Employment andIndependentLiving Services508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 1Summary of VA VocationalRehabilitation andEmployment Benefits12/05/2012 2:48:04 PM

As part of our mission to serve you,VA provides a variety of employmentand independent living services throughthe Vocational Rehabilitation andEmployment (VR&E) program. VA mayprovide you with vocational counseling,job search assistance, and othereducation and training services.VA can offer you the support you need in orderto pursue a career, develop job skills, or providejob accommodations to help you perform yourjob. The VR&E program, also known as Chapter 31,provides a range of career services, including:To determine whether your military servicequalifies you for these services, VA conducts anevaluation of your interests, aptitudes, abilities,and an assessment of how your disability affectsyour ability to work. The services VA provides youare based on the results of your evaluation.»» Employment services, such as job training,job-seeking skills, résumé development,and other work-readiness assistance»» Comprehensive evaluation to determine yourabilities, skills, and employment interests»» Career counseling and rehabilitation planningfor employment»» Assistance in finding and keeping a job,including how to use special employer incentivesand job accommodations»» On-the-Job Training (OJT), apprenticeships,college training, and non-paid work experiencesIn addition, comprehensive rehabilitation andindependent living services are also available if youare severely disabled and not currently ready orable to seek employment.VR&E is specifically for Servicemembers andVeterans with service-connected illnesses andinjuries. However, you may qualify for careercounseling services from VA if you recentlyseparated from the military or are using VAeducation benefits.Access Your VA BenefitsGo to eBenefits at,your one-stop shop to learn about and applyfor your benefits.508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 212/05/2012 2:48:50 PM

Eligibility. Servicemembers and Veterans areeligible for VR&E services under the followingcircumstances:»» You have obtained a service-connected disabilityrating from VA of at least 10%, or a pre-dischargedisability rating (“memorandum rating”) of 20%or more from VA, AND»» You have received, or will receive, a dischargefrom service that is other than dishonorable, OR»» You may qualify without a VA rating if you areseverely ill or injured and have been referredto a military Physical Evaluation Board or areparticipating in the DoD/VA Integrated DisabilityEvaluation System processIn general, you must use all VR&E services within 12years from the following dates, whichever is later:»» The date you separated from active militaryservice, OR»» The date VA officially notified you that you have aqualifying service-connected disability ratingVeterans with service-connected disabilities mayapply for VR&E benefits at any time. You mayrequest a memorandum rating from VA if youhave not already received a VA service-connecteddisability rating of at least 10%, or a pre-dischargerating of 20% or more from VA.If a VRC finds that you have a serious employmenthandicap (SEH), you may be entitled to VR&E serviceseven if your rating is less than 20% and/or you havepassed your 12-year basic period of eligibility.508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 3EVALUATING ENTITLEMENT TO VR&E SERVICESAfter you apply and VA determines you are eligiblefor VR&E services, VA will schedule a meeting for youwith a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC).The VRC will assess your interests, aptitudes andabilities, and whether your service-connecteddisabilities impair your ability to find and/or holda job using the training and occupational skills youalready have. The VRC will use this assessment todetermine your entitlement to VR&E services. If youare entitled to services, the VRC will work with you toexplore employment options or further evaluate yourneed for services leading to more independence indaily living.Working with a VRC on a Rehabilitation Plan.If you are found to be entitled to VR&E services,you will work with a VRC to identify trainingrequirements, explore wage information, andfind employment opportunities. One of theVRC’s main responsibilities is to help you developa rehabilitation plan so you can gain suitableemployment or achieve an independent living goal.A rehabilitation plan is an individualized writtenoutline of the services, resources, and criteria thatwill be used to help you achieve your employmentand/or independent living goals. In developinga rehabilitation plan, you and your counselor willselect one of five tracks to pursue: reemployment,rapid access to employment, self-employment,employment through long-term services, orindependent living services.Serious Employment Handicap (SEH)A trained VRC determines if an employmenthandicap significantly impairs your ability toprepare for, obtain, or retain employment thatis consistent with your abilities, aptitudes, andinterests. If an SEH is determined, the basic periodof eligibility for VR&E services may be extended.12/05/2012 2:48:59 PM

FIND THE RIGHT CAREER PATH FOR YOUVR&E can help you obtain one of four different employment options by working with you to establisha rehabilitation plan with specific goals. If you have service-connected disabilities that are so severe thatyou cannot immediately consider work, then the independent living services track may be right for you.TrackGoals of Rehabilitation PlanWho It Is ForReemploymentConsultation with the employer,job accommodations, jobmodification, and casemanagement; coordination andreferral for services, such as VAhealth care, reemployment rightsadvice, and work adjustmentservicesServicemembers leaving activeduty due to medical issues andVeterans with service-connecteddisabilities apid Access toREmploymentJob readiness preparation,résumé development, jobsearch assistance, employmentresource development, jobaccommodations, and postemployment follow-upThose who express a desire toseek employment soon afterseparation or who alreadyhave the necessary skills and/or training to be competitive inthe job market in an appropriateoccupation Self-EmploymentAnalysis of your business concept,development of a businessplan, training in operating smallbusinesses, marketing and financialassistance, and guidance inobtaining adequate resources toimplement the business planThose who have limited accessto traditional employment,need flexible work schedules,or need an accommodatingwork environment due todisabling conditions or other lifecircumstances Employment ThroughLong-Term ServicesTraining and education, including:On-the-Job Training (OJT),apprenticeships, internships, jobshadowing, work monitoring,work-study, public-private jobpartnering, or higher educationsufficient to qualify for and entersuitable employmentThose who need specializedtraining and/or education toobtain and maintain suitableemploymentI ndependent LivingServicesAssistive technology,independent living skills training,and connection to communitybased support servicesThose who are not currentlyready for employment and needrehabilitation services to livemore independently508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 412/05/2012 2:49:08 PM

