Ask The Experts: Does Unemployment Hurt My Credit?

Q. My husband is in the Air Force. We got orders for SC from CA in July 2008. I had to quit a really great job for the move. I have been unable to find long term work. I have managed to get two short term temp jobs (about 2.5 months total) but over all it's looking grim. For the most part, we are ok. My husband's BAH pays for our mortgage and his base salary pays most of our bills. In June I will have to begin paying back school loans (about $57k).

I never applied for unemployment because I didn't want to admit we needed it. Now I'm thinking about it but am worried about how it will affect me in the future. Does it show up on credit reports, background checks and so on? We will most likely move in 2012. Will taking unemployment effect our ability to purchase a house in the future? -Kim, SC

A. Kim - No, no, and no. That's the short answer.

The longer answer is reports do not contain salary information and they do not contain information about where you get your income from. There was a time when salaries were on your credit reports but it's been a good 17+ years since they were purged because they weren't based on reliable sources. So, go ahead and file for unemployment. It doesn't have any negative impact on your credit reports or your credit scores. Please thank your husband for serving our country. We appreciate your collective sacrifices.

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John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized credit expert, president of Consumer Education for and contributor to On The Money. Learn more about him at