Are you or do you know an unemployed Veteran?

VA is now accepting applications for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).  VRAP is a joint program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor.  The program provides up to 12 months of benefits for training towards a high-demand occupation.

Veterans can take advantage of VRAP if they meet the following criteria:

  • At least 35 but no more than 60 years old
  • Currently unemployed
  • Have an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Not eligible for any other VA education benefit program
  • Not receiving VA compensation due to unemployability
  • Not enrolled in a federal or state job-training program

You must enroll in a VA-approved program of education that: is offered by a community college or technical school; provides training towards an associate’s degree, non-college degree, or certificate; and leads to a high-demand occupation.

We will accept applications through October 1, 2013, or once we have 99,000 participants, whichever comes first.  Apply online now, since participation is limited.

If you know other Veterans who may qualify, please share this information so they too can have an opportunity to restart their careers!

Please visit our VRAP website for more information about this program.

Retired Brig. Gen. Allison A. Hickey is VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits.

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Published on Jun. 4, 2012

Estimated reading time is 1.1 min.

Views to date: 226


  1. Antonio Sanchez June 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Greetings fellow Americans! First and foremost I would like to thank you all for your SERVICE in protecting our great nation. This is an awesome opportunity for you to get training in a field that is in demand. I work for a Vocational College in Riverside Ca that meets the requirements for the VRAP program. If any of you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me and I will be more then happy to do my best to assist you. I can be reached at (951)300-5554.
    Follow this link get to the application process started, good luck to all you and thanks again for your Service!

    Antonio Sanchez
    Admissions Representative

  2. Howell June 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Are we Veterans or not? Meaning prior service military… There is a lot of moaning and complaining on this page and it sound like a bunch of whining preschoolers. Get a grip! Stand down.. Either your qualify or you dont! This is an opportunity we didn’t have yesterday or ever before and every opportunity does not apply to everybody that is simply the way it is.. Every benefit didn’t apply to everyone while on active duty and I am not sure why everyone think it should apply now. Stipulations are here to stay! This is the first program I might be eligible for since my discharge in 1990. If by chance I don’t qualify. I must keep going as I have.. So must you all. Semper Fi

    • scott June 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Howell, you’re mean…. and absolutely right! Keep digging, thanks.

  3. walter June 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I applyed may 15,2012 at about 11am pacific time today is june 13, I have heard that you downloaded my app but have heard nothing since and school starts june 25 …whats up!!!!!!!!

    • Valerie June 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      I read in the paper work that it wont pay if your classes start before July 1st…I could be wrong but you may want to look into that.

  4. Liz June 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, I see all these questions, but no answers. Where are the answers?
    Is this progran qualified for online programs?

    • Debra June 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      I went to the Regional office and it was stated that you can do on line or on campus, but; you have to ensure that you are a full time student. You should feel free to talk with a VA Educational representative via phone or go by the local Regional office.

  5. Liz Rigney June 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    .Due to transportation problems, I need an on-line school, found a highly accredited one which is approved for VA, just not the VRAP program. Why not. They offer certificate courses in high demand fields. I don’t need all the classes associated with an AS or AA degree. Besides it’s takes longer than a year to get one. I just want to take classes associated with my career choice. This is the most mismanaged program I’ve seen, for the VA. Are there going to be changes? I hope so. I applied May 23, got my confirmation # and have yet to hear anything since. Maybe I won’t be approved, even though I am qualified per all the criteria. Just have to wait and see I guess.

  6. Michael June 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I was approved for a course you cannot take because it is taught at schools that offer above an Associate degree and falls under continuing education. Brilliant bunch overseeing this program. This program clearly discriminates by limiting us to small schools with questionable after graduation benefits. Program needs revamped to allow any VA approved school utilized by all other vets to be open to us. I smell a legal challenge to this policy right around the corner.

    • Debra June 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      I am perceiving it to be a bit trying. The main objective with the VRAP program should be completing a Certificate or Associate’s degree. The small schools can be a bit challenging with dealing with admissions matters. Hhhmmmm.

