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…
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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 Service members who are no longer active in the military have the same unemployment benefit options available to them as other Americans.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 its 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 of 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 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).

This page covers federal employment resources for veterans.

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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  1. TomNJ says

    Is there a place for veterans to receive assistance with unemployment appeals. Separated in MD, received benefits, moved to NJ denied unemployment benefits. MD reversed their decision (verbally) then resumed suspension of benefits. Asking for family member.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tom,

      Each state handles benefits on an individual basis, so you would need to find someone within the state that handles unemployment appeals. I’m not specifically aware of any programs that help veterans appeal unemployment benefits, but since they are handled at the state level, you would most likely need to contact local organizations and agencies.

      I would start with the unemployment agency and ask how to appeal, then if that doesn’t work, I would start by contacting the county office of Veterans Affairs, followed by local veterans organizations. Here are some examples of the types of veterans service organizations I would contact.

      I wish you the best!

  2. Matt Wirth says

    I wanted to add a few things to the topic of filing for unemployment after being released from active duty (relad). First, in my experience you actually have the option of choosing to file from the following states: Home of Record, the state that you were stationed in when you were (relad), or the state in which you live (established residence). So, depending on which state has the highest maximum weekly benefit would dictate which one you file in. So, in my situation I filed in Massachusetts which has one of the highest weekly benefits in the nation. Here is the kicker, in order to apply I had to drive to a Massachusetts’ unemployment office and use their computer to apply because that established that I was physically located on Massachusetts soil and satisfied their physical location requirement upon initial application. After that I could file my weekly benefits from anywhere.

    For retirees or those receiving a severance: federal law requires a dollar for dollar reduction of your retirement pension (regular or chapter 61) or severance from your weekly unemployment benefits. However, this rule does not apply to VA compensation. Massachusetts follows federal guidelines word for word with this so I highly recommend taking this rule into account when you are getting out of the military because it can cost you or save you thousands of dollars over the twenty weeks of your first unemployment eligibility. In hind sight I would have said no to receiving my retirement pension and simply waited for a VA decision on disability compensation. Even though Massachusetts allows for retroactive repayment of money they took out of my weekly benefits for my pension they did not repay everything because no one from the VA could provide the necessary letters or documentation to give the Massachusetts review board to overturn the decision to not repay the entire deduction (which cost my family thousands of dollars). Please read and do your homework before you are released from active duty.

  3. marc fichtner says

    Hello, I was wondering if there was an alternative you could use instead of a dd-214 when filing for benefits. I ask this because I am a reservist who was recently deployed and did 7 months active. When i got back i worked for a few weeks then was laid off due to the work being seasonal. I am looking to get benefits until i find another job but don’t want to wait on my dd 214 because i cant get it for at least a month after my leave and orders are completed so by the time i get that then submit claims it will be a while until i receive compensation.. I was just wondering if there was anything else I could use like a copy of my orders or a letter from my commander. thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Marc, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend contacting your unemployment office because each state has different rules / requirements for filing unemployment benefits. Also, if you are still on leave, you are technically still employed. You wouldn’t be able to file unemployment benefits until after you have completed your leave and are no longer employed.

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

  4. Demorio O’Neal says

    Hello, I recently got out on an honorable discharge with 10years in. Yes, I did receive separation pay.

    However, I filed for Unemployment. They denied it because you can’t be paid unemployment while receiving payments. That I can reapply , if I don’t have a job once I stop receiving the payments.

    For one, it was a lump sum payment, and secondly why does it matter the payment. If I’m currently unable to find employment.

    This doesn’t seem right, should I appeal?By the way It’s the state of Georgia.

