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• EDITOR’S NOTE: Veterans’ Corner, a column to inform armed-forces veterans about services and benefits available to them, appears the first Sunday of each month.

Veterans Affairs may assist you in receiving vocational rehabilitation, employment services and education and career counseling to help with job training, employment accommodations, r←sum← development and job seeking skills coaching.

EDUCATION/CAREER COUNSELING

VA’s Education and Career Counseling program is a great opportunity for service members and veterans to get personalized counseling and support to help guide career paths. Service members are eligible to enroll in Education and Career Counseling if you are a service member within 180 days of anticipated discharge from active duty or if eligible for Chapter 33 benefits while on active duty. Veterans are eligible to enroll within one year from the date of discharge or release from active duty, if you are participating in an education benefits.

Services include:

• Career choice: evaluation to understand the best career options for you based on your interest and capabilities.

• Benefit coaching: guidance on the effective use of your VA benefits and/or other resources to achieve your education and career goals.

• Personalized support: academic or adjustment counseling and personalized support to help you remove any barriers to your success.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION

If eligible and entitled, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) can help veterans with service-connected disabilities find meaningful, sustainable careers and connect you with training or other opportunities to help you reach your employment goals. Here are some ways VR&E can help you succeed in your career.

• Determine your transferable skills, aptitudes and interests

• Identify your viable employment and/or independent living services options

• Explore labor market and wage information in your area,

• Identify physical demands and other characteristics of jobs you’re seeking,

• Narrow vocational options to identify your suitable employment goals

• Select a VR&E program track leading to your employment or independent living goal,

• Investigate your training requirements, Identify resources needed to achieve your rehabilitation,

• Develop an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan to achieve your identified employment and/or independent living goals.

ELIGIBILITY FOR VETERANS

A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rating of at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable conditions.

ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICE MEMBERS

Service members are eligible to apply if they expect to receive an honorable discharge upon separation from active duty, obtain a rating of 20 percent or more from VA, obtain a proposed Disability Evaluation System (DES) rating of 20 percent or more from VA, or obtain a referral to a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).

ENTITLEMENT

A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) works with the veteran to determine if an employment handicap exists. An employment handicap existed if a veteran’s service-connected disability impairs his/her ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable career employment.

After an entitlement decision is made, the veteran and VRC work together to develop a rehabilitation plan.

The rehabilitation plan outlines the rehabilitation services to be provided. Based on individualized needs, veterans work with a VRC to select their track of employment.

LENGTH OF A REHAB PROGRAM

The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E benefits may be used is 12 years from the later of the following: 1) A veteran’s date of separation from active military service, or 2) The date VA first notified a veteran that he/she has a compensable service-connected disability.

Depending on the length of program needed, veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or the part-time equivalent.

Rehabilitation plans that only provide services to improve independence in daily living are limited to 30 months.

These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances.

Source: www.benefits.va. gov