Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) is a program that assists Veterans who have service-connected disabilities obtain and maintain suitable employment. Independent living services are also available for severely disabled Veterans who are not currently able to seek employment. Additional information is available at http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/.
Eligibility: A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rated at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Service members pending medical separation from active duty may also apply if their disabilities are reasonably expected to be rated at least 20 percent following their discharge.
Services: Rehabilitation services provided to participants in the VR&E program are under one of five tracks. VA pays the cost of all approved training programs. Subsistence allowance may also be provided. The five tracks are:
- — Reemployment with Previous Employer: For individuals who are separating from active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves and are returning to work for their previous employer.
- — Rapid Access to Employment: For individuals who either wish to obtain employment soon after separation or who already have the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market in an appropriate occupation.
- — Self-Employment: For individuals who have limited access to traditional employment, need flexible work schedules, or who require more accommodation in the work environment due to their disabling conditions or other life circumstances.
- — Employment Through Long-Term Services: For individuals who need specialized training and/or education to obtain and maintain suitable employment.
- — Independent Living Services: For veterans who are not currently able to work and need rehabilitation services to live more independently.
Period of a Rehabilitation Program: Generally, Veterans must complete a program within 12 years from their separation from military service or within 12 years from the date VA notifies them that they have a compensable service-connected disability. Depending on the length of program needed, Veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or their part-time equivalent. Rehabilitation plans that provide services that only improve independence are limited to 30 months. These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances.
Work-Study: Veterans training at the three-quarter or full-time rate may participate in VA’s work-study program. Participants may provide VA outreach services, prepare and process VA paperwork, and work at a VA medical facility or perform other VA-approved activities.
Subsistence Allowance During Training: In some cases, a veteran requires additional education or training to become employable. A subsistence allowance is paid each month during training and is based on the rate of attendance (full-time or part-time), the number of dependents, and the type of training.