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. =
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
The attorneys of Berry Law 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 today for a free case evaluation. Contact us online or call us at (888) 883-2483.
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