The Department of Veterans Affairs strives for excellence in patient care and veteran's benefits for its constituents through high quality, prompt and seamless service to United States veterans.
In FY 07, 90,671 participated in vocational rehabilitation: 3,173 of these received loans. Estimates for subsequent periods are: FY 08, 92,858 participants and 4,239 loans, and FY 09, 94,947 participants and 4,021 loans.
Uses and Use Restrictions
The program offers the services and assistance necessary for an individual to increase their level of independence in daily living, or obtain and retain suitable employment.
This is employment that matches the individual's aptitudes, interests, and abilities and does not worsen the individual's disabilities.
An individual may reach an employment goal directly by receiving job seeking and job placement services.
If direct placement is not possible, the program provides education or training to qualify the individual for employment.
If the individual requires education or training, the program provides for direct payment to service providers for the entire cost of tuition, books, fees, supplies, and other services.
As part or all of a rehabilitation program, individuals may receive services and training designed to help them increase their level of independence in their homes and communities.
Counseling services are provided to the individual throughout his or her participation in the program.
In addition to disability compensation, the veteran receives a monthly subsistence allowance when participating in training at least half-time.
Advances of up to $1,041.48 may be made to veterans to meet unexpected financial difficulties.
These advances do not bear interest and are repaid out of future VA benefit payments.
Although no set repayment period is established, the monthly rate of repayment may not generally be less than 10 percent.
In general, a new advance may not be made until a previous advance has been fully repaid.
Usually, the training phase of the rehabilitation program may not exceed the equivalent of 48 months of full-time benefits nor may training be provided more than 12 years after the individual becomes eligible to apply for the program.
Following training, or sometimes as the whole of a rehabilitation program, the veteran may also receive up to 18 months of counseling, job placement and post-placement services.
The veteran may receive an employment adjustment allowance equal to 2 months of subsistence during this period of services, but only if employability was achieved as a result of services received in a program which included training.
Veterans who meet certain requirements may receive assistance to become self-employed.
Veterans of World War II and later service with a service-connected disability or disabilities rated at least 20 percent compensable and certain service-disabled servicepersons pending discharge or release from service if VA determines the servicepersons will likely receive at least a 20 percent rating and they need vocational rehabilitation because of an employment handicap.
Veterans with a 10 percent service-connected disability may be eligible if they first applied for vocational rehabilitation prior to November 1, 1990, and they have an employment handicap.
In addition, veterans with compensable ratings of 10 percent may also be eligible if they are found to have a serious employment handicap.
Veterans of World War II and later service with a service-connected disability or disabilities rated at least 20 percent compensable and certain service-disabled servicepersons pending discharge or release from service if VA determines the servicepersons will likely receive at least a 20 percent rating and they need vocational rehabilitation because of an employment handicap. Veterans with compensable ratings of 10 percent may also be eligible if they are found to have a serious employment handicap.
Aplication and Award Process
This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.
Obtain an application (VA Form 28-1900) from any VA office or regional office (see Appendix IV of the Catalog) and submit it to the nearest VA regional office. Applications can also be filed on line at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
Awards are authorized at the regional office for direct distribution to beneficiaries.
Generally, vocational rehabilitation must be accomplished within a basic 12-year period of eligibility. The 12-year period of eligibility begins with the date of discharge, notification of establishment of service-connected disability meeting the eligibility requirements, or change in character of discharge, whichever is later.
Veterans' Rehabilitation and Education Amendments of 1980, Public Laws 96-466, 101-237, 101-508, 102-16, 102-83, 102-568, 104-275, 38 U.S.C. 3102.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Average is 57.8 days.
Available through special board. Average time to process an appeal is 622 days. In the event of a denial, claimants are advised of appeal rights and procedures at the time of notification.
Under certain limited circumstances, a veteran's eligibility period can extend beyond 12 years and entitlement to training and subsistence can be longer than 48 months.
Formula and Matching Requirements
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Post Assistance Requirements
The veteran's progress is monitored throughout the rehabilitation program to assure that goals and objectives of the veteran's rehabilitation plan are carried out.
The plan extends throughout the veteran's rehabilitation program to include, when applicable, the securing of and adjusting to employment.
(Direct Payments) FY 07 $575,043,000; FY 08 est $615,462,000; and FY 09 est $659,591,000; (Loan Advances) FY 07 $2,403,000; FY 08 est $3,287,000; and FY 09 est $3,180,000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Full cost of tuition, books, fees, supplies and rehabilitation services. Monthly 2007 full-time allowances for veterans participating in training range from $520.74 for a single veteran to $761.18 for a veteran with two dependents, plus $55.49 for each dependent in excess of two. Non-interest bearing loans of up to $1,041.48 and a work-study allowance not to exceed the higher of 25 times the Federal or State minimum hourly wage times the number of weeks in the enrollment.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature
38 CFR 21.40-21.47; "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents," VA Pamphlet 80-0-01, $5.00, available from Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The stock number is: 051-000-00233-4. "Vocational Rehabilitation - Your Key to an Independent Future," VA Pamphlet 28-82-1, free, available from any VA regional office, and "Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program Quick Series", LUXART COMMUNICATIONS - GSA contract: GS-02F-0276P, www.quickseries.com/mil, Telephone: (1 800) 361-4653.
Regional or Local Office
See Appendix IV of the Catalog for Veterans Benefits Administration field offices.
Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (28), Washington, DC 20420. Telephone: (202) 461-9600.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
Direct payment for specified use; payments are made directly to the providers of goods or services for program participants; payments include tuition, fees, books, supplies, tutoring, professional services, and medical care if not available in a VA facility; advances are made to program participants to meet unexpected financial obligations which might hinder continued program progress.
Chris Blackwood is the founder of Helping Neighbourhoods Implement Change, a social enterprise that offers transformational mentoring to help change the lives of at-risk youth within the Canadian society.