Unemployment Benefits After Separating from the Military

Did you know that many military veterans are eligible to receive unemployment benefits when they separate from the military?

Transitioning from a military career to a civilian career is a big step. Not all jobs transfer over from the military and it can be difficult for civilians to understand how much military members bring to the table in terms of experience, leadership and many other attributes. It is not uncommon for military members to struggle when seeking civilian employment.

Thankfully, there are benefits that can help you bridge the gap between military and civilian careers. Service members who are no longer active in the military have the same unemployment benefit options available to them as other Americans. I applied for unemployment benefits when I separated from the military, and I encourage you to do the same if you are eligible.

Unemployment benefits for military veterans

Unemployment compensation may be available to ex-military personnel.  If eligible, military members will receive compensation from the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX).  This program is run by the federal government, but each state has their own agents representing the UCX.  Whether or not  you are eligible and how much compensation you will receive depends on several factors.  If you receive other compensation (separation pay, retirement pay) the amount of compensation for which you may be eligible will be reduced.  Here we look at how you can go about signing up for unemployment compensation and what you can do before separation to get your finances in order.

Signing up for unemployment benefits

Since each state is in charge of unemployment benefits paid out to residents of the state, this is the starting point for signing up for compensation.  The state unemployment office will be able to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits, how long you can receive benefits and how much compensation you will receive.  You must apply through the state employment office which will also help you in your search for new employment.  When visiting the state employment office to inquire about benefits be sure to have the following documents on hand; job history or resume, Social Security Card and DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty).

A couple quick notes about military unemployment benefits:

  • Federal law requires that you are physically in the state in which you file your first claim based on military wages. You can file in the state in which you separate from the military, but you may need to transfer your unemployment benefits if you move to another state (be sure to check with the employment bureau in the state where you move).
  • Unemployment benefits for former military members is usually based on military service wages, however, separation pay or military retirement pay may affect your benefits.
  • In most cases, you must have been separated under honorable conditions to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • Each state may have unique rules or provisions. Check with your state employment office for specific information.

New GI Bill Program for Unemployed Military Veterans

If you are an unemployed veteran, you may be eligible for a new GI Bill program specifically designed for unemployed veterans age 35-60.  The good news is this program is open to eligible veterans regardless of whether or not they still have remaining GI Bill eligibility (MGIB benefits typically expire 10 years after a veteran’s separation date).

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 was recently passed, which offers up to 12 months of education and training at the full-time active duty Montgomery GI Bill rate. Training is available to eligible veterans for VA Approved education and training programs at a community college or technical school. Benefits must be used toward an Associate’s Degree, qualified certification, or a non-college degree in a high demand field (examples include, information technology, trucking, certain medical occupations, and more).

Visit the GI Bill for unemployed veterans page on our site to learn more about eligibility, and how to apply.

Prepare your finances before separation from the military

A well padded emergency fund can provide the financial security necessary during a time of transition from one job to another.  Service members who are planning to transition from military to civilian status should plan on saving as much money as they can to help bridge any gaps in employment. It took me about 4 months to find a job when I made the transition from the military to civilian workforce, but your results may vary depending on the economy where you separate, your skills, and other factors. Unemployment benefits helped, but I was also single and had few expenses. If you have a family and more expenses, then you will need a larger nest egg to help you through this transition.

Having enough money to cover several months worth of living expenses will offer some peace of mind until you are able to secure your next job. Consider saving your money in a high interest savings account which will offer a decent interest rate while still providing access to your money.

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Date published: August 23, 2010. Last updated: January 16, 2012.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years in the USAF and also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google


  1. rena vicklund says:

    Why am I receiving a monetary determination statement denying my benefits when I had an Honorable discharge. I served my time honorably.

    • Rena, I’m not sure. You will need to contact your state employment bureau for individual assistance. A monetary determination statement may mean they believe you to have other sources of income, or there may be something else in their file. You will need to contact your state board for more assistance. Best of luck.

  2. I was just wondering when can I fill for my unemployment benefits. I have already received my DD 214 but I am on terminal leave until 19 March.

    • Jeff, you are technically still unemployed, so you will need to wait until you are no longer actually part of the military. I recommend contacting your state unemployment bureau for the exact date you will be eligible because some states have a one week waiting period form the time you become unemployed before you can claim and receive unemployment benefits.

  3. I called the Texas Work Force Commission and they really could answer my question. I figured I couldn’t fill until my ETS date but I was just trying to get the ball rolling just in case I hadn’t found a job by then. Thanks for the help!

  4. Hi Ryan,

    I am a US Marine and have some questions about the unemployment benefits. My EAS date is on December 16th this year. I am planning to go back to school after the military. I will try to pursue my bachelor in 3 years. In this case, I intend not to work so I can just focus on school. Will I be able to receive the unemployment benefit if I do this? I’m talking about 3 years of unemployment benefits, while attending school. Hope you will be able to answer this. thank you.

  5. Mr. Guina, greetings. I am being discualified from getting unemployment in MA, (they say) according to Section 29 (d) (6) as follow: “Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the amount of benefits otherwise payable to an individual for any week which begins in a period with respect to which such individual is receiving governmental or other pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity or any other similar periodic payment which is based on the previous work of such individual, shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of such pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity or other payment, which is reasonably attributable to such week; provided, however, that such reduction shall apply only if then required by section 3304(a)(15) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; and provided, further, that any amendment of section 3304(a)(15) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 shall become part of this subsection on the effective date of such amendment; and provided, further, that if then allowed by section 3304(a)(15) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, such reduction shall apply only if a base period employer contributed to or maintained such pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or other payment plan, and in the case of a payment not made under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974, or the corresponding provisions of prior law, services of the individual for such employer during the base period affected eligibility for or increased the amount of such pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or other similar plan; and provided further, that if the individual contributed to such plan, the amount of benefits otherwise payable to such individual shall be reduced by fifty per cent of the amount of such pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or other payment, notwithstanding the amount contributed by the individual to such plan. Payments received under the Social Security Act shall not be subject to this paragraph.”

    Can you please translate this into simple English and please let me know if this applies to us military retirees?

    Thank you in advance!


    • George, that is a whopper of a paragraph! The way I understand it is that the state of MA wants to reduce your unemployment benefits by the amount of your government pension, and if your pension is higher than unemployment benefits would be, then they would cancel each other out and you would not receive the unemployment benefits.

      Unfortunately, that is all I can gather based on that information. You may try contacting a veteran’s group in your area to see if this is the standard policy or if there are any exceptions. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  6. Savannah says:

    I have a quick question I am currently in California and I just got admin separated from the Navy with a Gen Under Hon Cond discharge.
    Anyways throughout my separation process I was constantly assured none of this was going to effect unemployment benefits well to my demise it has I just found out this past week that it got denied because I didn’t serve full service but I served 90%. I am just having a hard time and am in the process of moving to florida with hopes that it will be easier to file there. Any help you could give me would be much appreciated.

    • Savannah, most states have a minimum requirement for how long you need to work before you can apply for unemployment benefits. Your military service may also be subject to this minimum time requirement as well. My recommendation is to contact the unemployment bureau to get a definitive answer regarding why your unemployment application was declined. You may also find it helpful to visit a veteran’s bureau in your state for additional guidance or help applying for unemployment benefits. Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  7. Hello Ryan, :)

    I am really worry rightnow, I was in the army I was discharge honorable. They gave me a compensation, I apply for unemployment but they denied. THey told me that it was because the compensation that I got. Well I was getting 10% disability of the military every month. I got letter saying that they are going to stop giving my disability paid because when I got military I got a compensation from the military. I am so confused. They gave me an option. The letter said that I can pay the competition money and after I pay they will continue giving my disability. But I think that really unfair because I coulndnt even get unemployment and they never explain that to me. what can I do in this case? I hope you can help me. thank you!

    • Star, My recommendation is to contact a Veteran’s Affairs office, or similar veteran’s organization to assist you with this matter. Dealing with disability compensation claims needs to be handled on a case by case basis and you need an expert to help you understand the rules and how they work. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • STAR- im in the navy and the way it was explained to me was you cant get both a Severance and disability. What they are saying to you is if you dont pay back the severance you got, say for example $10,000 then you wont get any additional disability payment until after all the payments equal $10,000, pretty much if you dont pay your severance back they will keep taking away your disability payment until it equals up to tha amount of your severance payment, then once it equals up to that amount you will start recieving your disabilty again. I will try to find an instruction on that but i know for a fact you cant recieve both a severance paycheck when you separate and disability, its either one or the other or what will happen in this case is they will recoup your severance payment you recieved through garnishment of your disability payments. Hope this helped

    • Angello says:

      The severance pay and disability pension comes out from the same fund. Chris is right, after they equaled up then you’ll get your disability pension. It doesn’t make sense, but i think its better to get the whole amount now as severance. For example $10,000 they gave you, but minus the tax let’s say it went down to $7,000 , your disability pension will only have to pay $7,000. Then when tax season comes around you can claim the $3,000 they took from your severance pay at least some of it. You pretty much get a little extra money. I hope this helps out. Good luck!


