An Ex-Military Service Member Guide to Unemployment Insurance Benefits

 Ex-service members have the right to file for unemployment insurance benefits once released from military services. A valid unemployment insurance claim can be established based on the ex-service member’s military service if the individual completed his or her first full term of service and military separation was under honorable conditions.

Under certain situations, an ex-service member may establish a valid unemployment insurance claim even if they have not completed their first full term of service. Eligibility will depend upon the reason of separation from military service.

Here are frequently asked questions regarding ex-service members and unemployment insurance benefits. For additional information, a claim specialist can be reached at (208) 332-8942.

When Can I File My Claim?

You may file your claim any time after your release from active duty. The sooner you file after your release date, the sooner your claim will be established. Your claim cannot be accepted if you file before your separation date.

Where Can I File?

As an ex-service member, you may file your claim in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Before making your choice, you should consider the following: (1) all states do not pay the same amount of benefits; (2) You must be physically in the state when you file your claim; (3) Once you file a claim with a state, your entire military wages are assigned to that state; (4) You may continue to claim benefits with that state even if you move to another state.

How Do I File?

In Idaho, you must file at If you do not have Internet access, you can use a computer at any local Department of Labor office. You will need a Member 4 copy of your DD Form 214, driver’s license and Social Security information. You will need your bank account information if you choose to receive your payments via direct deposit. If you don’t have a copy of your DD Form 214, you can request a copy at You can fax your DD214 to (208) 334-6400, attention: Benefits.

How Much Am I Entitled?

The amount of benefits you may be entitled to is based upon your military rank at the time of your separation from service. Each state has its own formula for calculating the weekly and total benefit amounts, and the formulas vary from state to state.

When Will I Start Receiving My Benefits?

Generally, the first week for which you certify on your claim is your waiting period week. Most states do not pay you for that week. After your waiting period week, you will be paid on a weekly basis.

Are Payments Automatic?

Unemployment insurance benefit payments are not paid automatically. To receive these benefits, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. All states require that you are physically able and available to work for each week you claim benefits. The state you file against will tell you if there are additional requirements that you must meet.

Who Pays the Cost of My Benefits?

Your branch of service pays the entire cost of the unemployment insurance benefits paid to you. Nothing was withheld from your salary while in the service to pay for your benefits.

Do I Qualify for Benefits if I Retire from the Military Service?

If you are receiving or will be receiving a monthly retirement pension based on your military service and your unemployment claim is also based on your military service, the pension is prorated to a weekly amount and deducted from your weekly benefit amount. If your prorated weekly pension amount is equal to or more than your weekly benefit amount, you are not eligible for benefits.

Can You Help Me Find Work?

If you file for unemployment insurance benefits in Idaho, you must register for work at Each of the local offices across the state has a wide variety of other services available to help you find work. If you were working before you entered the service, you may have reemployment rights with your pre-service employer. To find out if you have reemployment rights, contact your pre-service employer.

For more information or for assistance in determining your reemployment rights call the U.S. Department of Labor/Vets at (208) 332- 3570, ext. 3610.

Where Can I Get More Information?

If you have more questions about unemployment insurance, call (208) 332-8942. For more information about job search services, please call or visit the veterans representative at your nearest Idaho Labor local office.

— Idaho Department of Labor