Senate Budget Panel Approves Unemployment Protection For Military Spouses

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley Turner to permit spouses of armed forces personnel who are forced to relocate outside of the State to collect unemployment benefits was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“Regularly moving from one military base to another can be very difficult on the families of those who serve our nation,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “They shouldn’t be forced to lose their financial well-being just to stay together. In my mind, that goes against true American family values.”

The bill, S-746/2104, provides that if a spouse is otherwise eligible in all respects to obtain unemployment benefits, then he or she may receive those benefits. The bill was introduced to avoid the problem created when a member of the armed forces is ordered to move outside the State and the member’s family usually is forced to relocate requiring the spouse to quit their job. Current law prohibits the spouse from qualifying for unemployment insurance benefits because the separation from work was voluntary and without good cause attributable to the work.

“These people are not willingly giving up their jobs,” said Senator Turner. “They shouldn’t be held to the same standards as those individuals who voluntarily quit their jobs. Our military families make so many sacrifices, both on and off the battlefield, we should try and reduce the challenges they must face on the home front.”

The bill was approved by a vote of 12-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their approval.

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