  9. Hi,
    I just finished doing 20 years in the Navy 2 months ago, and waiting on a service connected disability claim for over lets say, 7 service connected issues, my question is can i collect unemployment compensation until then, if i am getting a retainer(pension) in one of the following states : (Illinois or California) ?? Thanks..

    • Darryl, Some states may or may not give unemployment compensation for people who are receiving a pension. Your best bet is to contact the respective employment bureau for each state to determine your eligibility. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  10. Jennifer Garcia says:

    My husband just got out of the Navy. He is applying for disability and was wondering if he could also apply for unemployment? Will one affect the other? Thank for your help.

    • Jennifer, each state has varying rules regarding unemployment benefits. I recommend he speak with an employee at his state employment bureau for specific questions. Additionally, it may take some time before a decision is given regarding disability benefits, so it would be a good idea to go ahead an apply for all benefits as soon as he is eligible (this would go for both unemployment benefits, which can usually be applied for about one week after one becomes unemployed, and veterans can start the disability benefits application process when they are separating from the military).

      • The way was explained to me is that since state unemployment is handled at the state level and va disabiltiy benefits at the federal/government level they are seperate and don’t matter to each other. Also va disabiltiy benefits are between you and the va it is not considdered taxable income so you could make like 3g’s a month at 100% disability from the va still apply for unemployment you yourself and va are the only ones that need to know about your va benefits the state can only determine your eligability from taxable income

  11. Ryan,

    I’m glad you did this section. When I went through TAP class they all told us we were NOT elegible for unemployment. I later found that to be untrue, I just wish these people would be held accountable for their misguiding.

  12. Charlette says:

    I served 8 years in the military, recently got out on a chapter 8 (pregnancy). I moved from fort hood to fort Lewis. Do I qualify for unemployment or will I be denied?

  13. Jennifer A. says:

    I recently retired from 25 years in the Air Force. I applied for unemployment in the state of Arizona for the month of Aug (which is the month prior to me receiving my retirment check) as I was advised during my TAP class. I have now been informed by the state I am not eligible for unemployment. Furthermore, my case was “perminately disqualified” and the “call center” cannot really tell me what that means. My only option is to file an appeal, however I cannot call and speak to someone; it’s all done via fax. Well the system has won in this case as I no longer wish to deal with this situation.

    • Jennifer, each state has different requirements and qualifications for unemployment benefits, and I believe that in some states an active pension may disqualify people from receiving unemployment benefits. The only recommendation I can give beyond what your state employment bureau gave you is to contact a private lawyer about the matter (there are lawyers who specialize in employment claims and similar situations). At the minimum they should be able to give you the basic information in free consultation. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  14. Awesome website Ryan! Thank you so much.

  15. Hi Ryan, thanks for taking time out to answer everyones questions, and mine hopefully, lol. I’ll be separating from the Navy this November, through the Early Out Program. I plan on using my GI Bill benefits to go to school full time in Indiana (I’m currently stationed in Oklahoma) Would I be able to file for unemployment and at the same time use my GI Bill with the BAH benefits? Thanks again!!!

    • Misty, I’m happy to help. I want to point out that I have heard some states will not allow people to receive both the GI Bill and unemployment benefits at the same time, so you should double check with your state for the final decision (each state has its own requirements for unemployment benefits). The other thing to remember is that while you are receiving unemployment benefits, you are required to continue looking for work. So even if you are attending school full-time under the GI Bill, you would be required to prove you are seeking employment, and be willing to take that employment if it is offered.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  16. If a Military retiree isn’t allowed to recieve unemployment compensation when laid off from a job during retirement why do we have to pay the same taxes as everyone else?

    We earned our retirement pay from the military and if we work we pay the same taxes as everyone else so why the bias?

