How to apply for VA Voc Rehab and Employment
Find out how to apply for VA Voc Rehab and Employment (also known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, VR&E, or Chapter 31 benefits).
How do I apply if I already have a VA disability rating?
Sign in to your eBenefits account.
Click Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
Select the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefit you’re applying for.
If you’re eligible, we’ll invite you to an orientation session at your nearest VA regional benefit office.
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).
Download VA Form 28-0588 (PDF)
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
- Expecting an other than dishonorable discharge and have a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more, or
- Entered in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).
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). The sunset date of that law has been extended to September 30, 2018, through Sec. 724 of Public Law 113-291.
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.
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:
- Reemployment with a former employer
- Job placement and counseling services for new employment
- Help with starting your own business
- Long-term training or services to help you find work in a different field that better suits your abilities and interests
- Independent living services if you can’t return to work right away
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.