Thursday, July 24, 2014   

Vocational Rehabilitation

The Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program is designed to help a service-disabled veteran overcome employment handicaps imposed by such disability, so that the veteran is able to find and keep suitable employment as well as to achieve maximum independence in daily living. The primary goal of the program is to train disabled veterans for appropriate employment; although education benefits for school attendance may be authorized if it is determined to be the best way to prepare a particular veteran for entry or re-entry into the labor force. Vocational Rehabilitation benefits must not be viewed as a supplement to or a substitute or replacement for VA education assistance benefits available under other programs.

Eligibility
Eligibility for and entitlement to Vocational Rehabilitation requires that a veteran have service-connected disability or disabilities ratable at 20% or more, and have an employment handicap resulting primarily from such disability. A veteran with a 10% service-connected disability may also qualify, on a showing that such disability produces a "serious" employment handicap.

The period of eligibility is 12 years from date of discharge from service or 12 years from the date VA first notifies the veteran of a qualifying service-connected disability, whichever is the later.

To apply, you must complete VA Form 28-1900. This application is then sent to the regional office of jurisdiction. For our area, this is the Winston-Salem VARO.

Once the application is received by the VA and it is established that a qualifying degree of disability is present, the applicant will be notified and given an appointment to meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor. The veteran will then receive counseling, testing and an evaluation to determine whether an employment handicap exists, and if so, whether training and/or rehabilitation services are feasible or necessary.

Rehabilitation programs may include employment (including self-employment) services and assistance; educational (college-level) or vocational (trade, business or technical school) training; apprenticeship or on-job training; or farm cooperative training. For severely disabled veterans there may be training in a rehabilitation facility, in a sheltered workshop, or in-home; the program may also include independent living services and training.