Veteran Unemployment Benefits In USA
Updated : May 25th, 2016
Unemployment is one problem that doesn’t necessarily need a shout-out. In spite of all the banter on the march towards progression, the unemployment rate of 4.9% is not really hailed as the greatest feat. However, the stagnation isn’t forever.
Know more of the unemployment benefits to cross over all the obstacles in your way to hold you through the tough and testing time that unemployment brings.
What seems to be a great number in itself- 495,000 is only the figure for ‘veteran’ unemployment as published in the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the year 2015. In the survey, veterans are defined as, “men and women who have previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces/military and who were civilians at the time these data were collected”.
Veteran Unemployment rates have been at an all-time low, declining from 6.9% in October 2013 to 3.9% in October 2015, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, notably, this rate was lower than the unemployment rate of non-veterans of 5.9% for 23 consecutive weeks.
This figure is only likely to decline when you enroll yourself in the many training programs designed especially for Veterans to acquire the skills of the generation which mostly covers technical knowledge. Otherwise, leadership skills, capacity to handle stress, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, problem-solving through critical thinking, project planning and so on, which are to be developed goes quite unsaid. And at the rate at which people are pitching into jobs, the sooner you learn to develop these skills, the better equipped you are to acquire jobs at the earliest.
Veteran Unemployment Compensation – A Safety Net
A Service Member separated from active duty may qualify for unemployment benefits if you haven’t found a new job. This program, Compensation for ex-servicemembers abbreviated as UCX is administered by the States as they are agents of Federal Government. To incur the benefits of this scheme, eligibility is to be determined. You are eligible, if –
- You were an active member in any of the branches of U.S. military.
- You should have separated from service by honorable means.
- There should be no deduction from your wages for Unemployment Insurance.
Apart from the above-enlisted eligibility clauses, your Unemployment Benefit can be affected if you are receiving the Separation pay. It is for this reason that retirees will receive little or no amount of benefits, for their weekly amount of retirement pay is considered.
The duration and amount offered through unemployment benefits vary from each state, and hence, to enjoy the benefits of the same, you have to visit the local State Employment Office. The nearest State Employment Office can be located using a Telephone Directory or you could locate the nearest one for some of the states (Nebraska, Ohio, Kansas, Montana, District of Columbia, Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska) from our site. Visit the Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) who will assist you in finding a new job apart from ensuring that you get the Unemployment Benefit. When applying for the Compensation, do carry your Certificate of Release (DD form 214), your Social Security Card and your Civilian and military job history or resume.
Since the Certificate of Release (DD form 214) determines the eligibility of a person’s entitlement to Unemployment Benefits, it is imperative to fill the application with utmost care to avoid mistakes. Also, you are expected to keep the original certificate safe and to only show copies of it when demanded by employers or others. Here are some of the details required to be filled in the Certificate of Release form –
- The Date and Place at which you entered into active duty
- Residential address at the time of entry
- Date and place at the time of release from active duty
- Residential address after separation from the service
- Last Duty assignment
- Military Job specialty
- Military Education
- Decorations, badges, medals, citations and campaign awards
- Total service
- Foreign service
- Information on separation (type, character and reason for separation, etc.)
The amount of benefit will depend on your pay at the time you left military service. The state will compensate by basing its calculation on a “Schedule of Remuneration”, set by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As to the amount of compensation that you get, it depends on the state you reside in (Unemployment benefits is acquired from the state you currently reside and not from the state you quit the Duty).
Other Opportunities At Acquiring Veteran Benefits
Apart from the many communities that have continually engaged in trying to get more veterans employed, there is also an increase in the concerted effort of private and government institutions in order to reduce the already declining rates of veteran unemployment.
The special provision is given to those who were part of the Vietnam War. The VEVRAA, 1974 (Veteran Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act) prohibits job discrimination and pushes federal contractors and subcontractors to take action. They employ qualified Vietnam war-era veterans and also provide training when necessary. Others covered in this Act are Special Disabled Veterans and Separated Veterans.
Veteran Department has enabled various provisions which include education and training, health benefits, Life insurance, Home loans and Housing related Assistance, Employment Services, and Memorial/Funeral Benefits too.
How to Apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) Educational Benefits?
