Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E): What To KnowUpdated: October 19, 2023
The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program helps veterans with a service-connected disability find a civilian workplace job.
VR&E Program Benefits
The Veteran Readiness and Employment program is specifically tailored for veterans and active service members who suffered injuries while on duty. Those eligible get access to several benefits, often referred to as “Chapter 31 benefits,” ranging from financial assistance to job training to connecting them with a counselor to help a veteran figure out the best steps for them to get into the workforce.
VR&E Subsistence Allowance
If you are thinking about utilizing the VR&E program, you would be eligible for a monthly subsistence allowance. The amount you would be eligible for varies based on the number of dependents you have and whether you’re full-time or part-time in employment training programs. Monthly subsistence allowance rates are updated in October each year.
48-Month Rule Adjustments
A 2021 change to a long-standing policy now allows for Veteran Readiness and Employment subsistence allowance payments to not be deducted from the 48-month benefits granted in the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Before the change, if you received any VR&E monthly subsistence, those payments would have been deducted from the 48-month total benefits afforded under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Meaning you would have lost months of eligibility to receive BAH.
However, the rule change does not apply if you’re eligible but choose to receive BAH benefits instead of VR&E benefits.
VR&E Approaches to Employment
The VR&E program also offers you a chance to connect with a counselor, who will ask a series of questions to learn more about what you’ll need to succeed in the workforce. Questions are geared toward finding possible physical, mental, and psychological limitations that may make it difficult to maintain employment.
Once connected with a counselor, you will discuss a range of different paths to move forward in the program:
- Reemployment Path: Veterans are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA), meaning a Veteran’s civilian job status can’t be negatively affected by service. So, this path is aimed at helping you try to rejoin a former employer.
- Self-Employment Path: If you want to own a business, you’ll get foundational business knowledge spanning areas like finance and marketing, combined with feedback on business proposals to start a business.
- Rapid Access to Employment Path: If you want a job that requires skills you already possess, this path connects you with a program counselor to help with things like resume building and interview training.
- Long-Term Career Transition Path: Receive assistance for a seamless switch to a different field of work like career compatibility assessment, tertiary education, and practical training endeavors such as apprenticeships.
- Life Enhancement Pathway: If a disability hampers your daily functionality or social interactions, this path tries to elevate your living standards (home adaptability enhancements, integration with community assets.)
Veteran Readiness and Employment Eligibility
Eligibility for the Veterans Readiness and Employment program, formerly known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, depends on when and how a veteran was discharged from service.
You may be eligible for the Veteran Readiness and Employment program if:
- You suffered a service-connected disability during active duty service and
- Didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- Have a disability rating of at least 10% from the VA
The time of discharge also matters for veterans considering the VR&E program. For those discharged before January 1, 2013, eligibility ends 12 years after one of the following dates, whichever is later:
- The date they received notice of their separation date from active duty or
- The date they received their first VA service-connected disability rating
Those discharged on or after January 1, 2013, do not have a time limit on their eligibility.
Following an application, the VA will schedule an evaluation and talk to the veteran about their eligibility.
Veteran Readiness and Employment Application Process
To apply for the VR&E program, you must fill out VA Form 28-1900. Once you fill out the form, there are multiple ways to send it in.
If you’re still unsure if this program is right for you, the VA offers an option for you to go through an online orientation that lasts roughly 15 minutes.
Apply by Mail
Send the completed form to:
- Department of Veterans Affairs VR&E Intake Center
PO Box 5210
Apply In Person
Go to a VA regional office and ask a local VA employee to help.