  17. I am currently a Navy Reservist on Active Duty orders. Those orders are set to end on October 21 and I currently do not have a civilian job lined up yet. I have been on orders for the past 18 months and was unemployed before that. I am assuming that I can merely apply for unemployment benefits since this has been my full time employment for that period of time but want to be sure. I do plan to retire but that won’t happen until January. Do you see any reason why I would be denied unemployment benefits based on the above?

    • Jim,

      I recommend contacting your state employment bureau, as each state sets its own requirements for unemployment benefits. I recommend contacting them at least as soon as you can so you can have the relevant information ready when necessary – instead of trying to scramble to locate documents at the last minute.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  18. Jasper Balom says:

    i am currently in the USN and i have a question. my home of state is Georgia, but im currently station in Virginia, and i was wondering if i file for virginia will there be any complications? if i plan on living in virginia.

    As well as Can you get BAH from the G.I bill and unemployment at the same time?

    • Jasper, you should file for unemployment benefits wherever you end up living after you separate from the military. If you move while receiving benefits, then you should contact your state employment bureau for further instructions.

      Regarding GI Bill and unemployment: IN some cases you can collect unemployment benefits while using the GI Bill, provided you meet all the eligibility criteria for both. For example, to collect unemployment benefits, you have to prove you are actively seeking employment. If you are able to prove you are seeking employment while you are going to school, then you may be eligible to receive both. Keep in mind, however, that each state is responsible for setting rules regarding unemployment benefits, so this is general information, not specific to your situation. My recommendation is to contact the state employment bureau where you will live after you separate from the military for information specific to your situation. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • JASPER- i live in VA and i know many friends who recently separated that do get both unemployment and GI BILL BAH in VA. As Ryan always states “you have to be actively be seeking employment during this time” wink wink if you catch my drift. So when you have to call the automated phone line to get your unemployment make sure you input “the places you applied to” wink wink.

        • There are exceptions to this “searching for work” policy. If you contact your state unemployment office and get a waiver to this regulation because you are actively engaged in college education in order to gain valuable job skills that you will use in the future, you may not have to fulfill the “actively searching for work” requirement. The key is getting the waiver FIRST!

  19. Ryan, I was separated from the Navy recently under honorable conditions and was wondering, is there a time limit in which you have you apply for unemployment after being separated from the military? For instance, if you got separated on 1 Sept. 2011, do I have to apply for umemployment by a certain time? Or is there no time limit for applying?

    • Hi Don, Each state has different rules regarding unemployment benefits, but I don’t think this should be a problem. My recommendation is to go to your state employment bureau and file for benefits ASAP. (you may also be able to begin the process online, depending on your state). Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  20. i’m about to get out of active duty navy and am going into the navy active reserves can i still apply for unemployment? i mean i’m only going to get $200 a month if that. i can live off of $200 a month these days. if you can answer my question i would greatly appreciate it. thanks

    • Pete, you will need to check with the employment bureau in your state regarding eligibility. In many states you can earn up to “x amount” of dollars per week or month while still receiving partial or full unemployment benefits. (“x-amount” varies by state, which is why you will need to contact the state in which you will file for unemployment benefits). Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  21. Hello there, what is the average amount of weeks for veterans unemployment after leaving the service?

    • Kevan,

      I don’t have a firm answer for you. I think it would depend on the individual, the amount of time they served in the military, which state they live in, how long it takes them to find a job, and which other types of benefits they may be eligible for (for example, the government has, in the past, extended the duration that people can receive unemployment benefits).

      My recommendation is to contact the employment bureau in the state you will live in after you separate and ask them what your situation would look like if you were to separate from the military. Keep in mind that some provisions, such as the extensions offered by the government or by certain states, may change at some point in the future.

      Best of luck and thanks for your service.


  23. I’m about to get out of the Navy after 9 years of service. I am currently in California. I have been unable to find any information about unemployment online, how much I may be entitled too, and if I can use it in conjunction with my Post 9/11 Bill. I called the unemployment office, but all they would tell me is they wont set an appointment until I was closer to my EAOS, and that they personally didnt know the answers. Any info or related links would be appreciated.

  24. Ryan,

    Can you clarify for me when a reservists is an eligible veteran for unemployment compensation? There does not seem to be much consistency at the state level.