After a rehabilitation plan is developed, the VRCwill help you implement it to achieve suitableemployment or independent living. If the VRCbelieves you need additional services, then thecounselor may provide you with medical anddental referrals, tutorial assistance, adjustmentcounseling, and other services necessary for youto achieve your goals.Other Support. VA pays for tuition, fees, books,equipment, tools, or other supplies you need tosucceed in your rehabilitation program. During yourprogram, you may qualify for a monthly subsistenceallowance to help you meet the additionalcommuting or living expenses you incur while ina training program. The amount of the allowance isbased on your type of training, rate of attendance,and number of dependents. You will receive thisallowance in addition to any VA compensation ormilitary retired pay you may already receive.Veterans without Employment HandicapsSome Veterans who apply for VR&E maynot be deemed to have an employmenthandicap. In these cases, VocationalRehabilitation Counselors provide careercounseling services and help in locatingother resources to address rehabilitation andemployment needs. Such Veterans may bereferred to one or more of the following:»» State vocational rehabilitation programs»» Department of Labor employment programs»» State, federal, or local agencies providingservices for employment or small businessdevelopment»» Internet-based resources for rehabilitationand employment»» Information about applying for financial aidVA also offers career counseling services to:»» Servicemembers six months prior to discharge»» Veterans within one year following discharge»» Veterans eligible for any VA educationbenefits, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 512/05/2012 2:49:20 PM

How to Apply. To apply for VR&E benefits, fill outthe Disabled Veterans Application for VocationalRehabilitation form (VA Form 28-1900).You can access this form by:»» Applying online via,your one-stop shop to apply for and learn aboutyour benefits»»»» Downloading the form at»» Calling VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000 to havea claim form mailed to you»» Visiting your local VA VR&E office.For the VA VR&E office nearest you,call VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 612/05/2012 2:50:09 PM

Frequently Asked QuestionsCan I obtain VR&E services if I have a service-connected disability rating of less than 20%?Yes, you can obtain such services if you are a Veteran with a rating of 10% and are found to have aserious employment handicap (SEH). You may also qualify without a VA rating if you are a severelyill or injured Servicemember who has been referred to a military Physical Evaluation Board or iscurrently participating in the DoD/VA Integrated Disability Evaluation System process.What does a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) do?A VRC evaluates your interests, aptitudes, and abilities. A VRC also determines if you are entitledto VR&E services and, if you are, helps you establish a rehabilitation plan to find appropriate workor achieve more independence in daily living. Based on your skills and interests, a VRC will explorecareer possibilities with you, such as returning to your previous job, training for a new job, orstarting your own business.I had a job before I went on active duty. Now that I separated from the military, will I go backto work at the same company?Returning to your previous company is one option you can consider. A VRC will work with you andrepresentatives from the Department of Labor to ensure that your re-employment rights are upheldand your former employer makes reasonable accommodations if you wish to return to work there.I CAREDEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 7VA adopted five core values that define “who weare,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans,their families, and other beneficiaries. The valuesare Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect,and Excellence (I-CARE).12/05/2012 2:50:22 PM

Additional VA BenefitsFor More InformationDisabilities determined by VA to be related toyour military service can lead to monthly nontaxable compensation, enrollment in the VAhealth care system, a 10-point hiring preferencefor federal employment, and other importantbenefits. Ask your VA representative or VeteransService Organization (VSO) representative aboutDisability Compensation, Pension, Health Care,Caregiver Program, Vocational Rehabilitation andEmployment Services, Educational Assistance, HomeLoan Guaranty, Insurance, and/or Dependents’and Survivors’ Benefits. You can search for a VSOrepresentative online at more information about VR&Ebenefits, including time limits,establishing a service-connecteddisability, and how to apply, please:»» Find links to VA benefits information and applyat»» Go to the VA web site at»» Visit us at where you canfind current job listings from employers seekingto hire Veterans. You can also find the nearestVR&E office and other information, such as tipsabout applying for a job, interviewing, and writinga good résumé and cover letter.»» Use IRIS, VA’s tool to find information and askquestions online at https://iris.custhelp.comThank you for your service.Now let us serve you.»» Call us at 1-800-827-1000»» Visit the nearest VA regional office. To find theVA regional office nearest you, go to our websiteor call VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVA PAM 28-12-1September 2012508 VBA PC VRE Overview Brochure 120512.indd 8Veterans Benefits AdministrationWashington, DC 20420T 2:50:25 PM

As part of our mission to serve you, VA provides a variety of employment and independent living services through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program. VA may provide you with vocational counseling, job search assistance, and other education and training services. To determine whether your military service