Can You Just Quit a Job and Collect Unemployment?

Updated on March 15, 2010
V.M. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
18 answers

Hi Moms,

My husband is driving me nuts. I hope that someone out there has been in my situation and can offer some advice. Here's the situation: My husband has been with his company for about 15 years. He is a specialist that has a rare skill set that is very difficult to find a job in using those particular skills. And, the best part, he won't even consider doing something else even relatively close in skills!! God, help me:) I don't want to get into specifics about what exactly he does in case someone from his company sees this. So, please understand. His job requires him to travel about 40% of the time. Well, he has been onsite at a job in FL and we live in MI. Now he has been out of state for 18 months now and is able to only come home 2 weekends per month, due to travel cost cutting. We have two young kids. We cannot move down there because we don't know when this project will end, no one in management knows or has a clue, plus, in his line of work, there are no jobs in FL. I've been looking in MI for a job for him, but every time I suggest a possible lead, he chews me out! Mind you, I am not uneducated here, either. I know what he does and am trying to help him, but it's becoming frustrating. He will only consider jobs with his specific skill set. Also, I want to add, that he is not a contract employee, this is an at-will job. I got so mad this afternoon, that I finally told him, just quit your damn job, come home and we'll figure it out. I'm soooo sick of hearing about it. I don't know what else to do, how to be more supportive, this has been going on for sooooo long. Can anyone offer some advice if you've been in this situation? Forget asking him to talk to his bosses, he says they don't listen either. Does anyone know: Can you quit an at-will job and still collect unemployment? Sorry, if this whole post sounds rambling, but I'm at my wits end. I've suggested that I'd find a job in my field and he told me not to!! Ugg!!

Thanks for reading,


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Wow really don't usually do this but really have you read what you just posted and do you realize what many of us are going through right now. He has a job quit your complaining. Do you have any clue what it is like being on unemployment. Don't screw the rest of us out there who Truly need unemployment benefits because he is a little unhappy! being in an unhappy job right now is much better then no job at all. Wow I can't believe there are people out there who think to take advantage of unemployment when there are those who are truly in need! This is just mind boggling!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

No, usually if YOU quit a job, you cannot collect unemployment.

Next, does your Hubby even "want" to find another job? He does not seem to want to. He seems to like his job and his skill set and is specialized in that. So, what will talking to his Boss do? Finding him another job within the same company? And, the job has certain demands to it... and his living away from home. So well, that is the way it is. The Bosses cannot make special arrangements for him.... and have him be at work less and at home more. What about the other specialists like him, at his company? What do they do?

Also, perhaps your Husband likes his job and the travel/location of his job and being away from home. Did you consider that? Maybe he likes not being home...and having 2 lives. Because... if he did NOT like it... HE would have found something else by now, ON his own.

This situation of "you" trying to find another job for him... seems to be your idea? And not his. There is the futility in it all.

I know... him being away is not good for you or the family nor for a marriage. But if he does not come to that same feeling or conclusion... then I don't see how it will change, on his part.
Any person... if THEY are REALLY hating their job or unhappy... WILL do something about it and find other jobs or alternatives. Your Husband.. is not displaying those wants. Himself.
He seems to like his existence.
That is why he gets irked and chews you out when you suggest any possible leads.
Also... be very careful about "your" finding a job for him... because Employers, do not like it when a spouse is interfering in a job process or hiring... it does not create a good impression, for the one looking for a job. Head-Hunters, do not look favorably on it.

All the best,

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Hi M., I have been in a similar situation, kind of, lol. At the beginning of my marriage my husbands job took him away from home most of the time. Not only that we were constantly moving only for him to transfer months later. He climbed the ladder and pay scale fast and was pushing further and further. While his salary kept going up, he missed birthday parties, holidays, 1st steps and I missed him. We lived comfortably financially and thought we were making sacrifices for our future and our son. then the rug was ripped out from underneath us and he lost his job. At the time we both thought it was the end of the world. We had just bought our "dream" home and had not even made the 1st mortgage payment yet. I never could imagine the life lessons I learned from that experience and I thought I would share.
1) We work to live, not Live to work
often times our identities are wrapped up in our professions
2) The more money you make, the higher your bills are
3) As long as your family is healthy, everything else can work it's self out

Fast forward 6 years
We make $40,000 less a year and we both work.
We own a house that is half the size of the one we lost... But half the mortgage payment
Our cars are not as nice, but work just fine
My husband works 50hrs a week, instead of 70. He coaches little league and basketball. He tucks our son in every night and puts him on the bus in the am. Our lives are so much fuller once we realized that we could live on less and still have more.
It took so long for him to understand that his real job is to be a father and husband. He identified himself so much by what he was doing professionally. This is what I think your husband needs to realize. And then he will be able to make the changes to come home. Do not count on unemployment. Come up with a plan together even better if you can share the responsibilities of bringing home the bacon. It will all work out. Keep your chin up. But NO quitting his job until you have a plan.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

My husband works out of state as well and we see him sometimes.
My husband misses alot of stuff in our lifes as well, but we all love each other and we understand that he needs to work out of state so that we can pay the bills and live.
Be thankful for his job, support him ~ don't fight with him!