  5. Valli Finney says

    Well, when I got out, honorably, due to “pregnancy/childbirth” and my then-husband was still in, and I was rated A-3 (meaning I could reenlist, but I couldn’t because he was in) I was turned down for unemployment because I was rated A-3 and could go back in, which I couldn’t because he was still in. It was a vicious cycle. I also was turned down because I “quit” my job. Well, the veteran help desk at the Ohio unemployment office tried to help. They sent me on a few job interviews, one of which I was told I had the job pending verification of my military service. Well, they verified, called me in to do paperwork and they then told me because I was noticeably pregnant I couldn’t have the job. HUH? Yes, this was back in the early 80s, but still…

  6. corey says

    Hello, I am currently in the USMC and I get out in 6 months. I was wondering if I have to calculate only my base pay or my total pay including bah and cola for hawaii.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Corey, Thank you for contacting me. The only pay used to calculate unemployment benefits is base pay. BAH, BAS, COLA, and other allowances aren’t generally considered for unemployment benefits purposes. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  7. Jay says

    Thanks for the good info Ryan. I have just finished using all of my UCX benefits in California. I will be moving to a new state this summer and am wondering if I am allowed to start a new (second) unemployment claim in that state since I will still have residual military wages in my new base period? My California benefit year ends in September and I would look to start a claim in the new state the following month.

  8. Patricia says

    My son just separated from the Navy in Florida and moved home to Illinois until he can find new employment. He is being refused unemployment because he does not have a utility bill or rent bill in his name in Illinois. Does he have to file in Florida? Or New Mexico which is where he lived before entering the Navy?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Patricia, Thank you for your comment. Unemployment benefits can be complicated when one relocates to a new state. I would ask the IL employment bureau what is required to receive unemployment benefits in IL. He should inform them he separated from the military and has relocated to IL.

      If there is nothing he can do to receive the benefit in IL, then I would contact FL to see if he can file there. I’m not certain he would be able to file in NM if he hasn’t lived there in several years.

      He may also find it beneficial to contact a veterans service organization to see if they can help him file for unemployment benefits. He should also get a full benefits review to see which benefits he is eligible to receive. Many organizations offer free benefits counseling, including the DAV, VFW, American Legion, and others.

      I hope this is helpful.

  9. Kendra says

    Thank you for all the info Mr. Guina. I know this is a Q&A for Vets but I’ve searched high and low and can’t seem to find an answer so I’m turning to you. My husband will be EAS’ing honorably in May 2017. Our plan so far is to move to Tennessee (not our home of record). I am currently a cardiovascular tech at a Children’s hospital in California and make really good money. Do you happen to know if military spouses can get unemployment from California while transitioning and job searching in Tennessee? I haven’t been able to find anything concrete and I ‘m slightly worried that without my income we won’t survive until I can find another position. Thank you for any help you may have.

    (PS- I’ve signed up for the spouses’ TRS program and I’m sure they may go over some of this but I am a planner and want our families transition (and my career) to be as smooth as possible. The more prepared I am the better off we will be.)

  10. Matt Catalano says

    I am 29 years old and was honorably discharged after 5 years of service on March 29, 2016 including combat in Afghanistan. My active duty base on date of discharge was Fort Bragg NC. I reside in CT. Can I collect unemployment in CT, and if so, how do I do so?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Matt, I would contact the CT employment bureau (or whichever agency handles unemployment benefits). Most states require you to file in the state where you reside. They should be able to walk you through the application process. Note: I’m not sure if there is a time limit in which you have to file – they will be able to give you this information.

      In general, veterans are eligible upon separating from active duty unless they are receiving retirement pay, they received separation pay, or they are receiving some form of benefit such as the GI Bill, Vocational Rehab, or a similar employment or educational program. I wish you the best in your job search, and thank you for your service!

  11. Wade says

    I maintained a second job while in, when my contract with the Navy was up i had to move back to my wife and family like everyone whose ever been stationed away from home. Because i quit my 2nd job to relocate after the Navy they denied me saying it was for a personel reason and i have been appealing it ever sense. This seems lime a common sense issue but they fail to see the cut and dry. What can i do?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Wade, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer here – you need the services of an expert on unemployment benefits. I would contact the state where you are filing for unemployment benefits and ask if they have advocates who help people with more complicated situations. You may also contact a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. They may have someone who can help you with your claim. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  12. Carmen says

    I am retiring from the military after 20 years of service. I am receiving a military retirement check but have not found a job yet to supplement my retirement pay. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in North Carolina.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Carmen, in most states you cannot file for unemployment benefits if you are already receiving a pension or any form of retirement pay. You will need to contact your state employment bureau for verification. You should also see if there are any Veterans Affairs offices in your county or state. Many of them offer job placement assistance. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  13. Ken-Ken De Vera says

    I am currently collecting 90% military disability, unemployment and my post 9/11 (VA school benefits). Should I be worried collecting all my benefits at the same time? I also have a part time job at the post office which i work once a week.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ken-Ken, there is no problem with collecting both VA disability benefits and GI Bill benefits at the same time. However, a law was recently passed that would prevent veterans from collecting unemployment while also receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. In addition, unemployment benefits may be affected by part-time work. You would need to contact your state employment office for more information.

