Mailroom: Switching From GI Bill To VA Voc Rehab

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130402 Mailroom - GI Bill to Voc Rehab

One veteran wrote in this week about how to switch from the GI Bill to VA Vocational Rehabilitation. His goal is to get another degree after the GI Bill.

I get tons of emails on specifically this subject, so I thought it would be an ideal veterans issue to cover this week.

Here’s the drill: Each week, I take an email from a veteran that would have broad appeal to many veterans. They are usually about the GI Bill, VA Voc Rehab, or Disability Compensation.

I then analyze the benefits issue for a bit and post my input here in our weekly segment: Mailroom. Basically, I take out all the identifying information from the best emails and post them 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 repost 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.

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Email from Veteran:

I am about 12 months (or 2.5 Semesters) away from using all my Post 9/11 GI Bill, and I was wondering if it is possible to go from that to Voc Rehab. I want to continue my schooling and get another degree. Do you have any advice on this?

 

Email from Benjamin Krause (me):

Yes, this can work in certain situations.

Overall, this email question is vague in that the veteran did not provide enough information. I usually need more information such as disability rating, current degree/training, career while in the military, and interests now.

Nonetheless, we can still reach some consensus on what a veteran generally can and cannot do despite the vagueness issue.

Question: Is it possible to jump from the GI Bill to VA Vocational Rehab?

To your first question, yes it is possible. Veterans who are eligible and deemed entitled to the benefit will generally be allowed to pursue training.

The training must be for the purpose of obtaining some kind of advanced career that would fit with your aptitudes, abilities, interests and limitations.

VA Voc Rehab will not merely pay for a degree with no attached “feasible” goal in mind. Usually, a counselor will snort, “This is a back to work program, not a back to school program.”

Regarding your disability, you will generally need at least a 20% disability rating. To get schooling beyond 48 months, most veterans need an even higher rating. The reason for this is because higher disability ratings can allow the counselor to deem the veteran to have a “Serious Employment Handicap.”

A Serious Employment Handicap allows the veteran to qualify for additional training.

For more information, I suggestion checking out my guide called The Voc Rehab Survival Guide.

 

Other VA Vocational Rehabilitation Articles

Here are two other articles that set out the issues:

Get Your Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Five Tips To Get Voc Rehab Benefits

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5 Comments

  1. Make you choose sites for your schooling that are VA Voc Rehab approved locations. I know my company McLane Advanced Technologies worked closely with our regional VA office to ensure our job skills training center and programs met the VAs standards. Goo luck.

  2. His question: I want to continue my schooling and get another degree. Do you have any advice on this? This is the problem with so many that apply for the program. It is not like the GI Bill. It is not an educational program. So to answer the veterans question it should have been initially told that the program is not designed as the Gi Bill so you can simply attain or complete a degree. It is for those that need it due an employment handicap and have at least a 10% rating. Informing them of this would enhance their knowledge and decrease disappointment if they are denied because they have no handicap. Any other deception to get into the program takes away from veterans who seriously need it to get back to work.

  3. Can you still apply for transition to Voc Rehab from the Post 9/11 GI Bill if you are currently employed? I am under-employed, in a field I have no interest in, and with no avenue for promotion. I only got this job after 6 months of looking (after I got out last year) and I only got this one job offer. I’m just getting by.

    I want to complete a PhD. My masters is in psychology but I can’t get employed with it because I have no license and I can’t afford to do volunteer work (I have limited physical/mental energy). With a PhD in psychology you don’t need a license. Strange but true. And jobs that require a PhD is where I have wanted to go since before I joined the Marine Corps 10 years ago (ever since reading Grossman’s “Killology” book at 16, actually). I have a current 60% disability but that might go up higher soon.

  4. Hello. My counselor informed me that since I used up all of my Post 9/11 benefit (no days left and closed out), that I will not get the E-5 BAH. I will get the regular stipend which is about $700 less a month ($1500 with POST 9/11 compared to $800 regular stipend).
    Is this correct? And if so, I wish I would have known to leave one day on my post 9/11 benefits.
    Thanks.

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