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AP Frets Over Pentagon’s Unemployment Costs

From an outraged Associated Press:

Pentagon spends nearly $1B a year on unemployment

By PAULINE JELINEK | March 15, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as it faces budget cuts and forced employee furloughs, the Pentagon is spending nearly a $1 billion a year on a program that sends unemployment checks to former troops who left the military voluntarily.

Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members, a Labor Department program, is a spinoff of the federal-state unemployment insurance program. The Labor Department says the overall program is meant to help "eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own" such as during layoffs.

But eligibility for the military compensation requires only that a person served in uniform and was honorably discharged. In other words, anyone who joins the military and serves for several years, then decides not to re-enlist, is potentially eligible for what could amount to more than 90 weeks of unemployment checks.

So the AP is finally getting around to questioning endless unemployment benefits. But, naturally, only unemployment benefits for the military.

The program’s cost rose from $300 million in 2003 to $928 million last year…

How much has the cost of civilian unemployment gone up during the same time frame? Wouldn’t you think that would be a relative thing to mention?

Defense officials and outside experts have become increasingly concerned about the rising cost of the compensation program…

Some military experts suspect the availability of the money may be discouraging some veterans from actively looking for work and thus falsely inflating data on their unemployment – data that shows higher joblessness for Iraq and Afghanistan vets than for older ones and for society in general…

The hell you say! Of course, this would never happen on the non-military side. 99 weeks of unemployment would never discourage civilians from looking for work.

Nearly 120,000 people filed first-time claims for money in the military program over the last budget year, compared with 71,000 in 2008, the Labor Department says. Well over 515,000 have gotten compensation since 2008.

Wright, now director of the law center at the Reserve Officers Association, says the payments "ought to be for people who are actively seeking re-employment – it’s not just free money." …

Again, why are we hearing this kind of talk about the military, but never about civilians?

Right after the elections, Congress once again extended federal unemployment benefits, to the tune of more than $30 billion dollars. Where were all of these concerns then?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 15th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “AP Frets Over Pentagon’s Unemployment Costs”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Hagel’s holding a Obama-Fax-Blast presser right now, in a funereal voice telling the Press how catastrophic sequester cuts are to the military …

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