"Unemployment compensation” [UC] programs provide weekly income to workers who can’t find jobs. UC can help you get by if you are unemployed or only able to find part-time work. Weekly UC payments also include a small amount for dependents. Typically you need to have earned a certain minimum amount during a "base period" in order to qualify. The basic benefit period is 26 weeks, but often you can claim more weeks, especially in times of high unemployment.
Each State has its own rules about how to qualify, how to apply, and how much you can get. Go here to find out details and where to apply in your state.
Special laws allow some members of the military and their spouses to qualify for UC as a result of military service.
By federal law, certain members of the military can get Unemployment Compensation based on their active duty service. This is sometimes called the “UCX Program.” It provides weekly income to servicemembers as they look for work, including those who can find only part-time work.
While it is based on a federal law, the program is run by each State. A State may have its own rules, in addition to those outlined here.
In general, you must meet all of these rules:
- a discharge condition of “other than honorable,”
- a “bad conduct” discharge, or
- a dishonorable discharge, including a general court-martial.
More information about discharge conditions is provided here.
- For the convenience of the Government under an early release program,
- Because of medical disqualification, pregnancy, parenthood, or any service-incurred injury or disability,
- Because of hardship, or
- Because of personality disorders or inaptitude, but only if the service was continuous for 365 days or more.
Every state program has its own specific rules. But here are some general requirements:
Under many State laws, you may not be eligible if you are trying to set up your own business or want to be self-employed. This is true even if you were self-employed before entering the military.
Your State Workforce Agency website should post more details about your State’s program rules.
Apply for benefits in the State where you are searching for work. Each State should have a clear process for applying for UCX. In many states, you may now file your claim by telephone or online.
Contact your State Workforce Agency as soon as you can after you are discharged. The most important form you will need is the DD Form 214, copy 5. This form contains the information needed to establish your claim.
Make sure that the information on your DD-214 form is correct and that it matches your benefit claim information. For example, your military separation date needs to match up on both forms. If there are mistakes on the DD Form 214, this may slow down your claim or cause you to lose benefits. Important information about this form is provided here.
The State Workforce Agency will check your military service information before it acts on your UCX claim. It does this by contacting The Federal Claims Control Center within the U.S. Department of Labor. This federal agency should have your relevant military history, including your DD Form 214.
You can ask that any mistakes on the following issues be corrected:
Make your written request to the State Workforce Agency. Attach any information that you think will help to correct the errors. Your request will be forwarded the Federal Claims Control Center.
If you discover the errors after State agency’s decision, or the State agency has refused to postpone its decision, you can file either:
Use whichever process is required by your State. Make your request for a correction at the same time. Don't miss the deadline for appeal. If you file late, your appeal can be denied.
When the Federal Claims Control Center issues a corrected military document in response to your request, their decision is final and binding on the State agency for all purposes, including appeal and review.
The Federal Claims Control Center may not have a copy of your DD-214 on file. If this happens, the State agency should let you know that you will need to do a UCX Affidavit. This is a document you create to prove your military service.
The UCX Affidavit must include one of the following:
The Federal Claims Control Center must approve any alternative form of proof before the State can accept it with the Affidavit. All information you provide must be accurate.
Even if you provide a UCX Affidavit, the Federal Claims Control Center may later find your DD-214 and forward it to the State.
The law of the State where you file the claim will determine your weekly benefit amount, the number of weeks paid, and other program rules.
Your federal military service and wages are treated as though they were civilian employment. This includes all pay and allowances in cash and in kind for federal military service. The amount is based on your pay grade when you left military service. The State will base its calculation on a “Schedule of Remuneration” for various pay grades. This Schedule is set by the U.S. Department of Labor. View the current Schedule (effective April 2010).</a>
Depending on the State, these other types of income may reduce weekly UCX or UC payments:
You cannot get UCX at the same time that you are getting benefits from:
the “Survivors and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program,” or
the VA “Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program.”
If the State where you are applying for benefits allows students to get unemployment compensation, you may be able to get UCX if you are getting help from the Montgomery GI bill. However, most States do not allow any students to get unemployment compensation.
The federal regulations at 20 CFR Part 614 govern the UCX program. The relevant statutes are 5 U.S.C. §§ 8521-8525. Your State Workforce Agency may also have its own information about this program.
Each State runs an Unemployment Compensation (UC) program for people who have lost their jobs. Eligible unemployed workers get weekly checks and can qualify for other work-related benefits.
Maybe. The answer depends on the law in the State where you are re-locating. In general, you cannot get UC benefits if you “voluntarily quit” work. But there are “good cause” exceptions to this rule. Some States allow “good cause” for quitting a job if you did so in order to “follow your spouse” to his or her new job.
Some States limit that right to military transfers. Other States allow “good cause” for any kind of job transfer.
In general, you must be married to the person who has been transferred. But some States include people who are about to be married. A few States include “domestic partners.”
The law of the State where you move as a result of the transfer will apply.
Based on current information (April 2010), you may be eligible for UC benefits in the following States:
• Arkansas (any job transfer including military)
• California (any job transfer, including military)
• Colorado (any job transfer, including military)
• Connecticut (military transfer only)
• Delaware (any job transfer, including military)
• Florida (military transfer only)
• Georgia (military transfer only)
• Illinois (any job transfer, including military)
• Indiana (any job transfer, including military)
• Kansas (any job transfer, including military)
• Kentucky (military transfer only)
• Maine (any job transfer, including military);
• Maryland (military transfer only)
• Massachusetts (any job transfer, including military)
• Michigan (military transfer only)
• Minnesota (any job transfer, including military)
• Montana (military transfer only)
• Nebraska (any job transfer, including military)
• Nevada (military transfer only)
• New Hampshire (any job transfer, including military)
• New Jersey (military transfer only)
• New Mexico (military transfer only)
• New York (any job transfer, including military)
• North Carolina (any job transfer, including military)
• Oklahoma (any job transfer, including military)
• Rhode Island (any job transfer, including military)
• South Carolina (military transfer only)
• Texas (military transfer only)
• Virginia (military transfer only)
• Virgin Islands (any job transfer, including military)
• Washington (any job transfer, including military)
• Wisconsin (any job transfer, including military)
• Wyoming (military transfer only)
States change their UC laws from year to year. Go here to see an updated listing of the relevant State laws. Also, we encourage you to check with the State agency where you have moved, to make sure that you have the correct, most up-to-date information.
Apply for benefits in the State where you have relocated. Each State has its own process. In many States you may file your claim by telephone or online. Go here to find your State Workforce Agency. Apply as soon as you can after you have moved.
The law of the State where you apply will determine the results. That is, whether you qualify, your benefit amounts, the number of weeks you can get benefits, how to file weekly claims, and so forth. The amount of your benefits will be based on your prior earnings record – typically, how much you earned in your last job.
You can file an appeal. Your denial notice should tell you how to appeal and the deadline. If your family has a low income, you may be able to get free legal help with your appeal from a local legal aid office. Go here to find a low-income legal aid office near you.