Military service does not come without risk, so if a service member incurs a disability in the line of duty, there are benefits available to help him or her retrain for another suitable profession. The Vocational Rehab and Employment (VR&E) program, also referred to as Chapter 31 or Voc-Rehab, was created to do just that.
This program is available for service members who meet certain criteria, including:
There is a limited period of eligibility for VR&E program benefits, which is generally 12 years from the date of separation from military service or notification of disability. But there is also an appeals process for lengthening the eligibility period. This can be discussed with a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor while going over eligibility for VR&E entitlement.
Even if veterans are not found eligible for VR&E entitlement, the VR&E program will help direct them to appropriate programs through their state of residence, local agencies or Department of Labor programs. Counselors will also help the veteran to locate other sources of financial assistance for job retraining.
VR&E is not limited to merely funding further education for veterans with disabilities; it is a comprehensive program that includes setting goals, delineating the best way to meet those goals, finding appropriate educational programs and identifying the resources necessary to meet these goals. In addition, VR&E may pay a monthly stipend to eligible veterans attending training programs.
Educational benefits play a large part of the VR&E in helping disabled veterans prepare for a new career. As non-traditional students with unique issues, VR&E beneficiaries have special needs that many online colleges and universities have rushed to fill. Flexible schedules and online lectures and assignments mean that students can find time for school in a hectic schedule of physical rehabilitation and medical appointments.
Sitting through classes while injuries or disabilities flare up can be difficult, but this is eliminated by taking online classes from the comfort of a home already set up for the needs of the disabled student. Further, most online degree programs have counselors trained to work with military and veteran benefit programs, which means students have easy email and chat access to navigate the educational system.
Eligibility for VR&E starts at the Department of Veterans Affairs VONNAP (Veterans Online Applications) site. VONNAP uses electronic submission for benefits analysis, which means that paperwork moves more quickly than it did for past Veterans Programs. Now students can begin their educational programs and new lives that much sooner.
*Degreesfinder.com is not affiliated with the armed services or any government entity