    For example, a reservist attends basic training and advanced individual training and receives a DD 214. That is considered “active duty for training” and is covered by title 32 of the public law, as opposed to active duty under title 10 when a reservist is mobilized.

    Would you happen to know the federal Public Law that applies?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.


  25. my husband is seperating from the us army in feb 3 is his last day. After that if he decides to go to school with his GI bill will the family get to keep health benefits or can we get them through the states. He is thinking of collecting unemployment and going to school under the GI bill. we have three children and im unemployed stay at home mother and was concerned on how we could could keep health benefits? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Amy, Military health benefits end when you separate from active duty (unless he is a retiree or is receiving VA medical care due to a disability). It is possible to get COBRA benefits, which is basically the same health care, but these need to be paid for out of pocket, and are expensive for a family. Many colleges offer reduced health insurance, but you need to be a student to be eligible to purchase it, so he may not be eligible immediately upon separation from the military. I recommend looking into an individual health care plan, or looking into a part time job which offers health insurance. Some examples of part time jobs which offer group healthcare insurance include StarBucks, Target, and some other stores. You will still need to pay for the health care benefits, but group health care is often less expensive than buying an individual plan, especially if anyone in your family has a history of health problems.

  26. Ryan,

    I am being seprated from the Army on March 31 because of a Medical Board. They are giving me severance pay, and the VA is also paying me monthly. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits in the state of Texas. I’m a E-5 with 11 years of service.

    • To be honest, I’m not 100% certain, but I think you should be able to collect unemployment. However, your disability check may affect it in some way — if they deem you are unable to work, they may require you to file for disability benefits instead.

      My recommendation is to meet with the Texas Jobs Center before you separate from active duty to find out which benefits you are eligible for, and what is required of you to file for them. Keep in mind you typically have to wait at least one week to file unemployment benefits. I am not sure what the process is for disability benefits. But I do know that you want to have all your paperwork in order with either benefits program.

      Another resource to check with is your local VA hospital – they may have someone there who knows the benefits system and may be able to help you better understand which benefits you may be eligible for.

  27. Jamie Valvoda says:


    My husband just recently came off a voluntary deployment with the Montana Air National Guard. He spent a year and a half working Alert at the Hawaii National Guard. This deployment was voluntary, but he was “selected” as one of the best to go and could not refuse. He is done now and back in our home state of Montana. We have attempted to file for unemployment benefits as he is job-less and the job market is sparce in our town. After contacting the unemployment office, they stated we needed to have a DD214 from the Hawaii deployment or his claim would be denied. The problem is, is this deployment was funded under Title 32, not Title 10, which I BELIEVE does not go on a DD214. They stated they will not accept official orders or anything else showing an end date to this deployment. Is this true of the DD214? Is there anything we can do in this situation? Help!
    Jamie Valvoda

    • Jamie, Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you regarding your question. My recommendation is to contact someone in your husband’s unit (the personnel office might be the best place) to see if they have any ideas on how this can be handled. You may also try moving the request up the chain of command at the state unemployment bureau to see if there are other ways around this.

      One more thing – if your husband had a civilian job before his deployment, then he should have been protected when he returned home. Employers are almost always required to keep jobs for Guard members when they are called to duty. There are some exceptions, so it is worth looking into before taking this route further. Best of luck.

  28. Coty Wright says:


    I am seperating from the Marine Corps honorably on Mar 31st, and im wondering if i can apply for benefits in another state that i plan on moving to, even though i dont currently reside in that state?

    • Coty, You may be required to first establish state residency. You may first have to file in your current state of residency, then transfer to your new state once you move there and establish state residency. I recommend contacting the employment office of the state you are moving to and verifying the process to make sure you have everything lined up correctly.

  29. Can you get unemployment while receiving G.I.Bill? Some people say you can and some people say you can’t so I’m really confused.

  30. Just throwing this out there! I’m getting medically retired from the navy after 6 years due to a combat related injury. I have 50% from the navy 10% from the va total of 60%. Does anyone know if u still get a severance because of the combat related injury? And with me receiving 60% from the va does Florida decline you from receiving unemployment while goin to school using the new GI Bill? Thank for any info.