  14. Behive says

    I was recently medically separated from the Navy after 9.5 yrs I received 70% from the DOD and 100% from the VA (disability compensation) can I claim unemployment insurance in California(where I live )? Or will my UI payment rates be reduced? I have been told /read multiple things about not having to report my VA comp to the EDD/UI people. Is this true? I cannot find anything on their website about what is reportable and what is not. I just want to make sure I’m not going to be slammed with hefty fines for claiming both VA comp and unemployment.
    If you have a website or link I would appreciate that too.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Behive, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a firm answer for you. Each state has different rules for unemployment benefits, and I’m not an expert on each state. I would contact the state employment office and ask to speak with someone who has experience working with veterans. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  15. Ashley Smith says


    I’m currently in the process of separating the military after 10 years of active duty. Just wondering what all is counted when figuring out the wages earned. Is it just going to go off of what my base pay was? Or will they include my BAH and BAS? Thanks so much!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ashley, BAH ans BAS are not generally considered when calculating wages. In most cases, only the base pay will be used. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  16. Sasha says

    I have a tricky situation that I was wondering if you could shed some light on. I got out this past May after serving 5 years in the military. My home of record was South Carolina. I got married while serving and my husbands home of record is California which is also where I separated from the military. He is currently stationed in Guam. Which state should I file unemployment with?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Sasha, Thank you for contacting me. You normally file unemployment in the state where you are currently living. I’m not sure how the process works if you are filing while you are out of the country (for example, if you are filing while living in Guam). If you are filing from Guam, I would likely try filing in CA, if that is the last state where you worked. This is not the most common situation, so you may have to work the phones to find someone who understands how the process works if you try to file their when you aren’t living there.

  17. Jeff says

    Hi Ryan,
    I recently retired from the Navy Reserves after 24 years of combined active and reserve service. I’ve been substitute teaching the last couple of years, so I drilled more than the minimum and met the income requirement for California unemployment benefits just through my Reserve wages. (Substitute teachers aren’t eligible for UI in CA) Can I claim unemployment benefits through UCX for my reserve service? CA says I need a DD-214, which aren’t normally issued to reservists.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jeff, Thank you for contacting me. I would think you might be able to if you are not yet able to draw your pension. You would likely need some other form of documentation from your Reserve unit showing you served, including the dates and amounts earned. Unfortunately, I don’t know the specific rules for the state of CA, or which forms might be sufficient. I recommend contacting the employment office and asking which forms would be required to file a claim. This may not be a common situation, and many civilians may not be familiar with military terminology or forms, so it might take some leg work.

      Also – if you mention that you retired from the military, be sure to tell them you are not currently receiving a pension, because most states will not pay unemployment benefits if you are drawing a pension. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  18. Johnny says

    I was in the Army from 06/2001 to 06/2005. Since I have been out I have been from job to job. I worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 2 years and was let go. Collected unemployment and then found another job as a truck driver. I have been truck driving for 2 years and recently found out that I might get fired.

    My question is can I collect unemployment under the Ex-Service Members (UCX) even though I have been out for 10 years?

    I do qualify under the regulations for EDD California. I could not find anything restricting me from not applying.

