Here is an oldie but a goodie, “Does Vocational Rehab pay for law school?” The answer is, “yes” and “no.”
The sad truth is that it depends on many factors, some of which I will touch on below.
That’s the typical law school answer about everything, and maybe ironic given the question. The short answer is, Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment will pay for law school some of the time.
I go into more depth within my guide, The Voc Rehab Survival Guide. Check it out if you want more information on how to set up your application for certain training types.
However, my answer below should help you get the ball rolling.
Here’s the drill: I include this for all newcomers. Each week, I take an email from a veteran that would have broad appeal to many veterans. Questions are usually about the GI Bill, VA Voc Rehab, or Disability Compensation.
I then analyze the veterans benefits issue for a bit and post my input here in our weekly segment: Mailroom.
Basically, I take out all of the veteran’s identifying information from the best email and post it here with my answer.
If you have a burning question about your veterans benefits, sent me an email by selecting the contact tab at the top of this page. If I think your situation will be helpful for other veterans, I will re-post it here.
* If you do not want me to write about your veterans benefits situation, please feel free to let me know within the email. I have no problem keeping a lid on the situation, too.
From the Veteran:
I just read you blog and thank you for writing that. It’s exciting to learn about this option. I’ve been using Chapter 33 for about two years now and qualify for Voc Rehab through the disability percentage.
I saw that you’re attending law school and this is a dream of mine. I just finished a law internship and am currently helping someone invest in lawsuits (lawsuit funding). I would love to talk to you, if you have the time. I just have questions and such.
This all seems too good to be true. I gave up on the fact that I would go to law school because I didn’t want to go into debt $150,000.
Before I get too excited, I’d greatly appreciate a response and promise you I won’t waste your time either.
From Benjamin Krause (me):
Law school was a dream of mine since childhood, too.
Plainly, yes, VR&E will pay for law school for certain veterans but not others.
One problem veterans have struggled with within this program is the lack of predictability. The sad truth is that some veterans will get approved and some will get denied, and these two veterans could be exactly the same and have the same abilities.
Vocational Rehabilitation is an extremely subjective program regarding approval. It does this for a reason. The reason is that the subjectivity allows flexibility for the counselor to “help” the veterans.
Problems arise when counselors forget that the flexibility is there to help the disabled veteran succeed and not to be a burden.
Some factors that can impact approval are as follows:
- Type of under graduate degree
- Ability to perform well in school
- Job market abilities to find work
- Whether the counselor likes you
- The mood of the counselor
In your specific situation, you are about to get a degree. The Voc Rehab counselor will look at your degree and try to decide if you can get a job with your degree without further study.
This means that veterans with a degree in History will have an easier time getting approved than veterans with a degree in Business.
Here is why. A History degree does not provide a linear path into a career. This veteran would need to get a PhD or Master Degree to get a job as either a college professor or some kind of job requiring knowledge in history.
Meanwhile, a person with a business degree can more easily get a business job with no advanced degree.
This does not mean mainstream degree vets will have an impossible time getting approval for an advanced degree. The disabled veteran will need to show he cannot get a job with his current training in light of his disabilities.
In this job market, it may be easier to prove this by applying to as many jobs as possible within your field. If you get denial letters, keep these letters in your file to show the counselor that you are trying but unsuccessful.
For law, if your undergrad goal is just law school / attorney, you cannot be an attorney without law school and passing the Bar.
Now, a person with a business degree can work in business without an MBA. The MBA will allow the veteran to be more competitive, however it is not required to gain entry-level employment in business.
For any of you reading this who want more in depth information, check out the guide: http://www.disabledveterans.org/get-funding-for-rehabilitation/