The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) which provides unemployed veterans with up to 12 months of paid benefits to retrain into a field where they can find employment. This job retraining assistance can mean great things for unemployed veterans.
Qualifying veterans will receive assistance up to the full-time rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty Program (currently $1,473 per month). Applications can be submitted via eBenefits. So far more than 25,000 veterans have applied for the program.
Are you Eligible?
- Must be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Must be unemployed
- Must not have been dishonorably discharged
- Must not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Must not receive VA compensation for individual unemployability
- Must not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program
- Must enroll in a program approved for VA benefits offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, non-college degree, or a certificate and train you in a high-demand occupation.
There are some key dates to keep in mind if you’re considering applying for this program.
July 1 – Sept. 2012: The first application period will conclude on Sept. 30 or once they have received 45,000 applications, whichever comes first.
Oct. 1 – March 31: The application period will open again on Oct. 1. The program will conclude on March 31, 2014, or when they receive an additional 54,000 applications, whichever comes first.
VRAP vs. G.I. Bill
The VRAP does not apply to programs at a four-year school. It must be a VA-approved program at a community college or technical school. The money goes directly to the veteran each month and he or she is responsible for paying the educational fees.
The earlier you apply for benefits the better. The VA will review your application and hold your spot in the program until your training begins. The Department of Labor will provide employment assistance to every participating veteran.
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program will offer assistance to nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans over the next two years. If you qualify, please visit eBenefits to submit your application. Before you apply make sure you have your bank routing number and account number for direct deposit, the name and location of your school, the program you wish to pursue and the corresponding high-demand occupation.
Photo courtesy of Deutsch Lernenden in Glossop