    Thank you. BTW this is a GREAT site! 🙂

    • Ryan Guina says

      Johnny, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t know what the rules are for when you have to collect the unemployment benefits, but I believe it has to be soon after you separate from the military. The best I can tell you is to contact the employment agency in your state of residence to ask them about the rules and if you will be eligible. Each state has slightly different guidelines, so that will be the deciding factor. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  19. Jose Ramos says

    Im seperating in the end of June and will be going to my home state. But I plan on moving to a different state in August. How soon can I apply for unemployment?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jose, You can generally apply as soon as you are completely separated from active duty (I.e. not on terminal leave). Some states may make you wait one full week before you are eligible to claim benefits. Also note that you may be ineligible to receive benefits if you receive separation pay or retirement pay. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  20. Robertjro says

    I am being medically seperated from the army after five years of service. I am receiving a separation check of about 25k how will that effect my unemployment options and opportunities?

    Also I will be attending collage soon and receiving BAH will that prevent me from receiving unemployment?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Robertjro, Thank you for contacting me. I haven’t heard of medical separation payments affecting unemployment benefits, but each state has different rules, so you may wish to check with your state. I’ve known some people to use either the MGIB or the Post-9/11 GI Bill and collect unemployment benefits. But I’m not sure this can be done in all states. Again, you will need to check with the state in which you file for benefits. Sorry I don’t have any firm answers for you, but the rules vary so much and change frequently enough that I don’t want to give you the wrong information.

  21. KITTEN says

    On a serious note, thank you for all this helpful information for veterans Mr. Guina. I had the same question as someone here and you answered it. It is hard to find a knowledgeable person in this area. Though I don’t plan to remain unemployed for too long, I could use a bit of tax money that I’ve paid over the course of 10 years. I don’t think its asking too too much.

    Best, Kitten

  22. Todd Young says

    I am being medically retired from the Navy I have a rating of 50% DOD and 100% from the VA I was wondering if I am able to collect unemployment in addition to collecting my VA check while I am using my post 9/11 GI Bill if I am constantly looking for employment ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Todd, Unemployment benefits regulations vary by state. The disability rating and compensation shouldn’t be an issue, however, receiving retirement pay would almost certainly prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits. So it depends on how your compensation is labeled. Regarding unemployment benefits and the GI Bill – some states allow it, while other states do not.

  23. James says

    Mr. Guina, After 13 years of active duty service I took advantage of a Voluntary Separation Bonus from the Marine Corps due to force shaping requirements. I applied for unemployment in my home state of Kansas and was granted the maximum payment. Roughly 3 months later I was contacted and notified that my benefits were canceled and that I have to pay it back ($6700). My separations payment was considered wages, taxed and then paid out in a lump sum on my final paycheck from the Marine Corps. Should I appeal their decision? It doesn’t make sense to me. I was unemployed, not receiving any monthly payments, and it shouldn’t matter what was in my checking account. Need help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, Thank you for contacting me. I’ve never heard of this, but each state has a different set of rules. I would most definitely look into this, and fight it if possible. I would start by contacting your local unemployment agency and ask them for the regulation that shows this rule. I would also meet with your county Veterans Affairs representative to see if they have further information about this rule, or how to fight it. Most counties have a VA office, and they are there to represent you. If that doesn’t work, I would reach out to a different Veterans Service Organization, such as the VA, DAV, VFW, etc. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Corwin says

        James & Ryan:

        I’m also in Kansas, separating, though unfortunately mine is not voluntary. It is, however, an honorable separation, and we were told up and down the block in TAP that we were all eligible for unemployment benefits here in Kansas. However, I have spoken to one of my friends that went through the same thing in November of last year, and she stated that the state of Kansas essentially adds up all of your potential unemployment pay, then subtracts out your separation pay (pre-tax). If that number exceeds your total unemployment benefits, you receive nothing. I have not verified this yet, but you can bet I’m going to, because I’m also filing for unemployment and a lay-off is a lay-off in my book. Not to mention USAF rigs the books, and your sep pay actually includes half of your last paycheck, thereby inflating the value that you seem to be receiving.

        I will keep you both abreast of what I discover. I’d ask that you do the same for me.

        Ryan, I actually think you may work with one of my friends up there. If you know a Panier, please give him a shout. Good guy.

