Veterans Readiness and Employment (VR&E) (Chapter 31), also previously known as Vocational Rehabilitation is a benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to eligible veterans seeking services to help with job training, education, employment accommodations, and resume development, and job-seeking skills coaching. This benefit is different from other benefits offered by the VA because you must have service-connected disabilities that may limit your ability to work or prevents you from working certain jobs. If utilized appropriately this benefit can be used as another tool to pay for college for eligible veterans, for some, it has been a way to extend college benefits if you are seeking graduate-level degrees.
The biggest difference between this benefit compared to your Post 9/11 GI Bill is that this benefit is focused on getting the veteran employed, whereas the Post 9/11 GI Bill is focused on getting the veteran an education. Many people get confused with the primary goal of this benefit, not saying that you can not obtain school benefits from this program but this will have to be determined by a counselor after you have conducted your initial meeting. This benefit also offers career exploration services for those who may be facing difficulty getting into a career field due to their service-connected disabilities.
VR&E can be a very confusing benefit to navigate and apply for use, it is recommended you meet with a VR&E counselor to determine your eligibility and ask questions. VR&E counselors can be found at your local Veterans Benefits Office, or you can call the VA to be redirected to your local VR&E office. Below you can find basic eligibility criteria for VR&E.
Veterans Readiness and Employment Eligibility Criteria:
All of these must be true:
- You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- You have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from VA
When we receive your VR&E application, we’ll schedule your initial evaluation with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC). The VRC will determine if you’re entitled to receive VR&E benefits and services.
If you were discharged from active duty before January 1, 2013, your basic period of eligibility ends 12 years from one of these dates, whichever comes later:
- The date you received notice of your date of separation from active duty, or
- The date you received your first VA service-connected disability rating
The basic period of eligibility may be extended if a VRC finds that you have a serious employment handicap (SEH). Having an SEH means your service-connected disability significantly limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment (a job that doesn’t make your disability worse, is stable, and matches your abilities, aptitudes, and interests).
If you were discharged from active duty on or after January 1, 2013, the 12-year basic period of eligibility doesn’t apply to you. There’s no time limit on your eligibility.
If I’m still on active duty, am I eligible for Veteran Readiness and Employment?
You may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services if you’re a service member and you meet at least one of these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
- You have a 20% or higher pre-discharge disability rating (memorandum rating) and will soon leave the military, or
- You’re waiting to be discharged because of a severe illness or injury that occurred while you were on active duty