Unemployment Worsens for US Veterans
Rate now at 30% for the young
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2011 4:00 PM CDT
Army Sgt. Lonell Zimmerman looks over some papers at a job fair aimed at helping military and former military members transition to civilian jobs, in Cherry Hill, N.J, May 3, 2011.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – The job market isn’t friendly territory in general these days, but it’s looking especially brutal for veterans. Unemployment payments to veterans have doubled since 2008, with the military doling out $882 million in benefits last year, USA Today reports—and this year is looking even worse. Joblessness among 18- to 24-year-old vets was pegged at more than 30% last month, compared to 18% for civilians of the same age.

Assuming they’re honorably discharged, service members are eligible for unemployment, with the military reimbursing states for the benefits paid to them. “We’re currently spending that much for people who are sitting home becoming more and more depressed,” said Sen. Patty Murray, who is pushing legislation to make career-building classes mandatory for all troops. The Pentagon says it already intends to expand those programs, which are currently optional.