    • Stephanie says:

      I will let Ryan answer the unemployment question but. I spent 7 years Active Duty, with an Honorable Discharge I ETS’ed in December 2011, and do know that you will NOT receive disablitly beneftis AND severance, you have to choose one or the other. If you choose severance pay you will not receive disablitly benefits until after your monthy allowance has equalled the amount you received for severance. (sorta like taking an advance on your disablitly benefits, without interest) I am receiving Unemployment Benefits for the state of Colorado, I was advised that if I were receiving Disablily checks that were equal or greater then my weekly UIB I would not qualify for the state UI Benefits. I would contact your Unemployment office in FL to be certain, if you are eligable to receive unemployment AND use the GI Bill (chapter 33 or chapter 31) together be sure when you ask them you differentiate WHICH GI Bill you will be using they could have different regulations for each.

  31. My husband is in the Army . He has been in for about a year and half. Out of basic he went to SF training n while in trainging he got hurt. He had to have a major back surgery and i believe he is at 80% disabiled . He has been dropped from the course and now i believe the are going to medically discharge him. Do you know if he can collect unemployment in NJ? I dont know what type of separation pay he will be getting .. We just found out today. My other quesion is , is there anywhere you can direct me on what he is able to receive? We have a 4 month old child and now i dont know what is going to happen.
    thank you for your time and attention…

    • Maria, Each state has its own criteria for unemployment eligibility, and your husband’s disability may or may not affect that. For example, he may be required to file for disability through Social Security if he is unable to work. The best thing to do is contact the unemployment office in the state where you will live for more information about eligibility and how to apply for benefits.

      Regarding disability benefits from the government, it sounds like your husband may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation benefits. This can be a complicated process, so I highly recommend starting the claim as soon as possible and getting help with the application process if you are able to do so. This is something you want to get right the first time, as making changes later can be extremely difficult.

      Here is some information about VA disability compensation rates.

      Also keep in mind that if you have more children, you will need to add them to your profile with the VA when you have them. Here is How to Add or Remove a Dependent from VA Compensation Benefits.

      Best of luck!

  32. I am retired from the Army last month. The Texas Workforce said that I made too much to receive the unemployment compensation due to receiving retirement pay. So I have been paid taxes same like others and I am receiving retirement pay even one third of my regular pay of the Army. But they do not want to send unemployment conpensation until getting a job. What is that system for vetrans and retired soldiers? I believe they deserve their retirement pay for 20 year services.

  33. Hi Ryan,
    I am getting seperated and being medical retired from the Army sometime next month and was wondering where do I apply for VA if I am from Guam but is moving to North Carolina.

    • Cat, you will need to contact the employment bureau in North Carolina, as they will be able to give you information that is tailored to your specific situation. Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  34. I’m on terminal leave from the army ad four years served. and my last day is today currently residing in state of Maine. How long must I wait after seperation to file for unemployment? And how do they determin how much I’ll receive weekly? Currently not reviving any severance or disability pay. Thanks

    • Ryan, you need to file with the Maine employment office. They will be able to give you the specific details regarding requirements, how to file your claim, how much you will receive, frequency of payments, and other details.

  35. Mickey House says:

    Hi! As of March 31 my husband is officially separated out of the military due to the cut back in the Air Force. In TAPS, they told him he would qualify for unemployment. I am kinda confused, they told him to apply to Indiana (HOR) or Missouri where we were stationed at. But we had to move to Georgia for a job for me, which has flopped now I am jobless now. We just got his DD214. Do we go to the Veterans office is Atalanta with this dilemma?

    • Mickey, Sorry to hear about the misfortune. In almost all cases you should file for unemployment benefits wherever you are living. If the state has different requirements, they will point you in the right direction.

      Best of luck!

  36. Tamara Brown says:

    Ryan Guina,

    I keep reading you say each state has its on requirements and of course that is true; however, why are we not getting a response from someone that can give more information about our states guidelines. I think that will be extremely helpful. My state is Indiana and i would like to know, if I am eligible for unemployment. I have been on Active Duty for three years, and now I am back on reserve status looking for full time civilian employment and in need of unemployment assistance until then. Can you someone please answer this.

    Thank you!

    • Tamara, I am a one man show running this site and I don’t have the resources to investigate and keep track of unemployment benefits for each of the 50 states, Washington D.C., and any territories which have unemployment benefits. In addition, each unemployment case is specific to each individual, regardless of the state.

