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Veteran Unemployment Benefits In USA

Updated : August 4th, 2020

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 Benefits

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 –

  1. You were an active member in any of the branches of U.S. military.
  2. You should have separated from service by honorable means.
  3. 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 –

  1. The Date and Place at which you entered into active duty
  2. Residential address at the time of entry
  3. Date and place at the time of release from active duty
  4. Residential address after separation from the service
  5. Last Duty assignment
  6. Military Job specialty
  7. Military Education
  8. Decorations, badges, medals, citations and campaign awards
  9. Total service
  10. Foreign service
  11. 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?

  1. Apply online for Educational/Training benefits  
  2. Apply in person – from the nearest VA regional office
  3. Apply at school – through consulting a School Certifying Official
  4. 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 –

  1. Copies of your military service discharge or separation papers (DD 214)
  2. Documentation of an enlistment incentive or College Fund
  3. 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,

  1. Register yourself at the eBenefits account
  2. Click “Additional Benefits” from the Dashboard
  3. Select Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program or Education/Career Counseling
  4. 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-

  1. Veteran Unemployment Centre
  2. Skill Transition Tools
  3. Resume builders
  4. 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 –

  1. In the Uniformed Services on Active Duty
  2. Active Duty training  
  3. Inactive Duty training
  4. Discharged under honorable conditions
  5. 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,

  1. A former prisoner of war,
  2. Having a certain chronic or tropical diseases that were evident within a certain time after discharge from active military service.
  3. Exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas or Lewisite while in active service.
  4. Served in the Southeast Asia during the Gulf war.

Documents to be kept ready with to in order to avail the Disability Benefits are –

  1. Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability.
  2. 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!

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  1. I was approved for extended benefits after exhausting PUA and the 26 weeks UI in Ohio. I have been looking for work, but also have had major health challenges and am finding getting back to “normal” slow going. I have a EB approval letter, and am currently receiving payments. When I look at the EB payment stub it shows my payment amount, and then the remaining approved amount (diminished by the weekly payment). So… do I get to exhaust the balance stated (which would take the weekly payments into 2021), or do my extended benefit payments expire on Dec 26 with the Federal program?

  2. I’m considering moving from MA to another state to pursue available work. I CAN NOT get hold of a human or find any info online about the ramifications of transferring my residence. Is there any information available that I’m missing or anyone having gone through the process of moving while collecting unemployment?

  3. I accidentally filed my UI unemployment amount wrong. I wrote that I made 25k last year when it was more like 12k with the pandemic problems. The issue was that I included my student loans in my income amount. Now I’m concerned about it being audited and how to fix this. I know I will have to pay back an amount but this is a lot of stress. I cannot get ahold of anyone in a timely manner and so I am wondering if anyone has an idea as to how to fix this appropriately?

    1. Ashley,

      I suggest you check the “Resources” section of the official website of the Unemployment Office or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if feasible.

  4. my benefit in missouri ru has exhausted they send me a letter about my peuc until dec 26 2020 how long it take to receive peuc

    1. Debra,

      The processing will certainly take a couple of weeks of time owing to the pendency. Please keep checking/following up at regular intervals.

  5. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

    1. I’m having similar issue.. I was accepted and was receiving payments for three months.. then it was stopped 5 weeks ago to check a possibility of fraud.. there was a determination to confirm my identity again.. this after the same office gives me insurance and food help and was taking partial of money to pay two different child support claims.. they don’t think I’m who I say I am.. and it just sits there pending.. what can be done to get this fixed.

  6. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  7. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  8. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  9. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  10. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  11. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  12. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  13. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  14. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  15. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  16. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  17. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  18. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  19. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

    1. Again basically I’ve also been put on hold for a ridiculously stupid reason.. Why can’t this issue be quickly handled. Is the any where we can get action if we already were receiving benefits and have been stopped suddenly

      1. Greg,

        I can understand your frustration. The Unemployment Office might be inundated with pending requests. Please visit the website to find the answers.

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