If You Get an Administrative Discharge Can You Draw Unemployment?

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Veterans receiving an administrative discharge may receive unemployment insurance benefits if the veteran’s military service was under honorable conditions. The military grants discharges under honorable conditions when a veteran’s military service was honest and faithful and the positive aspects outweighed the negative. Unemployment insurance benefits eligibility vary by state, but generally require at least 12 months of active duty in the 15 months prior to filing for benefits.

Administrative Discharges

To stay in the military, service members must maintain satisfactory performance. Unsatisfactory service includes the inability to maintain a security clearance, complete military schooling, or pass physical fitness tests and support the basis for adverse discharge proceedings prior to the end of military member’s obligated military service. Administrative discharges can also result due to serious illness, injury or disease, or for compassionate reasons, to attend civilian school or because of pregnancy.

Discharges Eligible for Unemployment Insurance

Military members with an honorable discharge or a general discharge -- under honorable conditions -- can receive unemployment insurance benefits. Veterans receive honorable discharges when the quality of their military service generally meets the standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is a federally and state funded benefit for eligible workers unemployed through no fault of their own. Unemployment insurance benefits include temporary financial assistance for the period established by the employee's state of residence. Generally, only employers pay unemployment insurance taxes, including the federal government. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Alaska require a nominal contribution by employees.

Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Military member’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits accrue when leaving active duty provided the member received a discharge under honorable conditions. Eligibility determinations to receive unemployment insurance benefits occur on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the state law of veteran's residence. To receive the maximum benefit, veterans must have been on active duty for 12 of the previous 15 months.

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