Support our mission

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — You work hard, you pay your taxes and when it comes time to collect your benefits, you expect to get what you were promised., So the day after Ellen Angeles resigned from her job as a civil engineer due to her husband’s transfer to another military duty station, she filed for unemployment benefits she had paid into during the previous 20 months she’d been working.

Angeles sent all the required paperwork by registered mail. But her request was denied.

Once the family arrived at their new duty station, Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, Angeles began looking for work. And like any good engineer, she meticulously documented her job search and sent it to the Texas Workforce Commission in hopes of receiving unemployment pay.

Still nothing happened.

“They wouldn’t answer me,” Angeles said. “But I wasn’t going to give up.”

She went to the Navy Legal Services Office at Yokosuka for help.

According to Navy lawyer who handled Angeles’ case, after reviewing the Texas commission’s rules, an policy inconsistency was discovered.

“Normally a person can only collect benefits if they are fired,” said the lawyer, who asked not to be named. “But Texas makes an exception for people who quit their jobs due to military PCS (permanent-change-of-station) orders.”

The inconsistency involved where the servicemember was being sent.

“According to my recollection, Texas allows benefits for people PCSing to Canada, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories,” said the lawyer, who sent a letter to Texas unemployment officials. “Well, who gets orders to Canada?”

Soon after, Angeles received word that the Texas commission was going to grant her a hearing over the telephone. But before it occurred, Angeles received a letter granting her unemployment benefits.

Angeles credits Navy Legal Services for the victory.

“People work hard and they pay into these benefits,” the lawyer said. “Angeles was simply asking for the benefits that she believed she had earned.”

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up