- Apply online for Educational/Training benefits
- Apply in person – from the nearest VA regional office
- Apply at school – through consulting a School Certifying Official
- Apply by Mail – Call 888-442-4551 to have the application mailed to you
These Benefits are granted through the Post 9/11 GI Bill/Servicemembers Readjustment Act, also associated with Yellow Ribbon Program, Montgomery G.I. Bill (for active duty members who pay $100 per month in order to receive a monthly benefit for education, if they should choose to leave military service), Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Educational Assistance to the members of Reserve components who constitute the those ordered to active duty in response to a National Security threat or Emergency situation), Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA).
These educational Benefits can be utilized for Traditional degrees, non-college Degrees, Job Training and job apprenticeship.
Requirements to acquire Educational Benefits –
- Copies of your military service discharge or separation papers (DD 214)
- Documentation of an enlistment incentive or College Fund
- To qualify for a monthly housing allowance you must have attended school for more than half the term.
Employment Resources & Opportunities – All through VA Dept.
Veteran Affairs Department offers numerous opportunities to acquire Vocational jobs, Training and Employment Counseling too. In short if you are eligible for the employment benefits provided by the VA, your life is shortly about to change for good as close to millions of dollars are spent by corporations in order to incorporate skilled veterans into service. This benefit can be acquired by both Active Duty Servicemembers and Veterans.
Veterans applying for the same must have an honorable discharge from service, obtain VA service-connected disability rating of 10% or more, including applying for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services and have an established employment handicap resulting from a service-connected disability. If the above four conditions are not fulfilled, the veteran is not eligible for Employment Benefits.
To apply online,
- Register yourself at the eBenefits account
- Click “Additional Benefits” from the Dashboard
- Select Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program or Education/Career Counseling
- If you are eligible, the person will be invited to attend an orientation session at the nearest VA Regional Office
Otherwise, you can also apply by filling your application in person at the nearest VA Regional Office. If not, download the applications of Educational/Vocational Counseling and Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation online and mail the same.
Veteran Affair’s Various Employment Resources
VA has consistently strived to drive its many resources into propelling a massive flux of service members from service-oriented military career to a civilian job duty. And they have indeed succeeded in optimally utilizing existing resources and creating job-seeking tools to transform the face of Veteran Unemployment figures. VA thus connects the Veterans with the employers in order to help them fill their empty chairs. Some of the Employment Services you would want to explore are listed below-
- Veteran Unemployment Centre
- Skill Transition Tools
- Resume builders
- For a Private Sector or Federal job, pick one from 3 million jobs at JobsBank
You can access all this and more once you have logged into the eBenefits service enables by the States.
Disability Compensation For Unemployed Veterans
An Injury incurred either while on active duty or those disabilities resulting from a disease which was aggravated due to active military service can be held eligible for Disability Compensations for Veterans. It is a tax-free monetary benefit which can also be paid for post-service disabilities that are secondary to the illnesses/disabilities occurring in service. This benefit can be incurred if you are at least 10% disabled. The disability can arise from physical medical conditions like chronic knee condition, and mental health conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you have dependents, an additional of 30% allowance will be granted. You will be incapacitated to receive compensation if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay/separation incentive pay. Eligibility for the above benefit is acquired if you are –
- In the Uniformed Services on Active Duty
- Active Duty training
- Inactive Duty training
- Discharged under honorable conditions
- 10 – 100% disabled from the injury incurred
Apart from the above reasons a person can be readily inferred or presumed as eligible if you are,
- A former prisoner of war,
- Having a certain chronic or tropical diseases that were evident within a certain time after discharge from active military service.
- Exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas or Lewisite while in active service.
- Served in the Southeast Asia during the Gulf war.
Documents to be kept ready with to in order to avail the Disability Benefits are –
- Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability.
- Evidence of a relationship between your disability and injury, disease or event in military service.
You can apply for a Disability Benefit, both offline and online (eBenefits). The means to acquire an offline Disability Benefit is through contacting your local Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) office and have a VA employee assist you.
Other Disability Benefits include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) which is also a tax-free monetary benefit provided to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active-duty.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is another additional tax-free monetary benefit that can be paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses or parents. SMC is a higher rate of compensation paid during special circumstances where the injured person is in need of special assistance or aid of another person. Such circumstances arise when there is a specific disability such as the loss of a hand or leg.
Veteran Benefits – Your Key To Financial Security
We certainly hope that all the information provided above has left you with little or no doubts lingering. If you are an ex-service member, wait no more to avail all the benefits you are eligible, for now it is easier than ever with increasing awareness and enhanced connectivity. It has also brought about a healthy online discourse to disseminate the various Government policy initiatives into the general public’s domain. Participate in this community discourse to add your insights and questions so we could keep the wheel turning!