Everything You Need to Know About Veteran Unemployment Benefits

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Transitioning out of the military can be stressful; even more so when you aren’t able to find full-time employment shortly after completing terminal leave.

Thankfully, the U.S. government has set up a program to help you stay on your feet as you are transitioning from active duty to civilian employment.

What is Veteran Unemployment Compensation?

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) program provides financial benefits to ex-military personnel who are struggling to find full-time employment after separating from active duty.

How Do I Qualify?

You may be eligible for these benefits if:

  • You were on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military.
  • You 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 military.

What Are the Requirements?

While UCX is a federal program, it is run and administered by each individual state; therefore, different states have different requirements for receiving benefits. Examples of common requirements include:

  • You must be able, willing and available to work.
  • You must be putting a conscious effort into finding work. Many states will require you to go on a certain number of interviews or fill out a certain number of job applications each week.
  • You must have earned a certain amount of money in the quarters preceding your unemployment claim.

Call your state Department of Labor to find out what requirements you must meet to receive UCX benefits.

How Much Can I Expect?

Since each state manages its own UCX fund, the amount you receive (and how long you can receive it) will vary depending on where you live. It is typically based on what you earned in taxable income prior to your separation. Separation pay and retirement pay may impact how much you are eligible to receive.

How Do I Apply?

You need to apply for UCX benefits in the state you currently live in, not the state you lived in when you separated. If you move while receiving benefits, you will need to contact your new state’s Department of Labor to have them transferred.

To apply, contact your state’s Department of Labor. They will need your Social Security card, DD Form 214 and resume to process the application.

Hopefully these benefits provide a little financial relief as you leave your military career for a civilian one. You might also check out our “How to Translate Your Military Resume When Applying For Civilian Jobs” article to start gathering your application materials and minimize the amount of time it takes to find your next career opportunity.


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