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Unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits

As a veteran, you may be eligible for UCX or your state's unemployment insurance program.

Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. 

Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers program

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers program (UCX) provides unemployment compensation benefits to service members who are leaving the military and unable to obtain employment. Program guidelines recommend making an application during the week you are discharged from the military.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have been on active duty or in active Reserve status with a branch of the U.S. military.
  • Have been separated under honorable conditions.
  • Have completed the first full term of service for which you enlisted. For Reservists, you must have completed 180 days of continuous active duty.
  • Meet all other state eligibility requirements.

You can apply in the state you live in after discharge. Contact a Veterans Employment representative at a local American Job Center if you have questions or need help. Bring your Form DD-214 for reference.

Federal-state Unemployment Insurance program

If you do not meet the above criteria, you might otherwise be eligible for your state's Unemployment Insurance program, a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers.

Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program with its own eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and length of time benefits can be paid, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law. 

In general, benefits are based on a percentage of your earnings over a recent 52-week period, and each state sets a maximum amount. Benefits are subject to federal and most state income taxes aned must be reported on your income tax return. You may choose to have the tax withheld from your payment.

How to apply?

The application process for both programs is the same. Visit the Unemployment Benefits Finder to find your state's application information.