Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Service (VR&E)
Army National Guard: Retired
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Department of Veterans Affairs facilitates the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) Program. The VR&E Program provides the services and assistance needed to enable Veterans with service-connected disabilities to achieve maximum independence in daily living and to the maximum extent feasible to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment. Veterans with a disability rating and an employment handicap may be entitled to VR&E services as authorized by Congress under Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 31.
Retired Army National Guard Soldiers who served on federal active duty may be entitled to VR&E services if they:
- Expect to receive an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge upon separation from active duty
- Obtain a memorandum rating of 20% or more from the VA
- Apply for VR&E services
Or (until December 31, 2016)
- Are participating in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) or are certified by the military as having a severe injury or illness that may prevent them from performing their military duties
- Apply for VR&E services, and
- Report for an evaluation with a VR&E counselor before separating from active duty.
Basic period of Eligibility: The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E services may be used is 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.
VR&E Program: A Veteran who has an employment handicap and is found eligible for Chapter 31 is entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation Employment services. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program has two key goals. First, to assist the service-disabled Veteran to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment. Second, for those persons who are severely disabled and that gainful employment is not an option, assistance may be provided to allow that person to live more independently in his or her community.
Evaluation: The Veteran is scheduled to meet with a VRC for a comprehensive evaluation to determine if he/she is entitled for services. A comprehensive evaluation includes:
- An assessment of the Veteran's interests, aptitudes, and abilities
- An assessment of whether service connected disabilities impair the Veteran's ability to find and / or hold a job using the occupational skills he or she has already developed
- Vocational exploration and goal development leading to employment and / or maximum independence at home and in the Veteran's community.
The VRC will then work with the Veteran to determine if an employment handicap exists. An employment handicap exists if the Veteran's service-connected disability impairs his/her ability to obtain and maintain a job. Entitlement to services is established if the Veteran has an employment handicap and is within his/her 12-year basic period of eligibility, and has a 20% or greater service-connected disability rating.
If the service-connected disability rating is less than 20%, or if the Veteran is beyond the 12-year period, then a serious employment handicap must be found to establish entitlement to VR&E services. A serious handicap is based on the extent of services required to help a Veteran in overcoming his/her disabilities permitting the return to suitable employment.
After the Evaluation: After evaluating and determining the Veteran eligible for VR&E services, he/she and the VRC will work together to accomplish the following goals:
- Identify viable employment and / or independent living services options
- Explore labor market and wage information
- Identify physical demands and other job characteristics
- Narrow vocational options to identify a suitable employment goal
- Select a VR&E program track leading to an employment or independent living goal
- Investigate training requirements
- Identify resources needed to achieve rehabilitation
- Develop an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP) to achieve the identified employment and / or independent living goals.
An IWRP is an individualized, detailed, written outline of the services, resources and criteria that will be used to achieve employment and/or independent living goals. The plan is an agreement that is signed by the Veteran and the VRC, and is updated as needed to assist the Veteran to achieve his/her goals.
Depending on their circumstances, Veterans will work with their VRC to achieve one of the five following situations (see definitions for more detail):
- Re-employment (with a former employer)
- Direct job placement services for new employment
- Employment through long-term services including OJT, college, or other training
- Independent living services.
After a plan is developed and signed, a VRC or case manager will continue to work with the Veteran to implement the plan to achieve suitable employment and/or independent living. The VRC or case manager will provide ongoing counseling, assistance, and coordinate services such as tutorial assistance, training in job-seeking skills, medical/dental referrals, adjustment counseling, payment of training allowance (if applicable), and other services as required in order to help the Veteran achieve rehabilitation.
Subsistence Allowance: In some cases, Veterans participating in a VR&E program may receive a subsistence allowance while they pursue an educational or training program in preparation for a future career. The subsistence allowance is paid each month, and is based on the rate of attendance in a training program (full time, three quarter time, or half time), the number of dependents, and the type of training. If a Veteran qualifies for the Post-9/11 GI Bill he/she may be eligible to receive the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for subsistence. Click here for the VR&E Subsistence Allowance Rate, and here for the BAH rate (for Ch 31 Post-911 GI Bill).
Specialized Services and Assistance: Specialized employment services will also be provided by the Case Manager, Employment Specialist, and/or Disabled Veterans Outreach Placement Coordinator (DVOP). These services include:
- Comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine abilities, skills, and interests for employment
- Vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning for employment services
- Employment services such as job-training, job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance
- Assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives and job accommodations
- On the Job Training (OJT), apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
- Post-secondary training at a college, vocational, technical or business school
- Supportive rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and medical referrals
- Independent living services for Veterans unable to work due to the severity of their disabilities.
For more information, please see the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Services webpage maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs:
For additional information on eligibility and entitlements, please visit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/eligibility_and_entitlement.asp
For additional information on Subsistence Allowance Rates:
VetSuccess On Campus (VSOC) Home page, maintained by the Department of Veteran Affairs:
For information on government civil service jobs, visit:
Online Resource for Americans with disabilities:
Document Review Date: 9 May 2016