What is the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program?
The VR&E program is authorized under Title 38, U.S. Code, Chapter 31. It is referred to as the Chapter 31 program. It assists entitled Veterans with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap to prepare for, find, and maintain a job. It also helps entitled transitioning Servicemembers. If you are a Veteran or Servicemember with a service-connected disability and not currently able to work, VR&E also offers services to help you live as independently as possible.
Basic period of eligibility
There is a 12-year basic period of eligibility for VR&E services. The period begins on the latter of the following dates:
- Date of separation from active duty
- Date you were first notified of a service-connected disability rating
Who is entitled to receive VR&E service?
Active-duty Servicemembers who:
- Expect to receive an honorable discharge
- Obtain a VA memorandum rating of 20 percent or more
- Are participating in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) or have an 2 injury or illness that prevents them from performing military duties
- Servicemembers participating in IDES are presumed entitled
- Are determined by VR&E to need vocational rehabilitation services
- Have received an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge
- Have a VA service-connected disability rating of:
- 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, or
- 20 percent or more with an employment handicap
- Are determined by VR&E to need rehabilitation services
How is entitlement established?
You are entitled to services if:
- You have a 20 percent service-connected disability AND
- You have an employment handicap.
If your service-connected disability is only 10 percent, you must have a serious employment handicap to be eligible.
A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) will work with you to determine entitlement. The evaluation will:
- Assess your interests, aptitudes and abilities
- Assess your service-connected disability and your ability to hold a job
- Include vocational exploration activities and goal development
- Used to determine suitable employment and maximize independent living
- Explore labor markets and wage information
- Select a VR&E program track
- Develop an individualized rehabilitation plan
What is a Rehabilitation Plan?
This plan provides a detailed outline of VR&E program services. It is individualized to meet the needs of the Veteran or Servicemember. The plan is a signed agreement 3 between the recipient and VA. The following service delivery options may be included in a rehabilitation plan:
- Rapid employment services for new employment
- Employment through long-term services
- Independent living services
What other benefits may be provided?
After the plan is enacted, the VRC will provide ongoing counseling, assistance and coordination of services. These include:
- Tutorial assistance
- Job-seeking skills training
- Medical and dental referrals to the Veterans Health Administration
- Adjustment counseling
- Payment of training allowance
- Other services required to help achieve a career and live as independently as possible
How can you apply?
- Apply online: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/about/feature?feature=vocational-rehabilitation-and-employment
- Fill out VA Form 28-1900, “Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation.” You can find the form at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-28-1900-are.pdf. Mail the form to your closest VA regional office.