WASHINGTON (March 15, 2013)—The Pentagon’s Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers program, which sends unemployment checks to former troops who left the military voluntarily, is costing the Defense Department nearly $1 billion a year.
The cost of the longstanding, but little known program has tripled over the last decade, rising to $928 million last year from $300 million in 2003.
Defense officials and outside experts have become increasingly concerned about the cost of the program.
Some believe it's evidence of weaknesses in other programs, such as those designed to help veterans find jobs.
The program is a spinoff of the federal-state unemployment insurance program.
The U.S. Labor Department says it is meant to help "eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own."