  7. Kari June 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I have to say that this program while great..can be a pain! If you are unemployed then how are you supposed to pay for school to get into school. They won’t pay you till you have been in school for a month to make sure you are going to school. I guess they want us to pull money out of some where else!!

  8. Darrell G. Lane Sr. June 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I applied May 15 th 2012 , in the early am . I have’nt heard anything from anybody . Not a letter . Not an email . I read about these people that applied after May 17th 2012 that have already been given a letter of eligibility . I have a confirmation # for my application . I sure would like to hear something from somebody……………. WHAT’S GOIN ON ?

    • Debra June 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Darryl Lane
      Please try the 1.888.442.4551 – it should be the educational line or call the 1.800.827.1000 and ask for a direct telephone number to the educational VA office or go by the Regional office in your area and someone should be able to let you know the status of your application. I phoned within 3 days of submitting my application and I was informed that my application had been received in the system.

  9. Njean June 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    This was posted on the FACEBOOK page:!/gibillEducation
    “A word of caution to anyone who’s thinking about TRYING to use VRAP: Your school CANNOT offer higher than an Associate’s Degree, regardless of its designation as a community college. I REPEAT: If your college is a community college and offers even ONE Bachelor’s Degree, VRAP WILL NOT PAY YOU!!!!”

    • Debra June 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      Njean: You are correct. My situation was that I was half way through my Associate’s degree and it was with a four year college and the VRAP program will not support or pay a 4 year institution.

  10. Njean June 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Wayne Otto asked ” Why is there an age restriction of “60″ on this program? ”
    I think Vets and their families should sue the government for discrimination based on ‘age’. The VRAP ‘one year’ program is almost a ‘joke’. I voiced my concerns to my congressmen that the Post 9/11 eliminated many Vets and that VRAP doesn’t do enough… Most carreer and technical programs require at least 2 years of study. Did anyone read the list of jobs on Ms. Hickey’s list of ‘ high-demand occupations’… it doesn’t say ‘high demand salaries’. There are 197 jobs listed; has anyone obtained a list of schools that provide training in those programs?? I couldn’t get a list.
    What about the new Post 9/11 program?
    I know a vet who is 42 who cannot qualify for the new Post/911 GI scholarship program. He served in the the Gulf War but prior to 09-11 so he does not qualify for the Post/9/11 and he is unemployed and will not have any income to pay for the second year of schooling if he does qualify for VRAP. . What a shame on congress for not allowing ALL VETS to qualify for the Post 9/11 program. !!!
    For information on this educational program go to .
    It’s for veterans who have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, only those will qualify for Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).
    And to make it worse…congress doesn’t understand why more Vets don’t apply for these programs. VETS you deserve better! All VETS should be treated equally. And the government want’s to raise Social Security to age 70 be ‘people are living longer’!! Get real Congress.
    MS HICKEY!! please do all you can to help all vets qualify for the program like Post-9/11.

  11. Ken June 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I applied two weeks ago and got a confirmation # and email immediately, but no one called me and I haven’t received a letter. When I called the education info # they knew who I was but said they don’t know why my app hasn’t gone through. This is a big deal now because I’m signed up for classes, out of $, officially homeless, and looking for a place to live.

    I really wish they could at least tell me what my status is, one way or the other.

    • Valerie June 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Maybe I read the “Information and Instructions for Completing the Application for VRAP…” wrong but it read (to me)…Item 17 VRAP benefits cannot be paid for enrollments which begin prior to July 1, 2012 or after March 31, 2013. I hope that your classes are not starting before this date or I hope I read it wrong.

  12. Rich Martens June 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Is the 60 age until your 60th birthday or including the 60th year??

  13. Jason June 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I got my letter yesterday stating I was eligible. It’s for a 7 month program in commercial diving.

  14. aethel June 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    If we served, are capable of working, and want to work but can’t get work, then why the upper and lower age limit restricting the opportunity for some of us?

  15. Raffy June 6, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I am one of the fortunate to be approved. Can I qualify for the VA Student Work Study Program while under VRAP? It would help financially.

    • Debra June 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      HI Raffy: I think that is a good question.

