Employment Benefits for Veterans

After serving in the military, there are several veteran’s assistance programs that can help support you as you transition back into civilian life.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor have partnered to help veterans like you through the various stages of your job search. Resources such as educational and career counseling can help you get more training for new job opportunities, offer you career advice and help you build your resume. Veteran-focused job boards are also available to help you discover employers who are looking to hire veterans and military spouses.

Military Transition Assistance Program

These services come as a part of the VA’s Transition Assistance Program aimed to help former service members with their transition to civilian life. In addition to the transition program, Veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible for the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program.

The military transition assistance program is essential in helping veterans readjust to civilian life. This program consists of various resources and services for service members that are transitioning out of the military and back into the job market. Each VA benefits office and military installation will have a transition assistance program manager to help you take advantage of this program. These resources include personal counselors and instructors trained to prepare you for your new career. Other services you can take advantage of include:

  • Military skills translation – Assessments are made about your military job experience and skills in order to match where those skills can apply within the civilian workforce.
  • Career choice guidance – Helping you understand the best career options for you based on your interests and capabilities.
  • Benefits advising – A benefits advisor will guide you on how to effectively use your available VA benefits and resources to meet your career goals.
  • Academic or adjustment counseling – Personalized support to help you work and overcome any barriers on your path to success.
  • Veteran Job Boards – Access to numerous job boards including those that cater to jobs for veterans.

Personalized counseling and support can help you make goals, develop plans and achieve success in your career. Experts can help you identify your most valuable skills, especially skills you have mastered during your service. Afterwards, they can help you choose a career based on your skills and interests. You will learn how to search job boards containing listings of employers looking to hire veterans. Furthermore, counselors teach valuable resume writing and job interview skills that will help you become more successful in the job market.

Eligibility Requirements

The following parties are all eligible for the numerous benefits provided by the military transition assistance program:

  • Transitioning service members within six months prior to discharge from active duty.
  • Veterans within one year from their discharge from active duty.
    • Discharge conditions cannot be dishonorable.
  • Any veteran currently eligible for VA benefits for education.
  • All current VA education beneficiaries.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E)

Finding and maintaining jobs for veterans can be made even more difficult due to service-connected disabilities. The VR&E program aims to aid these veterans during this challenging transition process. If you have a service-related disability and qualify for this program, you can benefit from the one-on-one assistance, counseling and training offered by the VR&E. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program will also provide you with a personal advocate to help guide you through your rehabilitation process. If you qualify for the VR&E program, you will receive all of the benefits of the standard military transition assistance program. Your personal counselor will work with you to assess whether your disability will impair your ability to find and maintain a job with your current skill set. They will work with you closely to develop a personal rehabilitation plan to achieve your employment or independent living goals. Together, you will decide which of the five tracks to employment works best for you.

The five tracks to employment offered by the VR&E include:

  • Reemployment with a previous employer – If you are a veteran who served in active military service or in the National Guard or reserves, and are returning to an employer that you worked for prior to your active duty.
  • Rapid access to employment – If you are a veteran who wants to obtain employment as soon as possible and you already have the skills to qualify for a competitive job.
  • Self-employment – If you are a veteran who has limited access to a traditional job due to your disabling conditions. These circumstances can include a need for a more flexible work schedule or a more accommodating work environment.
  • Employment through long-term services – If you are a veteran who needs a long-term service such as specialized training, post-secondary education or other refresher courses in order to obtain and hold a suitable job.
  • Independent living services – If you are a veteran who cannot work due to the effects of a disability and you need special services to improve your independence in your daily life.

In addition, your personal advocate will help you with rehabilitation services such as case management, counseling and medical referrals. Your advocate will also offer assistance in finding jobs for veterans using special employer incentives that will also meet your job accommodations. If necessary, your advocate will also help with independent living services if you are unable to work due to the severity of your disabilities. Supplementary employment services like on the job training, apprenticeships and other non-paid work experiences will also be offered by the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

Eligibility and Entitlement

In order to be eligible for vocational rehabilitation, you must be a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of at least 20 percent with an employment handicap. You may also be eligible if you receive a rating of 10 percent and have a serious employment handicap. Also, you must have received a discharge that is not considered dishonorable. Your basic period of eligibility will end 12 years after the date of separation from active military service or the date you were first notified by the VA about your service-connected disability rating.

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