Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment


The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program assists veterans who have service-connected disabilities with obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. Independent living services are also available for severely disabled veterans who are not currently ready to seek employment.


Eligibility: A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rated at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Servicemembers pending medical separation from active duty may also apply if their disabilities are reasonably expected to be rated at least 20 percent following their discharge.


Entitlement:  A VA Counselor must decide if the individual has an employment handicap based upon the results of a comprehensive evaluation.  After an entitlement decision is made, the individual and counselor will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan.  The rehabilitation plan will specify the rehabilitation services to be provided.


Services: Rehabilitation services provided to participants in the VR&E program are under one of five tracks.  VA pays the cost of all approved training programs. Subsistence allowance may also be provided.  The five tracks are:

Reemployment with Previous Employer:  For individuals who are separating from active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves and are returning to work for their previous employer.


Rapid Access to Employment:  For individuals who either wish to obtain employment soon after separation or who already have the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market in an appropriate occupation.


Self-Employment:  For individuals who have limited access to traditional employment, need flexible work schedules, or who require more accommodation in the work environment due to their disabling conditions or other life circumstances.


Employment Through Long-Term Services:  For individuals who need specialized training and/or education to obtain and maintain suitable employment.


Independent Living Services:  For veterans who are not currently able to work and need rehabilitation services to live more independently.


Period of a Rehabilitation Program: Generally, veterans must complete a program within 12 years from their separation from military service or within 12 years from the date VA notifies them that they have a compensable service-connected disability. Depending on the length of program needed, veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or their part-time equivalent. These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances.