Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers [UCX]

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What is UCX?

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.

Who can qualify for UCX benefits?

In general, you must meet all of these rules:

  1. Active duty military service. You were on active duty in the Armed Forces, or you served on active duty in a reserve status. You served for a continuous period of 90 days or more.
  2. Honorable discharge. You were discharged or released under honorable conditions. (And, if you were an officer, you did not resign for the good of the service.) You cannot get UCX benefits with:
    • 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.

  3. Full term of active service or discharge for an allowable reason.  You were discharged or released after completing the first full term of active service which you initially agreed to serve, or you were discharged earlier:
    • 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.

What state program rules do I have to meet?

Every state program has its own specific rules. But here are some general requirements:

  • You have earned a certain minimum amount during the State’s “base period.” Your Federal military service and wages count toward this requirement.
  • You file weekly claims.
  • You are totally or partially unemployed.
  • You are able to work, available for work, and seeking work.

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.  

Where and how do I apply?

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.

What if there are mistakes in the information about my military service?

You can ask that any mistakes on the following issues be corrected:

  • The beginning and ending dates of your active service period and “days lost”
  • The type of active duty discharge or release
  • Your pay grade at the time of active duty discharge or release
  • The narrative reason or other reason for separation from active service
  • The condition of discharge

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:

  • a Request for Redetermination, or
  • an Appeal of the Initial Decision.

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.

What if the Federal agency does not have my military information?

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:

  • Your most recent DD-214 copy 4
  • Your ‘Orders to Report,’ or
  • Your ‘Orders of Release’

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.

How much will my UCX benefits be?

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:

  • Wages from a job
  • Severance pay
  • Social Security payments
  • Workers compensation
  • Training allowances

What if I am a student?

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.

Legal Authority
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.

May 2010