Veterans Employment and Education Services

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP), occupational rehabilitation, unemployment payments and small business loans are several available employment resources for service members as they transition from the military to civilian life.

For instance, the VA Vocational Rehabilitation program assists veterans with service-connected disabilities as they search for post-service employment opportunities, while unemployment pay is available to those who cannot find suitable work. Loans are also available to veterans who wish to start their own small business.

VEAP is another program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), providing qualifying service members with the funding they need to pursue post-service education and training opportunities. To receive this benefit, however, veterans must have entered the military between Jan. 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985. Moreover, additional financial programs are available to the qualifying dependents and survivors of military members. To learn more about these employment and education services, veterans can review the sections below.

The Military Assistance Program

Also known as DOD TAP, this mandatory program for service members of all military branches provides veterans with the tools and resources they need to transition into the civilian workforce. As part of the Military Transition Assistance Program, for instance, service members develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) to help them identify their goals, skills and interests. They also complete a series of in-person or online courses. As a requirement of the Veterans Opportunity to Work and Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (VOW Act), service members must demonstrate their readiness to separate from the military before they complete the program. To do so, they must meet nine Career Readiness Standards (CRS).

Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation

The Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program assists military members with service-connected disabilities as they search for post-service employment opportunities. With services such as one-on-one counseling, employment assistance and resume development, veterans with service-related disabilities can transition into civilian life more easily. If disabilities prevent veterans from pursuing traditional employment opportunities, the program can also help them to start their own small business. To qualify for this vocational rehab veterans assistance program, however, service members must separate from the military under honorable conditions, and they must hold a service-related disability or handicap. If veterans qualify for participation in this program, they can learn to apply for rehabilitation services online, in person or by mail.

UCX Unemployment Pay

Military unemployment benefits are available to veterans who cannot find suitable job opportunities after separating from the military. To obtain unemployment after military separation, service members must apply through their state’s unemployment office or State Workforce Center. Depending on the state in which they live, they can complete the military unemployment process online or by telephone in some cases. However, all applicants must present their discharge paperwork, a Social Security card, and their military or civilian employment history. While this program for ex-service members is not the same as the traditional unemployment program for job seekers, it is similar. In some cases, however, veterans may qualify to receive both types of unemployment benefits at the same time.

Small Business Loans for Veterans

Service members who operate a veteran owned small business can qualify for reduced-fee funding as part of the Advantage Lending program under the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). To qualify for the program, however, at least 51 percent of the small business must be owned by honorably-discharged veterans, former service members with disabilities or the spouses of eligible military members. If active duty service members are transitioning into civilian life, they may also qualify.

Related Article: Veterans Small Business Resources

Montgomery, Forever and Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Forever, Post-911 and Montgomery GI Bill are three types of education programs for honorably-discharged veterans, active duty service members and reservists. For instance:

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides qualifying service members with up to 36 months of education, licensing and training benefits. For instance, veterans may use their benefits to complete a certification program, entrepreneurship training, or on-the-job training programs.
  • The Montgomery Bill provides current or former service members with monthly tuition benefits that can be used to pay for college courses or training programs. However, benefit amounts vary depending on whether students enroll in a part- or- full-time training or education program.
  • The Forever GI Bill extends the standard eligibility period of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, providing qualifying service members and reservists with extended education benefits. Before the passing of this bill, many service members needed to use their education benefits within a 15-year period before they would lose them. However, the bill removes this deadline for all service members who separated from the military after 1, 2013. If veterans were discharged before January 1, 2013, this extension does not apply to them.

Note: While many Forever GI Bill benefits became effective immediately after the passing of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, other changes will not take effect for several years.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

Veterans who attend Yellow Ribbon schools receive additional training and education benefits without needing to apply these charges to their existing Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlements. However, the college or learning institution must voluntarily choose to participate in the program, and the school may only offer these benefits to a maximum number of veterans. Additionally, these benefits are not available to active duty military members or their spouses, as this program only benefits honorably-discharged veterans and certain eligible dependents.

The VEAP Program

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program provides former military members with financial benefits as they pursue post-service education opportunities. Through this government match program, veterans who first entered the service between Jan. 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985 may qualify for tuition assistance. If veterans opened a VEAP account prior to April 1, 1987, for instance, they receive $2 for every $1 they contributed to their account. Then, they may use this money to cover the cost of their post-service college tuition.

Dependents Educational Assistance

Sometimes known as VA Chapter 35, this educational assistance program benefits the surviving family members of veterans with service-connected medical conditions. Additionally, the program benefits the surviving dependents of military members who died as the result of a service-related disability. As part of these Chapter 35 VA benefits, qualifying dependents may obtain between 36 and 45 months of free education benefits, depending on whether they applied for assistance before or after Aug. 1, 2018. However, some beneficiaries may qualify for as many as 81 months of education benefits.

Related Article: Dependents Educational Assistance

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