  16. Valerie June 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    cont….I went to my local VA Services and spent 3 hours trying to resolve the above mentioned issues. First I was told that because I was a 30% sevice connected disabled veteran and receiving compensation that I did not qualify. I asked where is it written that this is so. The person helping me could not find it…so I asked her if she had read the following and misinterpreted it “Not receiving VA compensation due to unemployability.” She mistook this as if a I were receiving money each month due to my service connected disabilty that I did not qualify. I POINTED out that my compensation is not due to unemployability and that I do meet the critera! She was mistaken….how many others were told this and just gave up and now are losing out? She also told me the program was 18 months…after speaking to someone on main line it was only 12 months. I then asked if that was 12 months full time Fall, Spring and summer sessions? He did not know. I also asked about the RN program requires 4 years, surgical tech 18 monhs and LPN 2 years and his response was quote “RN takes 2 years.” I responded with “Then why is it on the list when your only giving 1 year and an RN will graduate with a college degree which is not allowed!” He had no response.
    The man on the phone also advised me that I would have to make a four hour drive to fill out the paperwork needed to apply because as a disabled veteran we do not have the option to file only! So with this said and so many people already accepted into the program what are the chances for someone like me who need to drive 4 hours one way to file the paperwork and not to mention wait on other schools to send me my official transcripts. I feel I have no chance in getting onto this program where I can throw away my 90 credit hours from ASU so I can go to school to be data entry keyer.
    This plan was not well thought out and changes and exception need to be made!

  17. Valerie June 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Many of the “jobs” on the list take more than 2 semesters to complete and the one that really makes me laugh is Registered Nurse…last I heard that requires a 4 year degree. I taught at a vocational school so I know first hand how long many of these programs are so why are ones that require 18 months (full time) or longer on the list? I also question as to why it can not lead to a college degree? I use my Voc Rehab at the end of my 12 ur limit and could not afford to pay for the last 28 credit hours towards my BSE in Biomedical Engineering and this would be nice to use to complete my degree. Seems silly for me to go back to school to become a pet groomer when I could complete an engineering degree.
    Also I tried many times to apply online once I was notified they are accepting applications and I was not permitted to apply on line as I am a service connected vet. Also it doesn’t seem fair that others have already been accepted into the the program before I was even notified they are accepting applications!
    Rant finished.

  18. Jenn Cavallari June 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I am livid that I don’t qualify for this. I keep slipping through the cracks!

    I’m a disabled veteran with a 10% service-connected rating. After many years of hardship and inconvenience after losing my career in the Navy, I lost access to my GI Bill benefits due to not having used them before they expired. I PAID INTO THAT SYSTEM, I AM FINALLY AT A POINT WHERE I AM ABLE TO ATTEND THE SCHOOL AND NOW I CAN’T HAVE THEM.

    I have tried on numerous occasions to apply for Voc Rehab and found the process inconvenient and impossible. I would receive notice of an appointment that had been scheduled for me…in another state! Finding childcare was a constant concern and finally, I gave up.

    I had to use the last of my savings to buy myself two semesters at the community college just to make myself PART TIME EMPLOYABLE.

    I am now employed PART TIME and making well below the national average…but I don’t qualify because after YEARS of being disabled and unemployable in my area, I FINALLY managed to have the planets align, with childcare and health concerns to pull myself up by the bootstraps just enough to throw every last dime I had at getting a certification that doesn’t earn me much over minimum wage.

    I have, in this time, been homeless, in shelters and in some pretty awful circumstances but just getting by…and with no access to help out of my predicament. The closest domiciliary program, six hours away, getting red tape and bureaucracy from every attempt to find Voc Rehab or even flat out employment at the VA.

    I don’t know when and IF I’ll ever be able to finish my degree. Since I’m out of resources, I had to put that on hold. I am by all means, UNDEREMPLOYED but still employed so NOTHING is open to me. I’m smart, motivated and would make one hell of a good use of any education services offered me but seems I am stuck in a perpetual state of just keeping my chin far enough above water to not drown. And it’s HARD. I need a hand. Maybe if I quit and ceased to help myself, I’d get help?

