Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)

Get the assistance you’ve earned

Veterans and servicemembers who served in the Armed Forces on or after Sept. 16, 1940, are eligible for vocational rehabilitation. Read about the conditions and benefits here.

If you are a veteran who has a VA disability rating and an employment handicap, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation & employment services under Chapter 31 of the GI Bill. These services include – but are not limited to – counseling, training, education and job placement assistance. The following is a summary of these important services:

  • Overview
  • Subsistence Allowance
  • The Vocational Plan
  • Specialized Employment Services
  • Period and Length of Rehabilitation Program
  • Voc-Rehab (VR&E) Entitlement Evaluation
  • Employment Handicap
  • Serious Employment Handicap (SEH)
  • Getting Started

If you are entitled to VR&E services, you and a VR&E counselor will work together to:

  • Identify all viable employment options.
  • Narrow vocational options to identify an appropriate career goal.
  • Explore the labor market information and wage information.
  • Investigate training requirements.
  • Identify physical demands.
  • Develop an individualized vocational plan to achieve the career goal.

The law provides for a 12-year basic period of eligibility in which services may be used. The 12-year period begins on the latter of these dates:

  • Date of separation from active military duty
  • The date you were first notified of a service connected disability rating.

If you are entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation, the law provides for a maximum of 48 months of services.

Subsistence Allowance

In addition to receiving a monthly payment while attending training through VR&E, you may also qualify for a monthly subsistence allowance. This 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. For example a full-time attendee with two dependents could receive up to $714 a month. Click here to view the current VR&E Subsistence Allowance Rates.

The Vocational Plan

A vocational plan is an individualized, written, detailed outline of services that will be provided under the Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program. The following types of plans are available:

Individualized Employment Assistance Plan (IEAP)

  • Outlines the steps that will assist you in obtaining employment
  • Employment Assistance may be offered for up to 18 months

Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan (IEEP)

  • Used to help determine if you are able to obtain and maintain employment
  • Typically does not exceed 12 months

Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP)

  • Outlines the training or education to be completed by you, leading toward a job goal
  • May not exceed 48 months

Individualized Independent Living Plan (IILP)

  • Outlines the steps needed to assist you in becoming more independent in daily living within the family and community
  • Independent living services usually do not exceed 24 months

Once a plan is developed, you will continue to work with a case manager whose role is to assist you toward his or her goal of gainful employment or independent living. The case manager coordinates assistance including:

  • Tutorial assistance, when needed
  • Medical and dental referrals
  • Coordination of training allowance payments
  • Counseling and support during training, employment or independent living services

Specialized Employment Services

The case manger, employment specialist, and or/disabled veterans outreach replacement coordinator (DVOP) will also provide specialized employment services. These services include:

  • Job placement assistance and placement follow-up support services
  • Job seeking skills training such as interviewing techniques and resume preparation
  • Education of employers regarding tax incentive programs

In some cases, special employment programs including:

  • On-the-Job training placement
  • Non-paid work experience placement
  • Special employer incentive placement

Period and Length of Rehabilitation Program

Generally, you must complete a rehabilitation program 12 years from the date the VA notifies you of your entitlement to compensation. This period may be deferred or extended if a medical condition prevented you from training for a period or if you have a serious employment handicap.

Disabled veterans may receive services until they have reached their rehabilitation goal, but the duration of a rehabilitation program generally may not exceed 48 months. VA may provide counseling, job placement and post-employment services for an additional period not to exceed 18 months.

Voc-Rehab (VR&E) Entitlement Evaluation

To receive an evaluation for vocational rehabilitation services, you must:

  • Have received or will receive, an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge;
  • Have a service-connected disability rating of 10 percent or more;
  • Apply for vocational rehabilitation services.

In order to receive services or be entitled under Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation, you must have an employment handicap or serious employment handicap.

Employment Handicap

An Employment Handicap is defined as an impairment of the veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain or retain employment consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. The impairment must result in large part from a service-connected disability. For veterans rated at 20 percent or more, a finding of employment handicap results in a finding of “entitled.”

Serious Employment Handicap (SEH)

A Serious Employment Handicap is defined as a significant impairment of a veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes and interests. The SEH must result in the most part from a service-connected disability.

For veterans rated at 10 percent and for veterans whose 12-year period of basic eligibility has passed, the finding of an SEH is necessary to establish “entitlement.”

Getting Started

If you believe that you may qualify for this benefit, you should visit your nearest VA office or call: 1-800-827-1000. For more information and links to the VA regional offices, visit the VA website at http://www.va.gov/.