Leaving the military is a time of big transition: you’re looking for a new job, probably moving to a new location, and everything is unsettled. One benefit that can help is filing for unemployment insurance through the UCX (Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Military) program.
Eligibility for UCX
You are eligible for UCX if you:
- Have recently left active duty military service, AND
- Were separated under honorable conditions, AND
- Are looking for employment.
Filing for UCX
While UCX is a federal program, it is run through the state unemployment agencies. You apply for UCX benefits in the state where you are actually living. This rule can be different from non-military unemployment, so don’t let them (or you) be confused.
You’ll need to bring your Social Security card, your DD 214, a resume, and your last Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). You’ll also need to bring documentation of any income you’re receiving.
How Much Are The UCX Benefits?
Unemployment benefits vary by state, and are typically calculated based upon the taxable income you earned in the military. That can be tricky because BAH and BAS aren’t taxable Each state has its own unemployment benefits chart, and they can vary dramatically from state to state, as do the maximum number of weeks you can receive benefits.
Benefits may be reduced or even eliminated if you are receiving other forms of compensation, such as separation pay or retirement pay.
The Downsides to Receiving Unemployment
Receiving unemployment benefits is based upon being ready and available to work. This usually means that you have to remain in the state where you’re seeking work, and most states require that you apply for a certain number of jobs each week. In some situations, you must accept an appropriate job if it is offered, or your benefits will end.
In some states, going to school makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits, and other states have specific rules for when you can and can not receive unemployment while attending college. In addition, you’re prohibited from receiving unemployment if you are receiving benefits from the Post 9/11 GI Bill (this changed in 2015.)
UCX and Retirement
Retired military are also eligible for unemployment benefits under the UCX program. The state will consider your retirement income when calculating if you are eligible for any benefits, which will disqualify a lot of people, especially those with larger retirement incomes and/or those living in states with smaller maximum unemployment benefits.
Veterans seeking employment may also be eligible for a Veterans’ Administration (VA) program called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E), commonly called Voc Rehab. This program can provide educational benefits and housing and/or subsistence allowances while in school.
Unemployment benefits can be help you get through the transition from military to civilian life. If you think you might be eligible, you should definitely apply.
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