The Pentagon spent nearly $1 billion last year on unemployment checks for military personnel who may have voluntarily decided not to reenlist, the Associated Press reports:
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.
The program's cost rose from $300 million in 2003 to $928 million last year.
I'm all for taking the best possible care of wounded veterans, including those with mental health issues such as PTSD. And poor vets, wounded or not, should qualify for safety-net programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. It may even make sense to provide some transitional assistance or severance pay to troops who voluntarily leave full-time military service. But the reasoning behind 90 weeks of taxpayer-funded unemployment compensation for able-bodied former troops who choose not to reenlist escapes me. The article cites concerns that the availability of the benefits is providing a perverse incentive and thus "artificially inflating" the ranks of unemployed veterans.