Vocational Rehab and Employment


Vocational Rehab and Employment (VR&E)


VR&E provides services to eligible Servicemembers and Veterans with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap, to help them prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment. For Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E provides services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible. Additional information on VR&E benefits is available at www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab.

VR&E Eligibility for Veterans:

A Veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rating of at least 20 percent with an employment handicap or a rating of 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable conditions.

VR&E Eligibility for Servicemembers:

Servicemembers are eligible to apply if they expect to receive an honorable discharge upon separation from active duty, obtain a rating of 20 percent or more from VA, obtain a proposed Disability Evaluation System (DES) rating of 20 percent or more from VA, or obtain a referral to a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).

VR&E Entitlement:

A vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) works with the Veteran to determine if an employment handicap ex-ists. An employment handicap exists if a Veteran’s service-connected disability impairs his/her ability to prepare for, obtain, or maintain suitable career employment. After an entitlement decision is made, the Veteran and VRC work together to develop an individualized rehabilitation plan. The individualized rehabilitation plan outlines the rehabilitation services to be provided.

VR&E Services:

Based on their individualized needs, Veterans work with a VRC to select one of five tracks to employment. The five tracks to employment provide greater emphasis on exploring employment options early in the rehabilitation planning process, greater informed choice for the Veteran regarding occupational and employment options, faster access to employment for Veterans who have identifiable and transferable skills for direct placement into suitable employment, and an option for Veterans who are not able to work, but need as-sistance to lead a more independent life. If a program of training is selected, VA pays the cost of the approved training and services (except those coordinated through other providers) that are included in an individual’s rehabilitation plan, including subsistence allowance.

The Five Tracks to Employment are:

  • Reemployment with previous employer
  • Rapid access to employment
  • Self-employment
  • Employment through long-term services
  • Independent living services

Length of a Rehabilitation Program:

The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E benefits may be used is 12 years from the later of the following: 1) A Veteran’s date of separation from active military service, or 2) The date VA first notified a Veteran that he/she has a compen-sable service-connected disability. Depending on the length of pro-gram needed, Veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or the part-time equivalent. Rehabilitation plans that only pro-vide services to improve independence in daily living are limited to 24 months. These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances.

Employment Services:

VR&E establishes partnerships with federal, state, and private agencies that help facilitate direct placement of Veterans or Servicemembers into civilian careers. VR&E can assist with placement using the following resources:

On the Job Training (OJT) Program:

Employers hire Veterans at an apprentice wage and VR&E supplements the salary up to the journeyman wage (up to the maximum allowable under OJT). As Veterans progress through training, employers begin to pay more of the salary until the Veterans reach journeyman level and the employers are paying the entire salary. VR&E will also pay for any necessary tools.

Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE):

The NPWE program provides eligible Veterans the opportunity to obtain training and practical job experience concurrently. This program is ideal for Veterans or Servicemembers who have a clearly established career goal, and who learn easily in a hands-on environment. This program is also well suited for Veterans who are having difficulties obtaining employment due to lack of work experience. The NPWE program may be established in a federal, state, or local (i.e. city, town, school district) government agency only. The employer may hire the Veteran at any point during the NPWE.

Special Employer Incentive (SEI):

The SEI program is for eligible Veterans who face challenges in obtaining employment. Veterans approved to participate in the SEI program are hired by participating employers and employment is expected to continue following successful completion of the program. Employers may be provided this incentive to hire Veterans. If approved, the employer will receive reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the Veteran’s salary during the SEI program, which can last up to six months.

The Veterans Employment Center

(www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/jobs) is the Federal Government’s single online source for connecting transitioning Servicemembers, Veterans, and military families with meaningful career opportunities with both public and private-sector employers.

VetSuccess On Campus (VSOC):

The VSOC program is designed to assist Veterans as they make the transition to college life. Through VSOC, VR&E is strengthening partnerships with institutions of higher learning and creating opportunities to help Veterans achieve success by providing outreach and transition services to the general Veteran population during their transition from military to college life.

Chapter 36 Education and Career Counseling:

VA’s Education and Career Counseling Program (Title 38 U.S.C. Chapter 36) offers a great opportunity for transitioning Veterans, Servicemembers, and dependents to get personalized counseling and support to guide their career paths, ensure the most effective use of their VA benefits, and help them achieve their goals.

Other Education & Vocational Rehabilitation Sources:


www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp www.benefits.va.gov/tap/


  • Veterans: Download, view or print our easy to read handbook for more details 
  • Educators: Download, view or print our easy to read handbook to see how to become and approved school

Click here: Veteran Vocational Rehab, Employment and Educational Benefits Handbook