When an evacuation occurs, family members who are employed within a US Mission overseas often must leave post and their jobs. Below is valuable information on unemployment compensation for those evacuated family members who experience employment disruption.

Family members who choose to apply for unemployment compensation should be reminded that requirements and services provided vary from state to state. As an example, the Virginia Employment Commission not only provides unemployment compensation but a variety of counseling and job referral services as well. Family members should check with the local employment commissions in their respective states of residence for specific information on eligibility, benefits and services.

We provide the following links to Washington, D.C. area employment commissions and offices. Again, family members outside the Washington metropolitan area should check their respective state web sites for assistance: Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia

For some spouses, temporary employment or volunteering simply isn't feasible or does not meet the financial needs of the family. Personal factors such as lack of childcare, limitations of professional field (need to establish credentials), or safe-haven location all influence these decisions. Spouses in this predicament may still need to find a financial substitute for the income lost because of the evacuation. This situation spurs many spouses to investigate the possibilities of unemployment compensation. FLO has researched the evacuation / unemployment scenario and can advise you that there is no clear or definitive answer. Each case is determined on its own merits and a decision made by a state government employee may appear arbitrary. To assist you in your visit to a state's unemployment office, FLO provides the following guidelines:

  • Apply to a state where you can claim residency either through property ownership, voting rights, or taxes.
  • Take with you documentation that proves you are employed.
  • Take proof of evacuation such as travel orders.
  • Emphasize your lack of control or choice in leaving your position.

Evacuations are stressful on a variety of fronts, but underlying the evacuation experience is the feeling that one has little or no control over one's life. Being prepared and knowing your options will help alleviate some of the stress. Spousal employment disruption is often ignored during the preparation process. Therefore, it is advisable to add temporary employment and unemployment compensation materials to your hand carry evacuation materials before a crisis occurs.

Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office