Governor includes unemployment benefits for military spouses - WSMV News 4

Governor includes unemployment benefits for military spouses in budget

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Following concerns of many military families, Gov. Bill Haslam has chosen to include unemployment benefits for military spouses in the budget for this year.

"You never know when you have to go," said military spouse Kim Taylor of Clarksville. "They could come in next month and say, 'you're leaving, and you're going to be a thousand miles from here.'"

Taylor said her big concern is if her husband is transferred, she could struggle to find new work in a tough economy.

"We've discussed how it'd change our lifestyles, and we need to make sure that if we move and I'm not able to find a job, we can still make it," said Taylor.

State Sen. Tim Barnes and Rep. Joe Pitts have filed a bill that would have the state provide unemployment benefits to military spouses forced to leave their job because of their soldier being transferred.

"Tennessee is currently one of only 11 states that does not extend those benefits," said Barnes."That's been on the Department of Defense wish list, and we felt that would be a good thing and tangible thing we could do to help our military families."

The bill carries an estimated annual cost of $278,000.

"It passed through the Senate Commerce Committee, and it is now in finance," said Barnes. "With it being in the budget, we think it'll move quickly through finance, and it will move in the House."

"It makes it a lot more easy and a lot less stressful on the family relationship if you know you have a little cushion to fall back on if you are unable to find a job," said Taylor. "It just takes some of that anxiety away."

The House version of the bill is now scheduled for a February hearing.

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