Why are veterans unemployed?

Sade Castillo, 12th

Unemployed Veterans

We all ask ourself this question at one point in our life. What is it that is going on that veterans are being unemployed? Is the government doing anything to help? Is this even really a thing? The challenges of veterans unemployment place risks to the veteran community and broader civilian communities in the United States.

"In order to gain a better understanding of the current state of veteran unemployment, we must analyze the causes of this important trend. There are currently more than 22 million living veterans in the United States. About 2.4 million of them are veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between 2012 to 2017, another million veterans are projected to leave the military and begin their quest to enter the civilian workforce. As of June 2013, there were approximately 687,000 unemployed veterans in the U.S. While the national unemployment rate is 7.3%, the unemployment rate for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is 10.3% — almost 50% higher than the national rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics" (Nunez).

How does it affect the military personnel?

Once you are discharged a veteran has a lot of benefits that fulfill their needs. you can usually qualify for unemployment compensation after getting discharged from active duty. "Unemployment compensation is designed to help protect workers and their families from economic disaster when one person loses their income, through no fault of their own. However, the military is unique in that UCX will still generally pay benefits even if you voluntarily decide not to re-enlist" (Can Military Members Get Unemployment After Discharge?).

How does Americans view veterans unemployment?

Society nowadays is very selfish and judgmental. Usually, when someone sees a homeless person they assumed they have a criminal record or label them as having a mental health issue or as military veteran. "Those who assume that a homeless man

is a veteran are wrong nine times out of ten. According to the Department, Veterans account for less than 10 percent of the U.S homeless population" (Marvin). I believe that Instead of us being ungrateful and judgmental, we should cherish veterans for working hard for our country. Being thankful Is always a way to show respect. "Here’s a reality check: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterans have a higher employment rate than civilians 97 of the last 100 months. In fact, the current 12-month average unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is 7.8 percent, versus 8.2 percent for all civilians aged 18-44—a roughly comparable population set. The “Veteran unemployment crisis” that we’ve all read about simply doesn’t show up when the data is actually examined" (Marvin).

what is the response from the military?

"The unemployment numbers are getting better for everyone. But better isn’t good enough. No matter how you spin it, the truth remains that for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the unemployment rate is unacceptable.

You could argue that the new veteran unemployment rate is high because they are a younger demographic, and young people tend to have more trouble finding a job across the board. That’s an interesting point, but the rate for new young veterans is still worse than the rates of young non-veterans.

For new veterans aged 18-24, the unemployment rate averaged 20.4% in 2012, more than five percentage points higher than the average among non-veterans aged 18-24. Beyond the numbers, critics fail to acknowledge that while of the same age, young veterans are entering the workforce with far more skills and experience than their civilian peers. Logically, they should be employed at higher rates, not lower" (Tarantino).

Unemployment Benefits

We might wonder if there's any type of program that benefits a veteran after they been discharged. Well Fortunately, There is. But, there are some expectations you have to meet for you to know if you are eligible for the program. "If you are a service member separating from active duty you may qualify for unemployment compensation if you are unable to find a new job. The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) program provides benefits for eligible ex-military personnel. The program is administered by the States as agents of the Federal government. You are eligible if:

  • You were on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military, you may be entitled to benefits based on that service.
  • You must have been separated under honorable conditions.
  • There is no payroll deduction from your wages for unemployment insurance protection. Benefits are paid for by the various branches of the military.
  • Receiving separation pay may also influence your receipt of unemployment compensation. (Retirees will almost certainly receive a lesser amount [or no amount] since the weekly amount of retirement pay is usually "offset" against the amount of unemployment compensation.)

Your state employment office handles unemployment compensation. Benefits vary from state to state. Because of this, only the office where you apply will be able to tell you the amount and duration of your entitlement. The nearest state employment office is listed in your local telephone directory. To receive unemployment compensation, you must apply. The best time to do that is when you visit the Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) at the state employment services office for assistance in finding a new job. To apply for unemployment compensation, you must bring your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214), your Social Security Card and your civilian and military job history or resume" (Veteran Unemployment Compensation).

Work Cited

"Can Military Members Get Unemployment After Discharge?" Military Authority. 2016. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.


Marvin, Chris. "Americans Are Viewing Veterans All Wrong - VAntage Point."VAntage Point. N.p., 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.


Nunez, Emily. "Dissecting Veteran Unemployment in the United States | The Collaborative Exchange." The Collaborative Exchange. StayClassy, Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.


Tarantino, Tom. "The Ground Truth on Veterans’ Unemployment | TIME.com." US The Ground Truth on Veterans Unemployment Comments. TIME's U.S. Newsletter, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.q


"Veteran Unemployment Compensation." Military.com. Military Advantage, n.d. Web. 31 Jan.2016.