No More Unemployment for Most Veterans on the GI Bill


By Debbie Gregory.

Apparently, Congress was surprised to learn that many veterans were receiving free tuition at school, a housing allowance to pay all their housing costs, $1,000 a year book stipend from their GI Bill, AND unemployment.

This was a loophole in the law that Congress is closing up. Language inserted into the 2016 National Defense Act, approved last December, now prohibits the receipt of unemployment benefits while receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

An exception was carved out for veterans involuntarily separated from the military under honorable conditions.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays not only tuition for student veterans but also a living stipend, equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing.

The Department of Labor is working with state and federal agencies so that they can  identify which veterans are receiving unemployment checks, GI Bill checks or both. But for now, no such central information system exists, in part because unemployment benefits are handled differently in each state.

According to the 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report, when it comes to employment and income, Veterans as a whole are faring well, with employment and earnings generally comparable to the non-Veteran population. And while veterans are taking advantage of their GI Bill education benefits to pursue higher education and certification programs, there is room for improvement.

In recent years about half of all servicemembers transitioning into civilian life have faced a period of unemployment within 15 months of separation. In addition, some groups lag behind the non-Veteran population in economic outcomes (for example Veterans over 55).

The new law has not specified the timeline for enforcement of the changes, so individual  states are not required to enforce it until the new guidance from the Labor Department is released.

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Military Connection: VA Report Show Progress & Room to Improve


The stated goal of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to help Veterans succeed in every aspect of their lives. The only way to measure success for any particular group is by comparing and contrasting specified data against that of another group. In an attempt to gauge the current level of success Veterans are having in regards to employment and the VA programs that are geared to assist them, the VA recently published the findings of its 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report.

The report reflects data covering the large spectrum of the VA’s mission to provide transitioning Veterans with the ability to compete and remain relevant in a changing economy. The VA refers to this as Veterans’ “economic competiveness” and encompasses nearly all aspects of Veteran employment, including earnings, independent living, housing, and educational accomplishment.

Over the years, and increasingly so in the years since September 11, 2001, many executive orders, legislative changes, government policies and programs have been implemented to improve the economic competitiveness of Veterans. The purpose of the report is to identify which of these federal initiatives are effective, in an attempt to form future strategies for optimizing service for Veterans.

Among the report’s key findings:

·         Even though national unemployment rates have declined, approximately 53% of separating Post-9/11 Veterans will face a period of unemployment.

·         95% of Veterans will find employment before using their full unemployment benefits

·         Post-9/11 Veterans are averaging 11% higher median earnings than their non-Veteran peers.

·         Female Veterans are averaging 14% higher median earnings than their non-Veteran peers.

·         1.8 million claimants applied for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

·         Veterans under the age of 25 make up 58% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiaries.

·         8% of Veterans transfer their GI Bill benefits to a dependent.

·         Female Veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill have a 10% higher completion rate than males.

·         Female Veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill have a 5% higher completion rate than female students in the general population.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Report Show Progress & Room to Improve: By Debbie Gregory