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VA Benefits Overview. Deb Walls, MSW, LCSW Community Rehabilitation Program Manager & Jami Stout, MSW, LCSW Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor. Overview. Healthcare Compensation Education Vocational Rehabilitation Home Loan Life Insurance Burial & Survivor Benefits. VA Mission.

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va benefits overview
VA Benefits Overview

Deb Walls, MSW, LCSW

Community Rehabilitation Program Manager


Jami Stout, MSW, LCSW

Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor

  • Healthcare
  • Compensation
  • Education
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Home Loan
  • Life Insurance
  • Burial & Survivor Benefits
VA Mission

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow

and his orphan…”

- Abraham Lincoln -

VA Organization
  • Veterans Benefits Administration
    • All VA benefits - Compensation, Education, Home Loan Guaranty, etc.
    • Administered by VA Regional Offices
  • Veterans Health Administration
    • All VA health care services
    • Administered by VA Medical Centers, Ambulatory Care & Community Based Outpatient Clinics, etc.
  • National Cemetery Administration
    • National and State Veterans Cemeteries
    • Headstones & Markers
    • Presidential Memorial Certificates

Health Care comprises the largest of all VA services

VA medical system consists of 21 integrated networks of care that focus on pooling and aligning resources to better meet local health care needs and provide greater access to care

Provides care at over 1300 facilities.

Treat service and non-service connected medical issues.

Healthcare Services
  • Primary Care
  • Specialty and Inpatient Care
  • Preventive Health Care
  • Pharmacy Benefits
  • Emergency Care
  • Diagnosis and Treatment for Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Surgical Care and Organ Transplantation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nursing Home Care
  • Home Health Care
  • Respite and Hospice Care
  • Readjustment Counseling
  • Blind Rehabilitation Services
  • Maternity Care
Healthcare Eligibility
  • Veterans who served in the active military, naval or air service and who
  • were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
  • Former Reservists who served full-time and for operational or support (excludes training purposes)
  • Former National Guard members if mobilized by a Federal order
  • Most veterans who enlisted in the Armed Forces after 9/7/80 must have completed:
    • 24 months continuous active service, or
    • the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty
  • A service-connected condition is not necessary to receive VA health care
Home Loan
  • No down payment
  • Limitations on closing costs
  • The right to prepay without penalty
  • Funding Fee
  • Negotiated interest rates
  • Special assistance for veterans experiencing difficulty in making loan payments
  • Maximum $417,000 loan.
  • Funding fee up to 3.35%.
  • Can use more than once if prior loans are paid off.
  • Eligibility
  • Generally, must serve 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty
  • Service must be at least 90 days during a period of war (181 during peacetime), unless discharged earlier due to a service connected disability
Veteran Life Insurance
    • Veterans Group Life Insurance
      • Can convert from SGLI to VGLI within 1 year + 120 days of separation
      • Low premiums
      • No proof of good health required if conversion within 120 days of separation
      • Lifetime renewable term coverage
    • Service-Disabled Life Insurance
  • Coverage
    • $10,000 Maximum Basic Coverage

