Congress passed, and the President has signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are working together to roll out this new program on July 1, 2012.
VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to veterans who:
• Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old,
• Are unemployed on the date of application,
• Received an other than dishonorable discharge,
• Are not eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation),
• Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to individual unemployability,
• Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program.
The program is limited to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). DOL will offer employment assistance to every veteran who participates upon completion of the program.
Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree or certificate and train the veteran for a high demand occupation as determined by the DOL.
Applications are now being accepted. You must apply for this program online at ebenefits.va.gov. To complete the application, you will need to know your direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of your school, the program you wish to pursue and the applicable high demand occupation.
For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions and high demand occupations, visit benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm.
Tammy Walters is available at (715) 369-6127, or via email at email@example.com.