Veteran Readiness and Employment

Regular Army: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Department of Veterans Affairs facilitates the Veteran Readiness & 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.


Active Duty Service Members are eligible if at least one is true:

  • Have a 20% or higher pre-discharge disability rating (memorandum rating) and will soon leave the military, or

  • Are participating in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process or awaiting discharge due to a medical condition resulting from a serious injury or illness that occurred in the line of duty.

Learn more about accessing VR&E services through IDES

Please note: Severely injured active-duty service members can automatically receive VR&E benefits before VA issues a disability rating, because of Sec. 1631(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act (PL 110-181).

Veterans are eligible if they:

  • Have received a discharge that is other than dishonorable

  • Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from VA

  • Apply for VR&E services

Basic period of Eligibility: The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E services may be used is 12 years from the date of notification of one 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

Benefit Highlights

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. disabled vet in a wheelchairEntitlement 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:

  • Determine transferable skills, aptitudes, and interests

  • 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 following situations (see definitions for more detail):

  • Re-employment (with a former employer)

  • Direct job placement services for new employment

  • Self-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 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).

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.

Additional Information

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:

Document Review Date: 22 April 2021