  24. Jonathan says

    Mr. Guina, thank you for serving. I received an Honorable discharge after a chapter 13 APFT failure with eight months total of active duty service. I was denied unemployment benefits for “insufficient military service”. I understand each state has different requirements but does this sound right in regards to UCX requirements?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Jonathan. To be honest, I’m not sure what the requirements are. The DoD website only states that unemployment benefits vary by state. The Department of Labor has similar information. I recommend speaking with a veteran’s advocate to see what can be done. Most counties have a Veterans Affairs office where you can seek assistance. You can also show proof of work you had prior to your military service, if you were employed prior to enlisting. I hope this gets you pointed in the right direction. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Natalie, unemployment benefits are not usually available to those who are receiving a military pension. I would contact your state employment agency to verify. If unemployment benefits are not available, you may wish to look into certain VA benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Sebastian, Yes, you can change to the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you are eligible for the program. You would be eligible if you served after September 10, 2001. To receive the full benefits, you would need to have served a full 3 years on active duty, unless you separated due to a service-connected disability. It’s easy to change your status from one program to the other. Simply call the VA and request to change from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. They can do it for you over the phone (it’s super easy). The only thing to be aware of is that you cannot change back to the MGIB once you make the switch. Good luck, and thanks for your service!

  25. Sebastian says

    If I got married AFTER completing my military contract and have the Montgomery GI Bill not the Post 911, will I start receiving BAH when I enroll in College now that I’m a married veteran?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Sebastian, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, the BAH benefit is only available with the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It is not available for those using the MGIB, regardless of marital status. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Best of luck with your studies, and thank you for your service!

      • Will says

        The Davis I’m devastated on the news that my son who’s has been serve as national guard as active duty n a guard one a month for 6 years . It’s time to enlist he has been refused to re enlist base on his conduct. He has been separation from the guard since June and has not received his dd214 or able to file any aid from any one . He got two small children 2 and 1 year old . Now no income coming in no family around he had no idea where to start to get his dd214 n get some family help before get evicted from his apartment. What step can he take to up grade his separation or get his dd214 .national guard in Tn .

  26. Dustin Edwards says


    My question is brief. I am at a transition point in the army and thinking about ETSing. Currently I am stationed in Germany and want to settle in Florida. I will meet all eligibility requirements if I ETS. Is there somewhere to look up and find at least an estimate of unemployment pay rates in ANY of the states. I am very interested in using this system while actively seeking a job with some local DOJ agencies in the Jacksonville area. However, if the pay is something like $200 a week thats not something I can really count on….Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Dustin, the best way to find out the maximum unemployment benefits rate per state is to search in Google or another search engine: “State name + florida unemployment benefit rates”. A quick search brought up several returns – some that listed the state unemployment rate, and some that listed the rates for all states. Florida’s maximum unemployment benefit rate is $275 per week, or $1,100 per month. That is lower than many other states, but not the lowest. It’s a good idea to have a little money saved up if you plan on transitioning out of the military.

      I recommend trying to have a couple month’s worth of expenses saved if possible. If you are nearing your ETS and don’t have time to save that much, you can also consider trying to extend your contract or reenlist for a year or so, which will give you some more time to save money. Not all branches will let you extend for a short time frame, unless it is in the best interest of the military, so you may only be able to reenlist for a full term. If that is the case, then you will need to take your time to consider your long-term goals and decide your next courses of action. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  27. Mary says

    Hi Ryan,
    I am going to ETS this May, and begin college in August using my Post 9-11 GI Bill. My question is, can I recieve unemployment only for the period of time between when I ETS and when I start school? I don’t fancy trying to get a job for only three months, and I do not plan to work at all while I am in school so I can focus on my grades. Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mary, Based on my understanding, yes, you can file for unemployment benefits during that time frame. However, most states require you to prove you are currently seeking work, so you may have to show that you are seeking work that is comparable to what you did in the past. You might also be able to receive unemployment benefits while attending school on the GI Bill, but some states vary as to whether or not they allow that. Best of luck with your transition, and thank you for your service!

  28. Jay says

    I have a question. I have been discharged overseas after serving for 12 years. I have not been in the stateside for almost a year and I’m due to return back before March. I was seperated back in May 2014. My question is am I still eligible for unemployment compensation once i get back stateside and how will it affect my housing stipend once I start receiving it through my Post 9/11 G I Bill?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jay, Based on my understanding, yes, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits. You were still the resident of a US state even though you were stationed overseas, and you were paying into the unemployment insurance program. You should file for unemployment benefits in the state you move to when you return to the US. I’m not aware of unemployment benefits affecting the housing stipend of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

  29. Jon Rogers says

    Hello Ryan
    I have a question about whether I qualify for unemployment. I finished my basic training and “A” school back in August and ever since I been in Navy Reserve. I been attending once a month drill weekend since November. I am currently unemployed and going to school. However, I did work part-time at a bank for a week and got a paycheck since I been in Reserve. My question is do you think I will still be qualified to recieve unemployment benefits because I briefly worked a bank? I appreciate your answer

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jon, You will need to contact your state employment bureau for a specific answer, since each state has slightly different rules. I do know that some members of the Guard or Reserves are able to collect unemployment benefits, however, they must also report their Drill Pay in the week they earn it, which may make them only eligible for a reduced unemployment benefit. This is a situation where you will most likely need to visit an office and sit down with someone who really knows the system (I would try to avoid a phone call on this one, as it’s too easy to pawn off a phone call). Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  30. Aaron says

    Hello Ryan,

    I see you have served 6 years in the USAF and are now currently serving in the Illinois ANG. That’s cool I deployed with those guys this year back in Jan-May. Anyway I have Separated from The Air Force this past September and have been going to school on Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Could I also receive unemployments benefits? I see you said that you’ve known other people who have done it. Did they get the full unemployment? Or was it factored in with there GI Bill? And how long were they on unemployment insurance?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Aaron, Thanks for contacting me. Yes, I have known some people who were able to file for and receive unemployment benefits while attending college on the GI Bill. However, I believe eligibility for this depends on which state you file unemployment benefits in. So you would need to speak with the unemployment benefits office where you file.

      The people I knew were able to receive full unemployment benefits, but I”m not sure how long they received he benefits. Each state has different rules, so there are a lot of variables in play. I hope this helps. Thanks for your service, and best of luck with your transition!

  31. Hunter says

    Hello Ryan, I have a question that I’ve tried to research. When sites day you can be eligible of you were seperated under honorable conditions, does that mean just honorable or also does it include under honorable conditions also? I’m sure you know the difference Im just not sure about them.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hunter, I believe you should be able to claim unemployment benefits with the discharge you received because you were discharged under honorable conditions. You will need to contact the state where you plan on filing for benefits to verify. But you should be good to go.

  32. HENRY H. says

    In response to Consuelo’s post on June 9, 2014:
    I recently retired from the Navy after 24 years and found a job in Atlanta, so we relocated from my last duty station in Florida. My wife tried to claim unemployment was told that since this was not a PCS move, she is disqualified. I did some research and found in the Navy’s Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) that “separations from the service under honorable conditions (retirements, discharges, resignations) are considered PCS moves.” I don’t know if the Army has a manual or directive(s) that are similar but I would think if the Navy has one, then the other branches should too. We are in the process of submitting an appeal to their original decision and will keep you posted on the outcome.

  33. bret t says

    I am getting out of the navy after 5 years of service and I am wondering a few things. I am married and I would like to go to school, is there a way I can go to school receive unemployment and still have e5 bah?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Brett, If you use the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you should be able to go to school and receive the BAH. The unemployment benefits are usually contingent upon you seeking work. In some cases you can receive unemployment benefits while attending school (I know several people who have done it, but I’ve heard other responses from other people). So this is a question you should ask the state where you file unemployment benefits. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  34. Kris says

    I am seperating, but going to palace front to the AF Reserves. Will I still be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Kris, You should be eligible, however, you may have reduced payments after drill weekends or during or after training. Unemployment benefits are based on the amount of work you perform in any given week. So if you don’t work at all in a given week, you would receive full unemployment benefits. If you only work the traditional one weekend a month, two weeks a year, you would receive your unemployment benefits while you aren’t working. Then you would have to deduct your drill pay or annual training pay the next time you claim unemployment benefits. When you go back to not working after your drill, you should be able to resume your full unemployment pay. Best of luck in your job search, and thank you for your service!

  35. Stanley Wilson says

    Question . Can you start the unemployment benefits right before you get out ? For housing and bill purposes . So its not like I’m waiting months for a check ?

    • Ryan Guina says


      Stanley, Unfortunately, there is no way to start the process early. You must follow the rules for the particular state in which you file, and all states that I am aware of require you to wait at least one week after the point you become unemployed before you can file for unemployment benefits.

      The best thing to do is plan your finances accordingly, and save a little money so you are prepared to fund your basic living expenses until you can begin receiving unemployment benefits until you find a job and begin earning a paycheck.

      • Mary Suarez says

        Actually this was super helpful. I had a quick question I’m so sorry to bother. Even though it’s been a year after my honorable discharge, am I still able to apply and qualify for unemployment benefits?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Mary, Yes, you may be able to apply for unemployment benefits, but you will need to contact your state employment office for more information. Also, unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so you would only be able to claim benefits going forward.

        I wish you the best in your job search, and thank you for your service!

  36. Consuelo says

    My husband has/is medically retired from the Army with 19 years of service. We were stationed at Fort Leonard Wood Mo. I was employed at the hospital on post and tried to transfer my position to our new home NC. Which is my husbands hone of record …I was unsuccessful in finding a job and was told I was not eligible for the priority placement program because my husband is “retiring”. 1 he was forced to retire. 2 Missouri is not our original home and 3. I was denied unemployment benefits because UC said I quit my job for a good personal reason and not because of my employer…well I went to my civilian personnel office they would help, I applied for jobs and was denied because some one who had priority over me was given the job. I worked for the goverment for 4 years and basically they are saying well you have to stay in Missouri that I left my job on my own. This is not true I’m trying to appeal this now and actively looking for work . I am by no means looking for a hand out but an opportunity to get benefits I feel I earned and deserved I served my time with my husband supporting him and the military for 3 deployments and furloughs this past year only to be told no we can’t help you. What can I do they said I can’t get legal aid In Missouri and I’m really scared about my finances we have a daughter in college and 2 small children. How are my odds of winning this appeal and do I have a good enough reason.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Conseulo, Thank you for contacting me. This is a tricky situation, since every state has different rules regarding unemployment benefits. There is a provision in 44 states that allows military spouses to collect unemployment benefits if they had to move due to a PCS. Both Missouri and North Carolina are on the list, which can be found here.

      However, your situation is a retirement, not a PCS. So I’m not sure if this will apply. My recommendation is to try this under a PCS move and see if they will allow you to claim unemployment benefits. You would file this claim with the state where you were previously employed. Best of luck!

  37. Miranda says

    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

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  38. Danielle says

    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

  39. Marcus says

    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?

    • Ryan Guina says


      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!

  40. Brian says

    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?

    • Ryan Guina says


      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!

  41. Mike says

    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?

  42. 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.

  43. Chris says

    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.

  44. 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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  45. brian says

    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

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  46. Ryan Guina says

    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!

  47. 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.

    • chopper says

      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 [email protected]

  48. 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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  49. Ozlem says


    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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  50. karla says

    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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  51. 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!

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  52. 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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  53. Ryan says

    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 Guina says

      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.

  54. cat says

    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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  55. Edward says

    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.

  56. maria says

    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…

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  57. Matt says

    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.

  58. TomTom says

    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.

  59. 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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  60. 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

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  61. Travis says


    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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  62. Amy says

    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

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  63. Jack says


    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.


  64. Bill says

    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.

  65. NIKKI says


    • Ryan Guina says


      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.

  66. pete says

    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

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  67. Don says

    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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  68. 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?

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

      • Chris says

        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.

      • Harmand says

        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!

  69. Jim says

    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?

    • Ryan Guina says


      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!

  70. Jim says

    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?

  71. Misty says

    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!!!

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  72. 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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  73. 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?

  74. George M says


    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.

  75. 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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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).

      • donny says

        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

  76. Darryl says

    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..

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  77. Star says

    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!

    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

      • Chris says

        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!

  78. 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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  79. George says

    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!


    • Ryan Guina says

      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!

  80. Leo says

    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.

  81. Jeff says

    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!

  82. Jeff says

    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.

    • Ryan Guina says

      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.

  83. 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.

    • Ryan says

      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.

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