By David Austin
October 12, 2018
Understanding Voc Rehab Benefits
If your disabilities are so severe that you are unable to work, independent living services may be provided. A program of independent living provides the services and assistance necessary to ensure each eligible veteran is capable, to the maximum extent possible, of living independently and participating in family and community life activities with the added potential of eventually returning to work. Services/Benefits may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Assistive technology
- Services to address any personal and/or family adjustment issues
- Independent living skills training
- Connection with community-based support service
To receive and evaluation for VR&E services, a veteran must:
- Have received, or will receive a discharge that is other than dishonorable
- Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent
- Submit a completed application (VA Form 28-1900) for VR&E services
The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E services may be used in 12 years from the latter of the following:
- Date of separation from active military service, or
- Date the veteran was first notified by VA of a service-connected disability rating.
The basic period of eligibility may be extended if a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) determines that a veteran has a Serious Employment Handicap.
Subsistence Allowance - in some cases, you might require additional education or training to become employable. A VR&E subsistence allowance is paid each month during training and is based on whether you attend training full-time or part-time, the number of family members you have, and the type of training.
In summary, a veteran or service member must complete an application and meet with a VRC to determine eligibility. If the VRC determines that an employment handicap exists as a result of a service-connected disability, the veteran is entitled to services. The VRC and the veteran will then continue counseling to develop a plan to address the rehabilitation and employment needs of the individual.
The rehabilitation plan will specify an employment or independent living goal, identify intermediate goals, and outline services and resources needed to achieve these goals. The VRC and the veteran will work together to implement the plan and achieve successful rehabilitation.
If a veteran is found not to be entitled to services, the VRC will help the veteran locate other resources to address any vocational rehabilitation and employment needs identified during the evaluation. Referral to other resources may include state vocational rehabilitation programs, Department of Labor employment programs for disabled veterans, state, federal or local agencies providing services for employment or small business development, internet-based resources for rehabilitation and employment, and information about applying for financial aid.
VA's Caregiver Support Line Provides Great Assistance
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Caregiver Support Line facilitates monthly telephone education groups for family caregivers of veterans with a theme of "Care for the Caregiver." A different topic is presented every month with the goal of helping Caregivers develop tools and strategies to help balance the demands of caregiving, while also focusing on the importance of self-care. These groups are available to any family caregiver currently caring for a veteran enrolled in VA healthcare.
Remember, help is just a phone call away with VA's Caregiver Support Line. If you need support from a licensed professional call 1-855-260-3274. Keep in mind, caring licensed professionals staffing the support line can connect you with VA services, a Caregiver Support Coordinator at your nearest VA medical center, or just listen if that’s what you need right now.
Caregivers can participate in monthly telephone education groups, where they can discuss self-care tips and ask questions on a variety of topics.
You may find the Caregiver Support Line to be an invaluable asset for you and the veteran in your care.