What should I know about employment and education benefits for Veterans?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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GI Bill & VR&E

Employment & education benefits for Veterans


What employment and education benefits are available for Veterans?

As a Veteran, you may be eligible for employment and education benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These benefits include:


GI Bill benefits

GI Bill benefits cover some or all of the costs of:

  • College, 

  • Graduate school, or

  • Training programs.


There are several GI Bill programs, including:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: You may be eligible if you’ve served on active duty for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001.

    • At least 1 of these must be true to be eligible:

      • You served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or

      • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or

      • You served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability, or

      • You’re a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying Veteran or service member

    • If you’re a member of the Reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015, you may qualify to receive restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

  • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty: You may be eligible if you served at least two years on active duty, and you:

    • Were honorably discharged, and

    • Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and

    • Meet other requirements.

  • Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve: You may be eligible if you’re a member of the Reserve or National Guard and you:

    • Have either a 6-year service obligation (you agreed to serve 6 years) in the Selected Service, or

    • Are an officer in the Selected Reserve who agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your initial service obligation, and

    • Meet other requirements.


If you don’t qualify for GI Bill benefits, you may still be eligible for other education benefit programs.


Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program

The VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment  (VR&E) program helps if you have a service-connected disability. The disability must limit your ability to work or prevent you from working. VR&E, also called Chapter 31, offers five tracks to help you find and keep a job. These tracks are:

  • Reemployment track: Helps you return to the civilian job you had before you were deployed.

  • Rapid Access to Employment track: Gives you employment counseling and job-search support.

  • Self-employment track: Helps you start your own business.

  • Employment through Long-Term Services track: Gives you vocational training to help you gain new job skills.

  • Independent Living track: Provides services to help you live independently if you cannot return to work.


You are eligible for VR&E if you are a Veteran and you:

  • Were not dishonorably discharged, and

  • Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from the VA, and 

  • Apply for VR&E services.


If you don’t qualify for VR&E, you may still be eligible for education and career counseling programs through the VA.

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What are my rights and responsibilities?

You have a right to the VA benefits that you qualify for, but it is your responsibility to apply for those benefits. 


If you are denied benefits or disagree with any VA decision, you have the right to appeal that decision. It is your responsibility to start the appeals process.

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How do I apply for employment and education benefits?

How can I apply for GI Bill benefits?

To apply for GI Bill and other VA education benefits, you will need:

  • Social Security number,

  • Bank account direct deposit information,

  • Education and military history, and 

  • Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending.


You can apply:


The VA usually makes a decision within 30 days.


How can I apply for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits?
  • If you already have a VA disability rating, you can apply for VR&E benefits online through your eBenefits account. If you are eligible, you will be invited to an orientation session at your VA office.

  • If you do not have a VA disability rating, you can still apply. Fill out VA Vocational Rehabilitation (VA Form 28-0588). You may be eligible for VR&E if you don’t have disability rating but you’re:

    • Going through the Physical Evaluation Board process, or

    • Expecting an other than dishonorable discharge and you have have a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more, or

    • Entered in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).


After you apply, you’ll have a meeting with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to determine:

  • If you have an employment handicap. You have an employment handicap if your disability limits your ability to:

    • Prepare for,

    • Obtain, and 

    • Keep suitable employment.

  • If you’re eligible for VR&E benefits and services.


If you are entitled to benefits, you and your counselor will create a rehabilitation plan. This plan will choose your support-and-services track.

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How can I appeal a VA decision?

If you disagree with any decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration, you have the right to appeal. You can have a representative to help with your appeal. This process can take years to complete. Please note that the appeals process changed on February 19, 2019. Any appeals of a decision filed on or after this date must be filed according to the following procedures. 

You now have two options to appeal a VA decision:

  • Higher-Level Review

    • If you not satisfied with the VA's decision, you can request to have a senior reviewer take a new look at your case.

      • You cannot submit any new evidence in your case.

      • This appeal process takes 4-5 months.

    • You can request a higher-level review by submitting a VA Form 20-0996. 

  • Supplemental Claims

    • In order to file a supplemental claim, you must add new evidence relevant to your case. 

      • You can file a supplemental claim any time after you receive the VA's decision on your previous claim, but the VA recommends filing within a year of receiving your decision letter.

      • This appeal process takes 4-5 months.

    • New evidence is information the VA did not have before the last decision. 

    • Relevant evidence is information that could prove or disprove something in your claim. 

    • To file a supplemental claim you must submit a VA Form 20-0995

      • You can also request this form at your regional VA office or over the phone at 800-827-1000.


You can submit these forms to the VA:

  • In person at your local VA office,

    • By mail to:

      ​​​​​​Department of Veterans Affairs

             Claims Intake Center

             PO Box 4444

             Janesville, WI 53547-4444


If you disagree with the outcome of your initial claim, Higher-Level Review, or Supplemental Claim, you may file a Board Appeal. 

You have three options for a Board Appeal:

  • Request a Direct View

    • The Veterans Law judge will review the existing evidence and claim documents and issue a decision. 

    • This is the quickest option and takes about a year to complete. 

  • Submit More Evidence

    • The Veterans Law judge will review additional evidence. 

    • You must provide new and relevant evidence within 90 days of requesting the Board Appeal. 

    • This option takes more than one year to complete.

  • Request a Hearing

    • You will have a hearing in front of the Veterans Law judge virtually from your home, virtually from a VA location, or in person in Washington D.C.

    • You may submit new and relevant evidence within 90 days of requesting the Board Appeal or at the hearing. 

    • This option takes more than one year to complete.


  • You can request a Board Appeal by filling out VA Form 10182.
    • You can also request this form at your regional VA office or over the phone at 800-827-1000. 
  • Submit the form to the VA:
    • In person at your local VA medical center or clinic,
    • By fax to 844-678-8979,
    • By mail to:

                    Department of Veterans Affairs

                    Claims Intake Center

                    PO Box 4444

                    Janesville, WI 53547-4444


If you disagree with the Board of Appeals' decision, you can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans. Your appeal must be filed within 120 days. 


What if I can’t wait years for an appeal of a VA decision?

You can ask for your appeal to be moved to the front of the line if you:

  • Are 75 years old or older, 

  • You have a serious illness,

  • Are having financial problems, or

  • You have some other good reason.


This is called having your appeal Advanced on Docket. You must make this request by writing to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

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Do dependants of Veterans qualify for education and employment benefits?

A child or spouse of a Veteran may qualify for VA education benefits if the Veteran:

  • Is permanently and totally disabled. The disability must be service-connected.

  • Died while on active  duty or from a service-connected disability.


If a dependent qualifies for education benefits, they might also be eligible for VR&E benefits.

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More info



For help with benefits

  • Stateside Legal is a website is for members of the military, veterans, their families and advocates.
  • Learn more about all the services offered by the Georgia Department of Veterans Services on their website.
  • For help with benefits appeals, contact the Georgia Department of Veterans Services Appeals Division.
  • If you have questions for the VA, you can:
    • Message the VA online,

    • Call the VA at:

      • VA benefits hotline: 800-827-1000
      • eBenefits technical support: 800-983-0937
      • Call MyVA311 for help: 844-698-2311
      • If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711.
Last Review and Update: Jun 05, 2023
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