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How to Qualify for Employment Services

Service members wonder, “How do I qualify for veterans employment assistance following military discharge?” Since veterans employment requirements can vary by specific program, discovering who can qualify for VA employment programs is contingent on the intended VA service. Likewise, a veteran’s VA employment period to qualify may be extendable under certain and personal conditions. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program helps transitioning and disabled veterans to find stable sources of income through VA employment services. Services included to insure veterans employment qualification are comprehensive evaluations, job-seeking, on the job training, post-secondary training (at vocational, college and technical schools), resume development, work readiness assistance and many more supportive rehabilitation services. For more information on VA employment services and discovering who can qualify for VA employment programs, the following topics are available:

  • How do I qualify for veterans employment?
  • VA employment period of qualification
  • Rehabilitation plans
  • The GI Bill and veterans employment

How do I qualify for veterans employment?

If applicants are concern about who qualifies for VA employment programs specifically, they can start with the general Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment requirements. To qualify for the veterans employment programs generally, veterans need to apply for the VR&E services, be honorably discharged (or any other discharge) and have a VA assign a memorandum rating above a certain percentage. Veterans employment requirements and active service members qualifications for employment services differ.

The VA states who qualify for VA employment programs when they give veterans a memorandum vocational rehabilitation rating. This medical score supports the VA to determine veteran qualifications for employment assistance. Active duty service members can apply for VR&E prior to military separation if they expect a discharge other than dishonorable and of 20 percent or higher. Another way for active service members to meet veterans employment requirements before being discharged is by participating in the Integrated Disability Evaluation Systems (IDES) program or have a certified injury or illness preventing them from performing military duties. These active service members must report for VR&E evaluation with a counselor before discharge to meet veterans employment qualifications.

A veteran will qualify for VA employment programs if he or she received an honorable discharge or separated from active duty by any discharge other than dishonorable. A veteran must also have a documented service-connected disability with a memorandum rating of at least 10 percent.

Applying for veterans employment programs initiates by scheduling a meeting with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC). During the meeting, the VRC will start a comprehensive evaluation to assess the veterans employment qualifications, aptitude, interests and transferable skills. The comprehensive evaluation includes some goal development and vocational exploration to see if the veteran can find employment opportunities that will lead to independence after the military. The VRC will also evaluate the veteran’s disabilities and assess whether they are great enough to impair a job search. If the VRC determines the veterans employment qualifications are handicap due to the extent of the disability, they will make an Entitlement Determination. Veterans can apply for VR&E services within the VA employment period of qualification.

During which time can I apply for VR&E services?

The VA employment period of qualification refers to the time in which a veteran can apply for VR&E services. The period to qualify for VA employment services is typically 12 years following the veteran’s date of separation from active military service. However, the 12-year period to qualify for VA employment may start from the date of the service-related disability rating. To continue to fulfill veterans employment requirements, service members must apply to VR&E before the period expires.

It is vital for applicants to know when to file for VA employment services so they do not miss benefits. However, there are certain circumstances that can extend the period to qualify for VA employment. If the assigned VRC determines the veteran has a serious employment handicap, a rehabilitation plan may develop. The VA may lengthen the period to qualify for employment for the specific veteran to overcome the significant restrictions caused by the service-related disability.

Learn About Rehabilitation Plans

Part of determining the period veterans can qualify for employment services is considering the personal factors a service member needs to improve to gain long-term employment. As mentioned above, the period to qualify for VA employment may be longer for veterans who need to surmount individual barriers. Rehabilitation plans increase the period veterans can qualify for employment by creating a tailored plan of services to achieve vocational or independent living goals. Rehabilitation plans are individualized to the specific veterans employment qualifications and outline all of the resources and criteria playing a role in obtaining objectives. Both the veteran and their VRC agree on the rehabilitation plan.

Veterans utilize these rehabilitation plans to learn how to transition from military duties to civilian professions. If veterans employment qualification circumstances change the situation, the orders can be updated to reflect the alteration. Due to varied circumstances, the VRC and veterans can choose between five tracks:

  • Reemployment
  • Self-employment
  • Employment through long-term services
  • Independent living services
  • Direct job placement services.

The VRC continues to work alongside the veteran to help achieve success after the development of the rehabilitation plan. If the veteran is having issues with the qualification period for VA employment or needs help with other services related to vocation rehabilitation, the VRC assigned to the veteran will assist.

Learn About the GI Bill and Veterans Employment

Veterans employment qualifications with VR&E is more stringent than the requirements for the GI Bill. If an applicant meets veterans employment requirements, he or she may also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A veteran who qualifies for VA employment programs can opt to utilize benefits from the GI Bill before VR&E services if he or she has entitlement.