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How to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment

Find out how to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), formerly called VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. This program is also known as Chapter 31.

How do I apply if I already have a VA disability rating?

You can apply online right now.

Apply for VR&E benefits

If you're eligible, we'll invite you to an orientation session at your nearest VA regional office.

You can also apply:

By mail

Fill out an Application for Veteran Readiness and Employment For Claimants with Service-Connected Disabilities (VA Form 28-1900).

Get VA Form 28-1900 to download

Send your completed application here:

Department of Veterans Affairs
VR&E Intake Center
PO Box 5210
Janesville, WI

In person

Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee help you.

Find a VA regional office near you

With the help of a trained professional

You can work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative to get help applying for VR&E benefits.

Get help filling out an application

What if I’m a service member who hasn’t yet received a service-connected disability rating?

You don’t need to wait for a rating. Instead, please fill out VA Vocational Rehabilitation - Getting Ahead After You Get Out (VA Form 28-0588).

Get VA Form 28-0588 to download

You may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services if you’re in at least one of the below situations.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You’re going through the Physical Evaluation Board process, or
  • You’re expecting an other than dishonorable discharge and have a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more, or
  • You’re entered in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).
    Learn more about accessing VR&E services through IDES

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).

Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD): If you have an illness or injury that you believe was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, you can file a claim for disability benefits through the BDD program 180 to 90 days before you leave active duty. This may help speed up the claim decision process so you can get your benefits sooner.

Learn more about BDD and what to do if you have less than 90 days left on active duty

Go to our video about BDD (YouTube)

What happens after I apply?

After you apply, we’ll schedule a meeting for you with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) to find out if you have an employment handicap and if you’re eligible for VR&E benefits and services. You have an employment handicap if your service-connected disability 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).

After we make an entitlement decision, you and your counselor will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan. This plan outlines the rehabilitation and other services that VR&E will provide.

You can also meet with VRCs called VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) counselors at schools participating in the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program.

Learn more about VetSuccess on Campus

If you disagree with a decision on your application for VR&E services and benefits, you can request a decision review. You can also manage any review requests or appeals you already filed.

Request a decision review or manage a legacy appeal

What’s included in a rehabilitation plan?

A rehabilitation plan is a written plan that outlines the resources we’ll use to help you find employment. Depending on your situation, your VRC will work with you to choose one of the following support-and-services tracks to help you find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible:

What happens after my VRC creates my rehabilitation plan?

Your VRC will help you put your plan into action. They’ll also provide ongoing counseling and help you get tutorial assistance, job training, work-readiness support, and medical referrals.