You do not want him to feel like ( oh I guess I need to call or oh I guess I will drive home to see them because I have too. )

No fighting, tell him how much you miss him. Tell him how thankful you all are for all of his hard work for his family. Tell him how proud you are of him.
Praise him, because you want him to miss you and want to be with you. Men need to feel wanted and they need to know that we are proud of them.

In my eyes, I want to make sure that I am the one praising him and making him feel good instead of another woman that he works with. Specially since he is so far away.

I wish you the best with this, God bless you and your family.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Dear M.,
The answer to your question is basically NO.
"At will" employment is simply an agreement that the employer can terminate you at any time and you can quit at any time with no advance notice. It's not the nice thing to do, but at least in California, there are no legal ramifications on either end for doing so.
That said, quitting your job voluntarily virtually entitles you to nothing unless you have the right to transfer some employee 401k benefits or something like that.
In this economy, giving up a job is just about the craziest thing a person could possibly do. No matter how much they hate it. Quitting is just out of the question unless you have a better, more stable job to go to. In California, even if you get fired or laid off through no fault of your own, the maximum is 400 and some dollars a week. Can you live on $1600 per month if his employers were to let him go? If not, don't even consider the quitting option which will result in zero.
If he's made it clear he doesn't want you helping him to find another job, you may just have to realize that he is venting his frustrations to you and leave it at that. He probably gripes and I'll bet you do your share of griping too because it's not easy having him gone. Think carefully of the alternatives.
There are people who have been out of work for 2 years. They've lost their homes, their cars, their healthcare, families have split up over it. Thank God your husband having to take a job outside his field hasn't been forced on him yet. From what you say, if he quits his job, it certainly will be and you might not find yourselves any happier.
There are people in homeless shelters and living in tent cities because they can't find work. Google "homeless due to unemployment" and you will find people who exptected to retire with their companies and are losing everything if they haven't already.
Unfortunately, it sounds like you are going to have to compromise and ride things out the best you can since relocating to where he works seems sketchy. Even something comparable in MI could be sketchy too.
Be thankful he is working.
Don't borrow trouble by advising him to quit. It could be the biggest mistake of your life.
I have a friend who didn't think her husband was being treated fairly at work so she started sending out resumes and calling to try to schedule interviews for him. First of all, he didn't appreciate it, second of all, no one responded and I tried to tell her it was kind of weird for her to be trying to get her husband another job. If he wanted a different job, he would have done it and contacted those people himself.
I know you say you have little kids. Are they in daycare or preschool at all? What about you getting a part time job during the week to kind of take your mind off of what he's doing about his job? Volunteer to help at a local church or food drive. You're in MI where it's freezing cold. Start a coat donation drive. Fill your time with giving to those who are really in trouble and pray that you will have help if you find yourself in their shoes.
It can happen in a second.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

No you can not collect unemployment if you quit trust me I've tried too. My husband is usually gone for an entire year and only gets to come home for two weekends in a year. But that's the price I pay for being a military wife. I am sorry he is being so picky, doesn't he know that right now isn't the time to be picky with the economy the way it is? The best advice I can give you is you need to tell him to stop being picky and think of his family not himself. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet just to make money to keep your family alive and well. Good luck :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Well, to me it sounds like he rather likes his situation - being in another state and "only" being able to come home 2 weekends a month.
Uh please!
A job is a job, and it cannot be THAT important that he over looks seeing his family for about 96 hours a month.
It's time for an ultimatum.
And NO, you cannot collect unemployment if you quit. He'd have to get fired or let go somehow.
But again, it sounds like he is not willing to try anything to accomodate his family.
Get down to the real problem.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

Occasionally someone gets away with it, but only if they slip through. The way it works (at least in my state): you get laid off, you go online or call the unemployment office to start your claim. You give them all the relevant info about your job including your immediate supervisors. They will ask why you lost your job. If you got fired with cause (you did something wrong) or quit, it is automatically denied. Then someone from unemployment basically does a background check and verifies all the info. If you LIE, you have to hope they don't check. But they will call your supervisors and ask why you are out of work. If supervisor or HR says you quit, it gets denied. So basically you have to hope they dont check up on you. That can happen sometimes because they are so overworked right now. But they will still get around to it eventually. Then you have to pay back what you were paid out in unemployment, and you can be prosecuted for fraud. And I think its a federal offense. Or you can hope that HR will lie and say they laid you off, but that is doubtful, because they pay a portion of your unemployment. So they are not going to do that.

Sorry but you are out of luck there. And to quit a decent job without another one lined up in this economy is foolish. The average time spent unemployed is 6 months to a year. And that is for people that have a skill set that is in demand.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

I completely understand that you want your husband home. Your situation sounds just like a military family. Think about the soldiers who are deployed and can't even come home twice a month! We have been there & done that. Having my husband home twice a month would have been a blessing!

