With the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers Program (UCX) you can qualify for unemployment benefits once your time in the military is over. The program itself is administered by each state, as agents of the federal government.

How do I qualify for unemployment compensation as a veteran?

  • To qualify you will have needed to have served on active duty within a branch of the military or on reserve status for at least 90 days.
  • You need to have been honorably discharged. Basically, if you were discharged with a condition of “other than honorable,” received a “bad conduct” discharge, or dishonorable discharge, which includes a general court-martial, you will not qualify for UCX benefits.

How does UCX work?

  • You do not make a payroll deduction from your wages for unemployment insurance protection when you serve in the military like you would normally do in order to collect unemployment insurance benefits.
  • The benefits are paid for by the various branches of the military.
  • The laws of the state where you filed for unemployment determine your benefit amount, number of weeks you will receive the benefit, and other eligibility conditions. Visit this website to check out the specific state you need to know more about…https://www.careeronestop.org/localhelp/unemploymentbenefits/unemployment-benefits.aspx
  • Generally speaking, you do need to be seeking work while you are filing for unemployment. You also might not be able to do so if you are working towards self-employment or running your business. This does depend on the laws of the state.

Unemployment Payments

  • The unemployment insurance payments you receive are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of state law in which they file.
  • Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program with guidelines established by Federal law.

Filing Your Claim

  • You should be contacting your state workforce agency as soon as possible after your discharge from the military.
  • You need to make sure you give them complete information such as addresses and dates so that there are no hiccups along the way.
  • You should file in the state you are currently living in, not where you were stationed last. This is a little different from civilians filing for unemployment insurance as they will need to file in the state they last worked in or if they move to a new state, they will need to go by the unemployment laws of the state they last worked in.
  • 26 weeks is the maximum amount of unemployment insurance you can collect.
  • You will need to file weekly or biweekly and answer questions about your eligibility. This isn’t something you do once, forget about, and then receive money for the next 26 weeks. You will need to be reporting any earnings from work you have been able to do during the week. You also need to report any job offers or refusals.

Job Help

  • You may be directed to the state employment service so they can help you find employment. Even if you are not required to do so, working with them can help you in your job search.
  • They have current labor market information and provide a wide array of re-employment services free of charge.
  • They can refer you to job openings in your area or other places if you are willing to relocate.
  • They can also refer you to various training programs that offer testing and counseling to help you determine other jobs that you might be interested in pursuing.
  • They can refer you to other agencies that can help if you do have special needs when it comes to employment.

What About Taxes?

  • Unemployment compensation is taxable income. This is true federally and for most states but make sure to check with your state to find out for sure. This income will be reported on a 1099-G form. However, if unemployment income was your household’s only income for the year, you might not make enough to have to pay taxes on the amount. This is something you will need to check with a tax professional or an accountant.

If you are getting close to your ETS date, it is time to think about if you will be applying for unemployment insurance. Unlike civilian work, you are entitled to apply even though you were not “fired” from the military. Make sure you qualify and figure out where you need to file so that you can get everything ready ahead of time.