Veterans unable to work due to service-connected disability can qualify for independent living assistance


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Eligible Veterans can qualify for independent living services through the Independent Living track through VA’s Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefit program.

While the VR&E program offers other services, the Independent Living track is specifically designed to help Veterans and service members who are unable to work due to a service-connected disability, as well as those who need help living as independently as possible. The Independent Living track can also provide assistance for those working toward getting a job with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Some of the services offered by the VR&E’s Independent Living track include:

  • Evaluation and counseling to identify your needs and goals
  • Referrals to community-based support services
  • Evaluation for eligibility for the VR&E home adaption grant
  • Evaluation for eligibility for the VA’s adaptive-housing programs, which provide home renovations (e.g., adding ramps) in order to help you live independently

Veterans can generally receive services for up to 24 months. In some cases, Veterans can receive services for a longer period of time.

To be eligible for the VR&E’s Independent Living track benefits, Veterans and service members must meet these requirements:

  • Have a serious employment handicap (SEH)
  • Disabilities prevent a Veteran from looking for or returning to work
  • A Veterans requires aid to live as independently as possible

A service-connected disability qualifies as an employment handicap if it limits a Veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain and maintain suitable employment that does not worsen your disability.

To apply for these benefits:

  • Apply for VR&E benefits
  • Work with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Get a VA disability rating

Once a Veteran has a VA disability rating, sign into eBenefits, select “Apply,” click “Veteran Readiness and Employment Program” and apply for Education and Career Counseling. If eligible, a Veteran will be invited to join an orientation session at the nearest VA regional office.

More information

To learn more about applying for VR&E benefits, click here.


Writer: Hagen Kenny

Editor: Kristen Whitehurst

Graphics: Katie Rahill

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Raul Orozco    

    What’s the minimum rating needed to qualify for VRE
    – Voc. Rehab?
    I’m currently rated@ 10% percent
    But recently the pain in my knee, has made it almost impossible to tolerate.
    Please help.

    Thanks
    – Raul Orozco

  2. Ken Parment MMC(SW)    

    Just remember you are not alone brother. There are a lot of vets who are in this position, so learn from them too. Then pass it on as you can, to those that still need it or sadly who will be in your position later. but always remember you have brothers and sisters that want and need you here and now.

  3. Aaron M. Sawyer    

    Hi my name is Aaron Sawyer I am 35 years old I received a 100% disability rating due to combat related injuries. I had no idea that I was not going to be able to work it has been difficult, the money is not enough to survive. This is literally the exact program I have been looking for I need to find housing as well as work with voc rehab possibly finish my GI Bill. If everything I read is accurate I cannot tell you how extremely grateful I am for this program and I have the desire well and I desire to do it all get the training I need to figure out what I and where I fit in. It has been a very long lonely year. I would very much appreciate talking to a representative as soon as I can to get a better understanding thank you so much. God bless look forward to hearing from you

    1. Angela    

      “Once a Veteran has a VA disability rating, sign into eBenefits, select “Apply,” click “Veteran Readiness and Employment Program” and apply for Education and Career Counseling. If eligible, a Veteran will be invited to join an orientation session at the nearest VA regional office.”

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