Unemployment Insurance For Military Men And Their Spouses

Updated : December 12th, 2022

This article will address problems and queries on unemployment compensation (UC) faced by ex-military men and their spouses. If you fall into that category, we’re sure that you will find this article helpful!

Unemployment Benefits For Service Men

Is there UC for ex military men and their spouses?

Yes.The federal set up in US has a separate unemployment program for ex servicemen and their families. The program is called Unemployment Compensation for Ex Service members (UCX). UCX provides income support to former  military servicemen when they are released from active duty.

Additionally, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act states that ex servicemen too should be treated equal to other unemployed individuals in the country. This means that they can avail compensation from Emergency Unemployment Act (EUC08) as well as Extended Benefits (EB) once they stop qualifying for UCX.

Eligibility and benefits

The general rule is that the ex serviceman applies for UCX in the state where he is searching for a job. The criteria for eligibility and benefit amount varies from state to state. In general, the rules for eligibility for ex servicemen and civilians are quite similar. Also, the benefit amount is usually decided on the basis of wages earned during active military service period. This means that two servicemen who have same record of service and earnings may earn different benefits in different states.

Also, the ex-servicemen who performed active service earlier must have left the service under honorable conditions or completed a full term of service or should have been released from service with full honors. If the servicemen was a reservist earlier, he must have been on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days.

Previously self-employed servicemen

If an individual was self-employed, prior to becoming an active serviceman, he may have been excluded from UC benefits. But once he retires from active service, he shall qualify for UCX benefits. However some states do not provide benefits for such people who are trying to re-establish a small business.

If you’re looking at applying for UCX benefits, please visit our Benefits By State section.

UC for Civilian Spouses

Spouses of servicemen who quit their jobs to travel with their spouses to wherever they are posted, will not be eligible for UC. Folks who quit their job because a spouse was transferred are usually considered to have carried out a “voluntary quit”, rendering them disqualified for UC. Hence, most states do not cover such individuals.

In some states, once the spouse resumes working, in which ever place they relocated to, he/she will no longer be considered unfit for UC provided they earn stipulated wages and work for a certain period of time. In some other states, the period of disqualification is for a certain period of time, even if they have not landed a job, they may qualify for UC if they are actively searching for other jobs. Once this period of disqualification is over (time varies from state to state) or if the job market is down, or if the person is not able to find employment due to a reason that is not theirs, they shall qualify for the UCX benefits. There are 23 states in US that allow a person to qualify for UC if they quit their job to accompany a military spouse who was transferred.

UCX funding

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemen is funded by the federal government through a federal account in the Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF). The federal government reimburses each state for each unemployed worker whose base period wages were earned in the military services.

Bottom Line

Being unemployed can be a tough problem for many. If you are an ex-serviceman, consider that you have earned a respite after serving your country. It is an honor that many fail to get. If you are the spouse of a military personnel, who had to quit your job, tell yourself that your spouse’s job is something that calls for sacrificing for the sake of the country. This also means that you may have to make sacrifices too. Try to stay positive and calm, we’re sure things will look brighter in the near future.

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  1. My husband is active duty and will have a permanent change of duty station from Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio TX to Fort Irwin, CA. I’m currently a full time Federal employee. Would I be eligible for unemployment since I’m going to accompany my military spouse to Fort Irwin.

    • Military spouses are eligible for job loss due to the movement.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

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