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Veterans’ benefits and employment

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Starting May 15, unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 can now apply for new benefits to cover education costs for up to one year through a joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor (DoL) program that focuses on retraining 99,000 veterans for high-demand jobs.

"This important tool will help those who served our country receive the education and training they need to find meaningful employment in a high-demand field," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.

"Our veterans have made this nation stronger through their service, and they deserve our continued support," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said.

As part of a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) allows qualifying veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill – active duty rate, currently $1,473 per month.

Veterans can apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for VRAP beginning May 15 for programs that begin on or after July 1, 2012.

Assistance under this benefit program ends on March 31, 2014.

To complete an application, a veteran must need to know his or her direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of his or her school, the program the veteran wishes to pursue, and the applicable high-demand occupation.

To qualify veterans must:

Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;

Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the DoL;

Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment);

Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program within the last 180 days;

Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual ‘unemployability’ (IU).