- Waiver of Premiums for totally disabled

    • $20,000 Supplemental Coverage
      • - No Waiver of Premiums
  • Eligibility
    • Service-connected Disability (Even 0%)
    • Must apply within 2 years of SC notification for a new condition
Burial Benefits
  • National Cemeteries
  • State Veterans Cemeteries
  • Headstone or Marker
  • Burial Flag
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates
  • Burial Cost Reimbursement
  • Eligibility
  • Veteran (other than dishonorable), spouse, and dependent children
Educational Benefits
  • General GI Bill
  • 4 main versions: CH30, 33, 1606, 1607.
  • Veteran may be eligible for more than 1 version based on service.
  • 36 months of any version, up to 48 months total.
  • Apply online for Notice of Basic Eligibility
  • VA Work Study for veterans enrolled 3/4th or full time.
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill
  • Covers tradition higher education, certification/licensing, flight/tech school, correspondence courses, vocational training
  • Based and prorated on active duty service since 09/11/2001.
  • Pays up to 100% in state public school undergraduate tuition and fees.
  • Up to $1000 for books and supplies based on enrollment
  • Monthly housing stipend based on E5 BAH for school zip code.
  • Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Must use before 15 years after discharge.
Educational Benefits
  • Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (CH30)
  • primary education benefit for service members on active duty prior to 09/11/2001.
  • Service-members paid $1,200 into it.
  • Eligible veterans can elect 9/11 GI Bill
  • Must use before 10 years from discharge.
  • MGIB-SR - 1606
  • For current reserve component service-members who have not been mobilized.
  • Must remain in good standing and in service.
  • Current pay rate: $350.
  • MGIB-SR - 1607
  • For current reserve component service-members who have been mobilized.
  • Rate depends on length of mobilization
  • Current pay rate: $650-$1250.
vha vocational rehabilitation
VHA Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Vocational assessment and evaluation
  • Vocational counseling
  • Job-seeking skills training
  • Computer lab training
  • Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)
    • TWE--community-based or hospital-based Transitional Work Experiences under Veterans’ Industries
    • ITP—Incentive Therapy Program
  • Job development/job carving (customized employment)
    • Disclosure of disability is veteran’s choice
  • Supported employment
    • Ongoing support and follow-along
  • Linkages with community partners/resources
compensated work therapy
Compensated Work Therapy
  • C.W.T. is an “umbrella” term that covers many vocational services
  • Authorized by public law 94-581 in 1976
  • Programs available nationally at VA Medical Facilities
transitional work experience
Transitional Work Experience
  • TWE is one of the programs within CWT and is essentially a work readiness program
  • Therapeutic program (treatment-based) with hourly compensation (minimum wage) for a maximum of 32 hours/week
  • Time-limited (approximately six months)
  • Transitional work/supported employment model
  • Utilizes work placement to maximize level of functioning while individuals continue to participate in their treatment
  • Prepares veterans for successful re-entry into community employment
incentive therapy program
Incentive Therapy Program
  • May serve as entrance into Veterans Industries
  • Typically recommended for individuals who are uncertain about their ability to work or who have short term financial goals but are not interested in working
  • Involves a situational assessment
  • Compensated hourly up to half of minimum wage; typically part-time hours (not to exceed 20 hours/week)
  • Time limited (approximately six months)
supported employment
Supported Employment
  • Provides comprehensive psychosocial rehabilitation services to veterans interested in competitive employment in the community.
  • SE staff dedicate a significant amount of one-on-one time in the pursuit of employment in the community (even if the veteran prefers only a few hours of work per week) and in supporting the worker after the hire.
  • Veterans interested must meet certain mental health eligibility criteria.
vha polytrauma initiative
VHA Polytrauma Initiative
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive 2005-024 defines Polytrauma as injury to several body areas or organ systems that occur at the same time and where one or more is life threatening.
  • Indianapolis VAMC has been designated as a Polytrauma Network Site (PNS) for the VISN.
  • PNS team is multidisciplinary, and includes a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist to focus on the role of work and community reintegration.
  • Polytrauma VR Specialist may work with patient as he/she transitions from active duty to veteran status.
oef oif ond
  • VRS is located within the Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic (STICC)
  • Voc Rehab Computer Lab with Lending Library
  • Educational Benefits: Post 9/11 GI Bill, VRAP, Chapter 31
  • Career exploration, job searching, resumes, online training/education
benefits of participation
Benefits of Participation
  • Participation in VHA Work Restoration Programs cannot be used to reduce, deny, or discontinue VA compensation or pension benefits; (38 USC 1718; 38 CFR 3.342; 38 CFR 3.343).
  • Participation in VHA Work Restoration Programs and income received is non-taxable and is not reported to IRS as a form of income.
vr job club
VR Job Club
  • Session 1: Introduction to computer lab and basic computer skills (email address)
  • Session 2: Resumes
  • Session 3: Soft Skills
    • Criminal Background
    • Interviewing
  • Session 4: Networking/Resources
  • Completed/reviewed resume; and
  • Mock Interview as final steps for completion of VR Job Club
vocational computer lab
Vocational Computer Lab
  • Lab tutors available for one on one assistance
  • Keyboarding tutorial
  • Word processing
  • Windows, spreadsheet and database
  • Internet and basic HTML code
  • Fax, printer and telephone usage
  • Resume paper for printing of resumes
  • Open lab hours at VAMC (Rm C-B009): M-F 7:45am-3:45pm
how to refer to vha vr
How to Refer to VHA VR
  • Veteran can speak with a member of his/her healthcare team at the VA Hospital to request that a new consult be placed for Vocational Rehabilitation in CPRS (Computerized Patient Record System)
