There are a number of veteran’s assistance programs that can help support you after serving in the U.S. military and aid you in transitioning back to civilian life.
There are also a number of veteran-focused job boards that are available to help you connect with employers who are interested in specifically hiring veterans and military spouses.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) partnered with the Department of Labor in order to assist veterans through the key stages of job search. Through this partnership, numerous resources became available to veterans, including educational and career counseling, career advice and assistance in building your resume.
Many of these services are a part of the VA’s Transition Assistance Program that is designed to assist former service members with their transition to civilian life. In addition to the Transition Assistance Program, veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible to receive aid through the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program.
Military Transition Assistance Program
The Veteran Affairs Military Transition Assistance Program can be vital in aiding veterans in their readjustment to civilian life. Through this program, veterans can receive a variety of resources and services that can aid in this transition and help veterans jump back into the job market.
Every VA benefits office and military installation has a transition assistance program manager that can aid veterans in taking advantage of this crucial program. As part of the program, veterans will have the opportunity to speak with personal counselors and instructors that have been trained to assist veterans in preparing for a new career.
Through the Military Transition Assistance Program, you can find the counseling and support needed to help you succeed in your goals more efficiently as well as become aware of the benefits and resources that may be available to you.
The services that the program provides can help you to choose a career based upon your skills and interest as well as learn how to search job boards that include listings of employers that are interested in hiring veterans.
Benefits of the Military Transition Assistance Program
Veterans will also be able to take advantage of benefits and services such as:
- Military Skills Translation. One of the key services that the Military Transition Assistance Program provides is an assessment about your military job experience and skills in order to help you find a career in the civilian workforce where those skills may be advantageous.
- Career choice guidance. Your counselors and instructors will work with you to help you better understand your career goals, interests and capabilities in order to determine a career that may be great for you.
- Benefit advising. The Military Transition Assistance Program will provide a benefits advisor that can help guide you through effectively using any available VA benefits and resources that you may qualify for.
- Academic or adjustment counseling. You will receive personalized support to help you work and overcome any barriers that you might face on your path to success.
- Veteran job boards. As mentioned previously, you will gain access to numerous job boards that cater to jobs specifically for veterans.
You may be eligible to receive benefits that are provided by the Military Transition Assistance Program if you are:
- A transitioning service member that is within six months to discharge from their active duty.
- A veteran that was discharged from being on active duty within one year prior to applying for benefits.
- A veteran that is currently eligible for VA benefits for education.
- A veteran that is currently receiving education related benefits.
It is also worth knowing that, in order to receive benefits through the Military Transition Assistance Program, you cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
Educational Help to Get Veterans Back to Work
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E)
If you have a disability connected to service, then it can be more difficult for you to find and maintain employment. To those who qualify, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program aims to provide a number of benefits and services that can alleviate some of the burden of struggling to find and maintaining employment.
Not only does VR&E offer one on one assistance through a personal advocate, but you will also be eligible to receive all of the benefits offered through the Military Transition Assistance Program. Your personal counselor will work with you in assessing your experience, skill set and whether or not your disability will impair you from finding and maintaining a job with the current skill set that you possess.
Together, you and your counselor will be able to create a personal rehabilitation plan to achieve employment or independent living goals as well as determine which of the fast tracks to employment will work best for your situation.
How VR&E Helps
With VR&E, there are five paths to employment include:
- Reemployment with a previous employer. In some cases, a previous employer may be the best route to finding work after serving in active military services, the Reserves or National Guard.
- Rapid access to employment. This may be a viable course for you if you are a veteran that already has the skills necessary to be eligible for a competitive job.
- Self-employment. If your access to a traditional job is limited due to your disability, then you may need a more flexible work schedule and a work environment that is more accommodating for you. In cases such as these, self-employment may be the best option.
- Employment through services that are long-term. Long term services refer to services like specialized training, higher education and refresher courses that can help you obtain a job that suits you best.
- Services for independent living. If you are a veteran that is unable to work due to your disability, the VR&E can still work with you in improving your independence in your daily life.
While these services are a core part of VR&E, it is important to know that your personal advocate will also help you with rehabilitation services, including case management, counseling and medical referrals. If you are unable because of the severity of your service-related disability, then your personal advocate will also assist you with independent living services.
Eligibility and Entitlement
In order to be considered eligible for vocational rehabilitation, you will be required to meet additional qualifications. To meet these requirements, your disability rating must be at least 20 percent with an employment handicap.
However, you may be eligible if your disability rating is 10 percent with a serious employment handicap. As with most veteran assistance programs, you cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
Your basic eligibility period will end 12 years after the date of your separation from military services or 12 years after the date that the Department of Veterans Affairs first notified you about your disability rating.