04 Jul Aid and Vocational Training
If you have a disability that was caused or aggravated by military service, there is no reason to worry. The VA has a program to help disabled veterans find work and can help you choose which type of job will best fit your needs. They will help with your resume, with job preparation and sometimes pay for job training or college courses needed for the position.
Congress has also established programs to help homeless veterans. The mission is to help homeless veterans return to stable, independent living. The VA gives pensions to 40,000 homeless veterans annually and provides healthcare to 100,000. It also provides help getting clothes, food, low-income housing, and employment. There are also state-operated programs to assist veterans further.
The Chapter 31 Program
The VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program helps veterans who have service-connected disabilities get and maintain a job. The program is part of a law enacted by Congress under Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 31.
Footing the Bill: What the VA Pays For
If you are entitled to Chapter 31 benefits and training is approved, the VA will pay for education and training programs. You may train in a rehabilitation facility, a vocational school, a college or university or apprenticeship program. Books, fees, tools and other equipment needed can also be paid for. You may also qualify for a monthly living allowance.
If you’re going to college on the GI Bill, you cannot use Chapter 31. VA education programs cannot be used at the same time. If you have remaining GI Bill benefits, those must be used first.
Monthly Subsistence Allowance Rates
The VA may find you qualified for a monthly subsistence allowance. If you are approved for VA funded application, you do not need to apply separately for the subsistence allowance rate. The VA determines if you need it based on your household income, and the rates depend on where you train and the number of dependents you have. It is paid via direct deposit to your bank account on the first of every month and is not subject to income taxes.
For the latest rates, go to https://www.va.gov/osdbu/.
If you enrolled in a higher learning institution, subsistence allowance rates are paid.
Full time means taking at least 12 credit hours in a term, three-quarters time is defined as at least 9 credit hours in a term, and half time is taking at least 6 credit hours in a term.
Using Benefits Beyond Education and Training
If the VA determines that you don’t need educational or vocational training to meet your employment objectives, you can receive other benefits.
Comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine abilities, skills, interests, and needs: This includes interviews and tests to help you find what field you would like to enter and are best suited for.
Vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning: Counselors help you make a list of goals to lead to your job.
Employment services such as job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance: VA counselors help you look for a job and build your resume.
Assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives: The VA helps locate employers who give job preference to veterans.
Supportive rehabilitation services, including case management, counseling, and referral: These services provide counseling, support from the VA and feedback.
Independent living services: If you have a serious enough disability where you cannot perform daily activities without assistance, the VA can help you transition to independent living.
Examining the Plight of the Homeless Veteran
The VA states that one in three of every adult homeless male is a veteran. Many veterans are homeless because of economic reasons, while others suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and substance abuse. PTSD is not always obvious, and many people don’t receive the treatment needed before turning to substance abuse.
The statistics for homeless veterans are shocking:
- 23 percent of America’s homeless are veterans
- 33 percent of all male homeless in America are veterans
- 47 percent served during the Vietnam era
- 17 percent served after Vietnam
- 15 percent served before the Vietnam era
- 67 percent served three or more years
- 33 percent were stationed in war zones
- 25 percent have used VA homeless services
- 85 percent have completed high school or received their GED compared with 56 percent of nonveteran homeless
- 89 percent received an honorable discharge
- 79 percent reside in central cities
- 16 percent reside in suburban areas
- 5 percent reside in rural areas
- 76 percent experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
- 46 percent are white males compared with 34 percent of nonveteran homeless
- 54 percent are people of color
- 46 percent are age 45 or older compared with 20 percent of nonveteran homeless
For more information on Homeless Veterans & some of the programs offered please see:
- Giving Homeless Veterans a Helping Hand
Foreclosure Help and Prevention
In 2008, foreclosure hit many people hard. VA financial counselors at 11 regional loan centers throughout the United States can assist veterans in avoiding foreclosure through counseling and special financing arrangements. The centers are located at:
- Atlanta, Georgia: 888-768-2132
- Cleveland, Ohio: 800-729-5772
- Denver, Colorado: 888-349-7541
- Honolulu, Hawaii: 808-433-0481
- Houston, Texas: 888-232-2571
- Manchester, New Hampshire: 800-827-6311
- Phoenix, Arizona: 888-869-0194
- Roanoke, Virginia: 800-933-5499
- St. Paul, Minnesota: 800-827-0611
- St. Petersburg, Florida: 888-611-5916
- Winston/Salem, North Carolina: 888-244-6711
The counseling is not limited to veterans with VA home loans, and those with other types of home loans can also benefit from assistance.
To obtain help from a VA financial counselor, call the number listed for the center near you, or you can call the VA toll-free at 877-827-3702.
The Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program
This program provides a full range of rehabilitation services and treatment to homeless veterans, and is specifically for veterans with health and mental health conditions. The program usually lasts four months. Veterans receive health treatment, outreach and referral, vocational counseling and post-discharge support. There are 34 rehab facilities with 1,873 beds. Since 1987, more than 71,000 homeless veterans have received medical treatment.
To locate a facility, contact your state’s homeless veterans coordinator by visiting the VA’s Web site at www.va.gov/homeless/page.cfm?pg=21 or by calling the VA’s toll-free services line at 800-827-1000.
The Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program
This program provides medical, social, vocational, and rehabilitation therapies to eligible alcohol and drug dependent veterans. The programs offer various forms of treatment including detoxification, rehabilitation, and psychiatric care. Treatment programs are located in VA medical centers and clinics.
Eligible veterans are admitted to any of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) medical centers for the treatment of alcohol or drug dependence or associated medical conditions. If specialized care for the veteran’s alcohol or drug dependence is required and not available at the admitting medical center, the veteran may be transferred to the nearest medical center which has these programs.
The DVA has approximately 94 alcohol dependence treatment programs (ADTP) and 42 drug dependence treatment programs (DDTP). Each ADTP and DDTP provides services that include intervention support activities, emergency medical services including detoxification, clinical and vocational assessment, consulting liaison, ambulatory/out-patient and after-care services.