Can you quit to follow your spouse in Pennsylvania?

by Philip
(Philadelphia, PA)

I left my job after two years of service to follow my spouse. She was going to graduate school in the state but had to go to one that is three hours away. I was denied a claim due to insufficient evidence that I had to move. I am in the appeal process. Anyway on the appeal I stated that we considered separating but we have a son that is dependent on his mother for food. I have also been looking for a new job in the area and have submitted paperwork of jobs that I applied for. It is also important to note that my wife had to go to school to increase employment opportunities as well as the closest school with her area of concentration was three hours away. I would like to know if my claim is going to hold up?

Thanks,

Hi Philip,

I'm assuming the determination denied your benefits because it was found you quit for reasons not considered compelling or necessary.

Pennsylvania's unemployment website says: "Spouse following spouse - To be eligible, the claimant must show that the reason for the spouse's relocation was beyond the spouse's control, and that such relocation created economic circumstances which could not be overcome or that it was economically impossible to maintain two residences.

Your burden of proof is two-fold.

You probably won't have trouble with the second part, but may have some trouble trying to prove the relocation was beyond your spouse's control. The fact that it was school and not a paying job that forced the relocation is the problem.

I doubt that your attempts to find suitable work will be an issue at the hearing, and that paperwork will help little to prove that your spouse's need, and subsequently your need to relocate was "compelling and neccesitous".

PA's statute 402B is a broad statute and the term compelling and neccesitous is open to interpretation by the referee, but it would be nice to have a PA precedent decision which supports your situation. Otherwise, focus on the compelling reasons for the need to transfer to another school.

Pennsylvania UC case law is sparse on the internet, but if you find one, let us know and let us know how it goes. I'm sure you're not the only one in this position.

Good Luck,
Chris

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