    In the meantime, I’ve seen people abuse the system: people at my school with NO service who received free grants, only to show up for the first three days of attendance, collect a check and be out the door. I’ve seen a fellow vet, abusing his Rx pain meds, show up for class all messed up, flunk out and get paid to re-attend the same class the following semester.

    Give ME those opportunities! I will knock it out of the park! I held #1 ranking in my class for the first six weeks last semester WHILE BEING HOMELESS. I got an A+ in Biology my first…

    • Connie June 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Jenn, contact me at I don’t know if i can help you, but i will certainly try.

    • lee mac June 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

      You should qualify for the Va’s Hudvash sec 8 voucher program

  19. mark June 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    is there a central point of contact for veterans who have specific questions, concerns, etc? i’m sure that 90% of veterans would process easier than most, but its that 10% that needs attention due to special circumstances. hopefully a VA Executive/ Represenative reads these comments.

  20. Tan June 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    How long will it take to know if you have been approved. Application was recieved on May17, email said someone will contact soon

  21. sim concepcion June 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    i would like to apply for a waiver for the age requirement of the VRAP program and want to know where i can address my appeal<I am 66 and want to learn air conditioning techician

  22. Deb June 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    My application was completed and processed in less than 30 days. A response came back to me via mail – I was impressed.

  23. scott June 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    got my certificate of eligibility today only took 20 days to process thanks va so looking forward to going back to school after 30 years…….

    • Rich Martens June 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      Just applied today. I am 60. Would like to know if the 60 is until your 60th birthday or until the day before your 61st. Congratulations on getting your certificate!!

  24. charise allen(van doren) June 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I have been trying to apply but system will not let me….get error when trying to login to VONAPP is there some place I can go to apply in person in San Diego area. Seams there may be issue between name seved under (Van Doren) and my name now( Allen) since I was married and divorced after service and retained my married name.

    • Annette June 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      I also have not been able to apply. The application is not available on VONAPP, I have been trying to access since May 15, 2012.

    • John Spoden June 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      I’ve been trying for a year…….its a phony bloney.

    • Constance Zollo June 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      First, yes your name change has caused all your problems. I changed my name three times in the system, but I was working for them. I learned to add to my name, but don’t change your name; at least for the present. The reason? there is two. military systems in paperwork… the personnel side and the Pay side and they dont talk to eachother. So if it didnt get fixed in personnel side of the house, it will kick out all paperwork until it gets the marriage certificate from 1st marriage, then mail divorce decree; and then mail new marriage certificate… you have to do it in this order and then your problem will be fixed.

  25. Barton Hogeland June 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    This is a very good program but what about the younger veterans im 29 and dont qualify due to age restrictions?

    • Stephanie Ann Minter June 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      i ask the same question

    • Tabatha Long June 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      That is a very good question, why not for someone who is 30? My husband has had some difficulties after combat and 10 years of service, why is there an age requirement?

  26. Wayne Otto June 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Why is there an age restriction of “60” on this program? Many of us older Vets were forced out of our jobs in 2008 and 2009 and didn’t want to be forced to retire.

    • John Spoden June 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Your too old to work, and to young for SSI. I’m 59, out of work, and thought this site might offfer help….seems its just a waste of time. I’m in LA, they say 9000 homeless vets here, the land given to the VA by a charitible person was supposed to house homeles vets…they lease some of it to a car rental agency, and a warehouse, and a storage bldg, the buildings sit vacant, the vets sleep in the dirt. The access to this site continues to say server down. I tried to apply for a job thru last year….it was a total waste of time, should have known better. The VA has thousands and thousands of claims for assistance some as many as 10 years old, they remain unresolved, in the mean time, civilians without service are paid a premiium in our VA system, go figure, same ole crap.

      • Dwight June 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

        I got to agree I have applied for over 100 jobs and have 3 calls in over 3 years of looking for a job. My field is not a field where the VA hires veterans they say they give me 10 points for being a disabled Veteran 2 of the calls I got is from places I applied and did not claim being a disable veteran. The department of VA is joke most of the time. They say they offer this great problem then they put so many limits on it that it cant be used

Comments are closed.

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