      For example, depending on which reserve status you are in, you may or may not be able to claim unemployment benefits in some states (some states treat any form of work or income as a job; for example, if you are a registered substitute teacher in Texas you cannot claim unemployment benefits, regardless of whether or not you are actually working).

      Because each state runs its unemployment plans based on their own rules, it’s virtually impossible for one person to keep track of all the requirements for each state without it becoming a full time job, especially when there may be factors which can affect your ability to claim benefits. So I provide this article as a general resource to help as many veterans as I can so they can better plan their separation from the military and transition to civilian life. Once they get closer to filing for unemployment, I recommend they contact their state employment bureau for information specific to their case.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  37. hello, my husband is going to be separating from the marine corp w/ an honorable and we wanted to know if the unemployment department considers all of the wages you earned while active duty such as BAS, BAH, and RANK WAGES to determine your weekly elligibility?

    • Karla, They usually only consider base pay. That said, many military members earn a high enough base pay to earn the maximum weekly benefit in many states. You will need to verify with your state employment agency because each person has a unique situation and each state has different rules and requirements.

  38. HI,

    my husband got out the military under Other Than Honorable after serving 10 years in the military. The reason for this was because he was late 3 times being on medication…he will not get any benefits up to 6 months.
    We started a small business not even 1 year ago, yet not making any profit.
    The business is on his name at the moment, an LLC.
    My question is, is he eligible to apply for unemployment in this situation?

    • Ozlem, You will need to contact your state unemployment agency directly, as each state has different qualifications for unemployment benefits, both for veterans, and for people who are self-employed. Because of this, you should get the information directly from the state where you will file for benefits. Best of luck.

  39. chopper says:

    Hey how goes it..I currently have 11yrs in the navy and was found not fit for sea duty..will they give me a chance to heal on limp duty or will I get kicked out due to a shoulder injury?

    • Chopper – the only people who can answer that are the medical folks, or those in your command. I’ve known people who were able to stay on active duty while rehabbing a serious injury (one example was a full reconstructive knee surgery and the Airman was non-deployable for over two years while rehabbing). But I’ve also seen people given a medical discharge. Unfortunately, each case is unique and there is no way to determine your situation via e-mail. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  40. Mark hicks says:


    I will be getting out of the Navy in August due to High Year Tendered. 14 years served with an Honerable discharged. I will be getting a seperation payment(lump sum) will I be able to file for unemployment? Any information will be helpful sir. Thank you for all your time.

    • hey ryan quick follow up…you will be able to get full unemployment benefits when you separte i have plenty of friends who got out on hyt..also check out the reserves to finish out you 20 and keep up with your medical record in case you dont want to do the reserves you can file disability thru the va…email me at chopper714@gmail.com

  41. Mark, To be honest, I don’t have a firm answer for you. Each state has its own rules for unemployment benefits, but in general, you should be eligible to receive unemployment benefits after leaving the uniformed service. The fact that you are receiving a separation payment shouldn’t affect your ability to receive benefits, so long as you receive it while you are in, or shortly after you separate. (most states have rules regrading receiving income while receiving unemployment benefits).

    My recommendation is to contact your personnel office to find out how and when the separation payment is made, then contact the state employment office where you will be receiving benefits and go from there.

    Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  42. hi i am about to get out ofthe army honorably afte four years of service, the state in which i plan to file has a calculator as to the benifits i might receive for unemployment, i am still married and receive almost an extra 1500 dollars a month from the miltary just for that, when i enter in what i make monthy will they go by the total pay i make a month includin my marriage benifits i received or the base pay the military offers someone with my rank and years in without being married, please email me at your earliest convinience

    • Brian, They will almost certainly go by your base pay. Non-taxable benefits such as food and housing are rarely considered income for these types of things.

      Best of luck with the transition, and thanks for your service!

  43. Jeff Turpin says:


    You may have already answered this previously, but if my home of record is Colorado and that is where I have been paying state taxes; if needed, do I have to claim unemployment there? I plan on separating out of the military from Korea to Florida, but have never lived there. Can I immediately claim unemployment with Florida or must it be my home of record?

    Thanks for the help.

    • Jeff, I believe you can, but I would contact the state employment agency in Florida first to verify how the process works. You want to file as quickly as possible, so it helps to have a good understanding of everything in advance, and even have some of the paperwork ready if possible.

