Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Department of Veterans Affairs facilitates the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Program, also known as Chapter 31. 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.
Army Retirees who served on active duty may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services if all of these are true:
Didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from VA, and
If you were discharged from active duty before January 1, 2013, your basic period of eligibility ends 12 years from one of these dates, whichever comes later:
The date you received notice of your date of separation from active duty, or
The date you received your first VA service-connected disability rating
The basic period of eligibility may be extended if a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) finds that you have a Serious Employment Handicap (SHE). Having an SEH means your service-connected disability significantly limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment (a job that doesn’t make your disability worse, is stable, and matches your abilities, aptitudes, and interests).
If you were discharged from active duty on or after January 1, 2013, the 12-year basic period of eligibility doesn’t apply to you. There’s no time limit on your eligibility.
VR&E Program: A Veteran who has an employment handicap and is found eligible for Chapter 31 is entitled to Veteran Readiness and Employment services. The 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 their community.
Evaluation: The Veteran is scheduled to meet with a VRC for a comprehensive evaluation to determine if they are 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 they have 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 their ability to obtain and maintain a job. Entitlement to services is established if the Veteran has an employment handicap and is within their 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 their disabilities permitting the return to suitable employment.
After the Evaluation: After evaluating and determining the Veteran eligible for VR&E services, the Veteran 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 their goals.
Depending on their circumstances, Veterans will work with their VRC to achieve one of the five support-and-services tracks to help you get education or training, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible:
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 the Veteran 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 to learn how to calculate the BAH rate (for Chapter 31 Post-9/11 GI Bill).
What kind of VR&E services can I get?
Depending on your needs and goals, services may include:
A complete evaluation to determine your abilities, skills, and interests for employment
Professional or vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning for employment services
Employment services such as job training, resume development, and other work-readiness support
Help 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 education and training at a college, vocational, technical, or business school
Supportive rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and medical referrals
Independent living services to help you live as independently as possible
For more information, please see the Veteran Readiness and Employment webpage maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs:
For additional information on eligibility and entitlements, please visit:
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: