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Chapter 31 VR&E: Education and Employment Benefits for Disabled Veterans

For veterans and service members, reentering the civilian workforce presents a unique set of challenges.

And for those with disabilities and handicaps from their time in military service, those challenges are infinitely magnified.  

To assist in transitioning those veterans, the Veterans Administration provides a special program under the GI Bill called Vocational Rehabiliation and Employment (VR&E). VR&E is also identified by its legal designation, Chapter 31.  

Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) is a lesser known supplement to the GI Bill that can help veterans pay for their college education even if their GI Bill benefits have long-since expired.

All YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VR&E

In this article, you will quickly learn how VR&E differs from the standard GI Bill (Chapter 30 or 33), the eligibility requirements for this program and the benefits that it could offer to you, even if your Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits have long-since expired...

Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation

WHAT MAKES VR&E DIFFERENT THAN THE CHAPTER 30 OR 33 GI BILL BENEFITS?

There are several components to this question, but let's start with the basics.  

First of all, VR&E is more than just a program to pay for education.

The VA offers job search/application assistance, resume writing and other services to actually help disabled veterans obtain and retain employment.  

Second, VR&E's period of eligilbilty can be much longer than the standard GI BIll.  

In most cases, Chapter 30 and 33 GI BIll benefits can only be used up to 10-15 years after separating from military service.  However, VR&E benefits can be used up to 12 years after separating service or after having received a certification of your service-connected disability, whichever is longer.  

For example, suppose a service member separated from the military in 1992, but did not receive certification for a service-connected disabilty until 2005, and would otherwise be equally eligible for the GI BIll and VR&E.  In that case, GI Bill benefits would have long-since expired (in 2002), but VR&E benefits would still be active, since that person would have 12 years from the day in 2005 (so some time in 2017) to use those benefits.

 

As a result, veterans with service-connected disability may still qualify for military education, even years after their GI Bill benefits have expired.

 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION & EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS?

Generally speaking, there are two requirements a veteran must meet to qualify for benefits:

  • A discharge that is other than dishonorable
  • A service-connected disabilty rating of at least 10% from the VA.

If you know or think you may qualify for at least 10% disability, applications for this program may be done online here, using your eBenefits account.

One difference, however, from other VA education benefit programs is that each VR&E application is assigned a VA Case Manager, who you'll work with throughout your education and job seeking efforts and will be responsible for approving any education option you choose.

 

WHAT BENEFITS CAN I RECEIVE FROM VR&E?

In addition to paying for any education program chosen for up to an additional 48 months, VR&E most often pays a subsistence allowance, during the time a veteran is in their program, similar to the Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) paid by Chapter 30 and 33 of the GI Bill.  

As of October 1, 2015, the following monthly Subsistence Allowance rates are paid for full-time training at a college or university:

  • No Dependents - $605.44
  • 1 Dependent - $751.00
  • 2 Dependents - $885.00

The allowance is increased $64.50/month for each additional dependent, beyond the first two.  Students attending half-time or three-quarter time are also eligible for benefits at reduced rates, which can be found here.

 

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

 
ABTU has military education specialists on staff that will be glad to discuss with you your particular situation and help you identify additional benefits for which you may qualify.

If you're looking for a school that offers accredited and affordable online, career-focused certificate, diploma and degree programs, please visit our military benefits page to learn more now or visit our main website at www.abtu.edu.

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