What Is the Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program?
This program's primary function is to help veterans who have service-connected disabilities become suitably employed, maintain employment, or achieve independence in daily living.
Who is Eligible for VR&E Services?
To receive an evaluation for vocational rehabilitation services, a veteran must:
- Have received, or eventually receive, an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge
- Have a VA service-connected disability rating of 10% or more
- Apply for vocational rehabilitation services
The law generally 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 or
- Date the veteran was first notified of a service-connected disability rating
A Comprehensive Evaluation is completed with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor that includes:
- A full assessment of the veteran's interests, aptitudes, and abilities to determine whether the veteran is "entitled" to VR&E services
- An assessment of whether service-connected disabilities impair the veteran's ability to find and/or hold a job using the occupational skills already attained
- Vocational exploration and goal development
How is Entitlement Determined?
A VA Counselor decides if a veteran has an employment handicap based upon the results of the comprehensive evaluation. Entitlement to services is established if the veteran has a 20% service-connected disability and an employment handicap. If the disability is 10% service-connected, then a serious employment handicap must be found to establish entitlement to vocational rehabilitation services (see definitions for more details).
After an entitlement decision is made, the veteran and the counselor will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan.
What is a Rehabilitation Plan?
A Rehabilitation Plan is a written detailed outline of services provided under the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. The following service delivery options may be provided under a Rehabilitation Plan:
- Reemployment with previous employer
- Rapid employment services for new employment
- Employment through long term services
- Independent living services
What Other Benefits May be Provided?
After a plan is developed, the counselor will assist the Veteran to implement the plans to achieve gainful suitable employment or independent living. The counselor or case manager may provide medical and dental referrals, coordination of training allowance, tutorial assistance, adjustment counseling, or other services necessary to achieve rehabilitation.
- Vocational Educational Counseling
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service provides vocational-educational counseling to veterans and certain dependents.
- What Do VR&E Partners Do?
Partners provide a variety of important services in combination with the VA vocational rehabilitation program that can help with adjustment to disability in the work place, enhance self-awareness, and connect people to employers.
In summary, a Veteran who is found eligible for the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program, and who has an employment handicap is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. Following the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor's determination that a Veteran has met the entitlement criteria, the counselor and Veteran will jointly develop a plan for a rehabilitation program with a goal typically leading toward employment. In some cases, the plan goal may be related to an independent living need. This plan will provide all of the needed services and assistance identified through the initial evaluation. In those cases when a Veteran is not found to be entitled, the VA Counselor will assist him or her to use the information gathered in the initial evaluation to identify other options, goals, and programs that should contribute to sound vocational adjustment, for example, referral to the State Vocational Rehabilitation program, information about financial aid, and referral to the Department of Labor's Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) program.
More Information: Visit the VR&E Program Home Page
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