    • Consult needs to be placed/signed by provider with prescriptive authority
what happens next
What happens next?
  • Veteran is scheduled for orientation
  • Veteran attends orientation and is assigned to a Vocational Specialist and given an appointment date/time to meet with Vocational Specialist
  • Vocational Specialist completes assessment and staffs each case with clinical team for recommendations
  • Vocational Specialist shares team recommendations with patient and initiates person-centered treatment plan or makes other referrals as appropriate
vocational rehabilitation employment program vr e
Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program (VR&E)
  • The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess Program is authorized by Congress under Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 31. Sometimes referred to as the Chapter 31 program
  • The VetSuccess program assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs.
  • For Veterans with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VetSuccess offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.
who is eligible for vr e vetsuccess services
Who is eligible for VR&E VetSuccess Services?
  • Active Duty Service Members are eligible if they:
    • Expect to receive an honorable discharge upon separation from active duty
    • Obtain a memorandum rating of  20% or more from the VA
    • Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess services ; or
who is eligible for vr e vetsuccess services cont
Who is eligible for VR&E VetSuccess Services? (cont.)
  • Veterans are eligible if they:
    • Have received, or will receive, a discharge that is other than dishonorable
    • Have a service-connected disability rating of at least  10%, or a memorandum rating of  20% or more from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
    • Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess services
basic period of eligibility
Basic period of Eligibility
  • The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E VetSuccess services may be used is 12 years from the latter of the following:
    • Date of separation from active military service, or
    • Date the veteran was first notified by VA of a service-connected disability rating.
  • The basic period of eligibility may be extended if a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) determines that a Veteran has a Serious Employment Handicap
what happens after eligibility is established
What Happens after Eligibility is Established?
  • The Veteran is scheduled to meet with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) for a comprehensive evaluation to determine if  he / she  is entitled for services. A comprehensive evaluation includes:
  • An assessment of the Veteran's interests, aptitudes, and abilities
  • An assessment of whether service connected disabilities impair the Veteran's ability to find and / or hold a job using the occupational skills he or she has already developed
  • Vocational exploration and goal development leading to employment and / or maximum independence at home and in the Veteran's community
what is an entitlement determination
What is an Entitlement Determination?
  • A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) works with the Veteran to complete a determination if an employment handicap exists. An employment handicap exists if the Veteran's service connected disability impairs his / her ability to obtain and maintain a job. Entitlement to services is established if the veteran has an employment handicap and is within his or her 12-year basic period of eligibility and has a 20 % or greater service-connected disability rating.
what is an entitlement determination cont
What is an Entitlement Determination? (cont.)
  • If the service connected disability rating is less than 20%, or if the Veteran is beyond the 12-year basic period of eligibility, then a serious employment handicap must be found to establish entitlement to VR&E VetSuccess services. A serious employment handicap is based on the extent of services required to help a Veteran to overcome his or her service and non-service connected disabilities permitting the return to suitable employment.
after the entitlement determination is made
After the Entitlement Determination is Made…
  • The Veteran and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) work together to:
  • Determine transferable skills, aptitudes, and interests
  • Identify viable employment and / or independent living services options
  • Explore labor market and wage information
  • Identify physical demands and other job characteristics
after the entitlement determination is made1
After the Entitlement Determination is Made…
  • Narrow vocational options to identify a suitable employment goal
  • Select a VR&E VetSuccess program track leading to an employment or independent living goal
  • Investigate training requirements
  • Identify resources needed to achieve rehabilitation
  • Develop an individualized rehabilitation plan to achieve the identified employment and / or independent living goals
what is a rehabilitation plan
What is a Rehabilitation Plan?
  • A rehabilitation plan is an individualized, written outline of the services, resources and criteria that will be used to achieve employment and / or independent living goals. The plan is an agreement that is signed by the Veteran and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) and is updated as needed to assist the Veteran to achieve his / her goals.
  • Depending on their circumstances, veterans will work with their VRC to select one of the following five tracks of services:
  • Reemployment (with a former employer)
  • Direct job placement services for new employment
  • Self-employment
  • Employment through long term services including OJT, college, and other training
  • Independent living services
after the rehabilitation plan is developed
After the Rehabilitation Plan is Developed...
  • After a plan is developed and signed, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or case manager will continue to work with the Veteran to implement the plan to achieve suitable employment and / or independent living. The VRC or case manager will provide ongoing counseling, assistance, and coordinate of services such as tutorial assistance, training in job-seeking skills, medical and dental referrals, adjustment counseling, payment of training allowance, if applicable, and other services as required to help the Veteran achieve rehabilitation.