  44. I have a question…..I live in SC and I got approved for my UCX benefits and it says my benefits year end date is 9/29/13 but my maximum benifit amount is only good for 20 weeks then the maximum benefit amount will run out. can I re apply and get more benefits after they run out or is that all I am allowed to get.

  45. Biff Beluga says:

    I do not understand how the current administration expects to create jobs, while cutting hundreds of thousands in the defense department. A few days after I was nearly killed in Afghanistan last year, I found out that my job hung in the balance. At that point I had only one more shot to get promoted or kicked out of the Corps (high tenure was decreased from 13 years to only 10 years). Needless to say that final shot has come and gone,and I am on my way out. I have gone to college off and on since 2006, but due to the dynamic nature of my job in the Corps; I have had to miss semesters or postpone college all together. Now I am facing unemployment, unemployability, and no end to it in sight. My wife and I waited 8 years to have children, waiting until we were in a better position financially. We ended up having a child, a beautiful baby girl. Where 2 can eat, 3 can eat. I am not letting the economy get me down. Although I have already been turned down for several jobs, I will get a job (even if it is flipping burgers). My family will not suffer under my watch. I will rebuild from the ashes and become a greater success than I was in the Marine Corps. To all of you veterans, do not believe all of the lip service from veterans organizations, politicians, and the like. Unlike the military, nobody in the civilian world has your back (don’t believe the hype) . You are the master of your own destiny from now on, and no one is going to help you. Be fierce, be strong, take life by the horns.

  46. Hi I got out of the army in August. The only job I could find here is at a Starbucks in Hopkinsville ky, but live in Clarksville Tennessee, I’ve only been working there a month, but I’m treated like crap by my coworkers for being placed in a supervisory role, and I keep hearing about how my boss is already interviewing for my replacement. If I go on unemployment from Tennessee will I still receive it at a military rate?

  47. I’ve heard that you can collect unemployment from the state in which you separated from, is that true? If so, who would I file with if I separated from the service in S. Korea?

    • Brian,

      You will generally file for unemployment in the state in which you reside. So if you separated from the service in Korea, you would file in the state you moved to after you returned o the US. I am not sure what to do if you did not return to the US after you separated from the service. You can try contacting the state you were in when you joined the service, however, to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must prove that you are actively looking for work. I do not know if any states will allow someone to claim unemployment benefits while they are residing in another country.

      I wish you the best, and thanks for your service!

  48. Hey I’ve been out of the Army since January 2013, i have a job recently at the post office. But I would like to attend school and focus on that. Since I’ve been out of the army for six months am I still eligible to qualify for unemployment? And do I qualify for unemployment while attending school?

    • Marcus,

      Your unemployment eligibility will be based on your recent working history which will include your work with the Post Office, and possibly your time with the Army. Some states allow students to claim unemployment benefits while attending school, while others do not. Each state has different rules, so I recommend contacting your state employment agency for specific information for your situation. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  49. Greetings! My son left the Navy (honorable) last June. He was waiting for a job to come through but it fell through, and now he is trying to apply for unemployment benefits. He called the Washington unemployment office and someone told him that he has to apply in California, where he enlisted. He worked out of Bremerton Washington however for 5 years. This person told him that because he did not pay Washington State taxes he is not eligible. Of course, he would not have paid California state taxes either. What should he do? Thanks so much, Danielle

  50. My son was honorably discharged from the MC, he was stationed in NC at the time but came home to Iowa directly after discharge. When he filed for unemployment they told him his state was NC not Iowa, and that NC job rate was up so he wasn’t eligible , but Iowa’s was down ,, no jobs he was only in NC because of the Military his home is Iowa. What steps should he take. Miranda

    • Hi Miranda, this is a fairly common situation. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. States have limited funds for unemployment benefits and they are protective about how they are distributed. The best thing to do is go in person to the unemployment office and speak with a supervisor and ask them to walk them through the application process, and show them in writing what the law states. IF this doesn’t work, then he should apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina. This can often be done over the phone or online. It is possible to claim unemployment benefits while living in a different state. If NC doesn’t allow him to claim unemployment benefits, then he will need to get assistance somehow. I would try a conference call between the NC unemployment office and the Iowa unemployment office to see if that will help grease the wheels. IF that doesn’t work, then he should seek additional assistance, possibly from a veterans service organization or by contacting his state lawmaker’s office.

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