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.
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: