Are You Eligible For The Military’s Unemployment Program?

Unemployment benefits after the military

Are you separating from the armed services or have you recently separated, but you don’t have a post-military job lined up yet? You might be able to receive unemployment benefits to help keep you afloat until you are able to land a job.

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers (UCX) provides financial benefits to ex-military personnel who qualify. Here’s a quick rundown of what it entails.

Who Qualifies?

UCX is available to ex-service members of all ranks who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You were on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military. You may be entitled to benefits based on that service.
  • You must have been separated under honorable conditions.
  • There is no payroll deduction from your wages for unemployment insurance protection. Benefits are paid for by the various branches of the military.

What are the Benefits?

The state where you apply for unemployment will determine benefit amounts, the number of weeks you can receive the benefit and other eligibility conditions. The benefit amount can vary based on the state’s unemployment rate and cost of living, among other factors. In most states, you can collect unemployment for up to 26 weeks.

Typically, the amount of unemployment that you would receive is based on taxable income prior to separation. For instance — according to the Missouri Department of Labor Unemployment Benefit Calculator — if you earned $27,000 in the year prior to your application, you would receive an estimated $270 weekly.

Separation pay and retirement pay might also affect how much you would receive.

How do I Apply?

You can only apply in the state where you reside, not in the state where you separated. Once you’ve finished active duty, received your DD Form 214 and completed terminal leave, then you can apply for unemployment benefits by contacting the department of labor in your state.

To apply, you will need your Social Security card, DD Form 214 and a resume. It is expected that you will be searching for employment while you are receiving unemployment compensation.

If you need help putting together a resume, especially since military experience can be difficult to translate into civilian language, the VA for Vets Career Center, VetNet, or The Military Wallet are good places to begin.

For more information about unemployment compensation, visit the United States Department of Labor. You can also call the Department of Labor at 1-877-US-2JOBS.

To talk with a Veterans United loan specialist about how unemployment impacts your ability to purchase a home, call 855-524-7279 or get started online today.

Photo courtesy of Paul Wlethorn