I Quit to Relocate With a Spouse?


Unemployment insurance is designed to provide you with financial support when you lose your job and have trouble finding another. Most unemployment programs are run by states and offer funds only when you lose your job due to circumstances beyond your control. But if you are quitting to relocate with your spouse and if you attempt to find a job in the area you are moving to, there still may be a chance for you to draw unemployment insurance.

Voluntary Unemployment

Voluntary unemployment means that you chose to quit your job without any outside interference: you were not fired and did not lose your job due to downsizing or any similar factor. When a person chooses to quit, it typically means that he forfeits any right that he has to unemployment insurance. His unemployment was a choice, not an unexpected event that had impact on his finances. This means that if you choose to quit, for whatever reason, you may find it very difficult to collect unemployment.

Provisions: Relocation

There are several provisions to voluntary employment laws, certain cases in which you might still qualify for unemployment. A common provision is relocation, especially certain types of relocation. For example, if your spouse is in the military and the relocation was involuntary, you should still be able to qualify for unemployment. Likewise, if there are compelling personal reasons, such as a financial situation in which the relocation is necessary and unavoidable, you may still qualify.

Appeal Rights

In most cases, when you quit you will be automatically disqualified for unemployment. In order to collect, you will need to make an appeal to your state. Appeals can be complex. Showing that you quit due to an issue with your employer, or that you tried to arrange a situation where you could continue working but failed may be necessary to collect unemployment. Even when it comes to relocation factors, you should have financial documentation that shows why the move is unavoidable in order to make a strong appeal.


It is difficult to tell if you will be able to qualify for unemployment while relocating with a spouse, because each state has different laws. Some states are lenient and will grant unemployment in such events automatically. Other states will not grant relocation unemployment easily, placing the burden of proof on your shoulders.

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