As others have said, be thankful he has a job. My husband has been without a job (other than his 1 weekend a month National Guard duties) for 6 months now. It's really tough out there :(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

NO-You cannot collect and quit

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Nope. Unemployment is for people who are out of work, looking for work, and not yet able to find any. If he HAS a job, obviously, work is available to him. He can quit if he want's to, but you can't expect social services to pick up the tab.

Have you tried talking to him about how stressed and lonely you feel when he is away, but in a non-accusatory way. Like without bringing up the fact that you want him to change jobs... Maybe put it to him just as a means of solving the problem. It's possible he'll come to "I need to get a job closer to home" as a solution on his own. It's also possible that the two of you will come up with another solution that will work.

I really hope this works out for you.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chico on

Dear M.,

Sorry to hear that you are feeling such stress. It sounds like your husband is content with the way things are- and if he's not, he doesn't want you to help "fix" it. If he is complaining about his job and the situation (you say you are soooo sick of hearing about it), then you need to let him know that you cannot take the complaining any more, especially if he shoots down your every idea to make it better. Limit your conversations to the kids and life other than his job. It sounds to me like you need to find support for you while he is away, and I agree with the others who have suggested joining a mothers' group for support and socialization. You are certainly not in an easy situation, and I hope for the sake of your family that the FL project is complete soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i agree with the others, unemployment is not for when you quit a job. it sounds like the actual problem is that he travels and is gone too much? this is something you need communicate to him somehow. it sounds like this is a serious issue for you, he needs to know that. for some reason (probably distance, emotionally as well as geographically) he is not really getting that this is an actual problem. you're going to have to get through to him somehow and the two of you will have to work together to find a solution. but try to keep in mind, in the meantime, there are many who can't find work at all, or are working at walmart or mcdonald's to make ends meet. it could be worse. it does sound like you are blessed in many other ways. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

Nope! If you quit you are on your own. And I think there are even special circumstances that go along with how you lose your job will effect the unemployment and whether you qualify.

Just from reading your letter it doesn't sound like he's bothered by the situation with his work. Is he? I can understand why you would be bothered though. I would hate it if my hubby could only come home 2 weekends a month.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Everyone is right, you almost never can collect unemployment if you quit. However, I would not recommend quiting in this job market. It is really ugly out there. My husband finally got a job after 13 mos. (yes, it is out of state) and he has a masters degree in engineering, and 15 yrs. experience. But, because his skills and experience were pretty specific in one area (similar to your husband), it was a very long haul. Until this economy gets better, you really better have another job lined up before leaving current or you could potentially be off for years...literally, years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Obviously, you've gotten enough responses to know that no you can't just quit and receive unemployment. Something else to keep in mind, unemployment is a fraction of what he would be making. I don't know how it works in Michigan, but in Texas you have to continue to apply and your benefits can be terminated with no notice. So, you never know when your benefits will end.

It sounds like you are feeling the stress of being at home alone. I am a single mom AND I have to travel for my job--arranging care for my toddler is a job in itself (nevermind the crushing guilt I feel when I'm away). The only people that think business travel is glamorous don't have to do it.

Please find yourself a mother's group or play group where you can get some socialization and support.



answers from Topeka on

As a general rule when you quit a job(employment) you can't collect unemployment.You can file when your fired for any reason but it has to be approved before you can collect,laid off or job closing is easier to get unemployment.


answers from Chicago on

I don't know how your state is. In Ontario CA if you quit your job you are not entitled to EI. The only reason that they would accept this is if there is a reason that you have to leave and still its hard. Its obvious that he loves what he's doing and it doesn't look like he's about to change, I know how stressful this must be for you and the children. I know as you said he doesn't want you working but maybe something P/T may help you yourself. There are times when we are the stay at home moms' that we feel inadequate (if thats the right word) but it also makes you feel better about yourself. It sounds to me like your self esteem is down which is understandable. We have to have people to interact with as adults to. As well (god forbid) if something ever happened to your husband at least you have a leg to stand on. Being unemployed for a long period of time and then trying to get back into the work force is hard. Even though companies shouldn't hold it against us unfortunately they do. It wrong because you want to be with your children, but I think companies think that you may not last since your so used to being at home. I wish you all the best. Hopefully hubby will understand your situation. I know from my own experience, my husband was gone all week and only home on wknds. I took on a job in the Healthcare Field P/T and I felt better knowing that I was contributing to the family and the kids enjoyed the fact as well. Then I went on to school bus driving where I had my children with me, taking them to school. I asked them outright, would you like mommy to work? Their response was "no" what if something happens to us and your not home. The bus driving seemed to fill in that void and I was still at home for the kids when they got home and they knew I was there for them. Give it some thought before jumping into a F/T employment. If your husband is in agreeance I think it would be good for your ego just to be someone! Take care and good luck!!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions