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Unemployment Benefits for Veterans
Veterans Unemployment Benefits
Men and women who leave military service and are unable to find civilian employment may obtain unemployment compensation through a federal program administered by the state you reside in. Disabled Veterans who are unable to work due to service-connected injury or illness can seek unemployment benefits through the VA.
Berry Law’s Veterans law attorneys can work with you to gather and present the evidence you need to successfully appeal your claim for individual unemployability. The Veterans Administration and state unemployment offices make mistakes and have bureaucratic issues that can cause Veterans’ benefits to be delayed or incorrectly denied. We can help you navigate the system and work to get your claim approved.
Note that state unemployment offices nationwide are especially busy due to increased unemployment caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Veterans Administration’s claims backlog has been reduced in recent years but remains substantial. =
Our team has helped Veterans in all 50 states and some living abroad. Contact us online or by phone at (888) 838-7754 for assistance today.
COVID-19 Coronavirus and Veterans’ Unemployment Benefits
We can only assist with federal VA appeals. This material for informational purposes only.
In one week in March 2020, more than 3.2 million people in the United States applied for unemployment benefits, an all-time record. Nearly every state cited the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on joblessness, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said. To say that state unemployment offices are busy is an understatement.
However, many jobless Veterans remain eligible for unemployment benefits through federal and state programs administered by the individual states. Those in need should apply for benefits without delay.
Veterans who have recently left the military may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers (UCX). Former members of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are covered by the UCX program, as well.
To be eligible for UCX benefits, you must:
- Have been on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military
- Received an honorable discharge
The UCX program is administered through state unemployment offices. Each state determines UCX benefit amounts, the number of weeks that benefits can be paid, and other eligibility conditions.
Many states require online applications and accounts to apply for unemployment benefits. You will need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your DD214, Member 4 Copy
- Your work history for the past two years
- Details of any retirement pay (gross monthly amount along with proof)
All but eight states provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, but the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This is an additional 13 weeks of state unemployment benefits, which become available after someone exhausts all their regular state unemployment benefits.
Additionally, the federal government has allowed new options for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits when:
- An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over
- An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
In addition, federal law does not require an employee to leave employment to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.
Options differ in each state. Find a state unemployment benefits search tool here.
Unemployment Benefits for Disabled Veterans
State-administered unemployment benefits are for individuals who are physically able and available to work and are actively seeking employment. A Veteran who can’t work because of a service-connected disability may qualify for Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This VA program provides disability compensation at the same level as for a Veteran who has a 100% disability rating, cash payments of up to $3,400 a month and more for dependents. TDIU also provides medical care and prescription drug coverage.
To qualify for TDIU benefits, a Veteran must:
- Have at least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or multiple service-connected disabilities of which at least one is rated at 40% or more disabling and when combined, they provide a rating of 70% or more, and
- Be unable to maintain steady employment that supports them financially because of their service-connected disability. Doing odd jobs (“marginal employment”) doesn’t count.
A March 2019 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims made the definition of substantial gainful employment clearer and, going forward, more consistently applied to Veterans’ benefit applications. For a job to be considered substantial gainful employment, it must be an occupation outside of a protected work environment that pays more than marginal income as determined by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s poverty threshold.
Given the Veteran’s history, education, and training, the Veteran must have the physical and mental ability to perform the activities required by the occupation at issue.
Many Veterans become eligible for TDIU benefits because of a degenerative illness, a secondary disabling illness that is service-connected or simply due to age. Any time there is a significant change in a Veteran’s medical condition, he or she should seek an increase in their VA disability rating.
Contact Our Veterans Disability Attorneys About Unemployment Benefits
The attorneys of Berry Law Firm have a thorough understanding of the VA disability claims process and the types of unemployment compensation that are available to Veterans through the VA. Our VA-accredited lawyers have obtained millions of dollars in benefits for thousands of Veterans throughout the country.
If you have been denied VA disability benefits or would like to appeal your rating decision, contact the Veterans Law attorneys at Berry Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. Contact us online or call us at (888) 883-2483.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.