This week’s Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown, exploring the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service and chatting with its Executive Director and Navy Veteran William Streitberger.
In the Navy for nine years, Streitberger served in intelligence, recruiting and career counseling. Since then, he has dedicated almost 20 years of his career to VR&E, a service that he, himself, used. Following the loss of his job in 2001, Streitberger leaned on the support of VR&E, which at the time was called the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VocRehab).
He became executive director of Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) service in September 2018. As executive director, Streitberger is responsible for overseeing the delivery of VR&E services to Veterans with service-connected disabilities and service members who’re in the process of transitioning from the military to prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers, or obtain independence in their daily living.
VR&E is not “another GI Bill,” and it’s actually separate from the GI Bill. VR&E is an employment service that administers Title 38 Chapter 31 benefits to Veterans with a minimum 10% disability. Eligibility differs from entitlement.
Veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or greater.
Must have a discharge greater than dishonorable.
Must not have surpassed 12 years from date of discharge or first notification of VA-rated disability.
Disability must be directly causing a barrier to employment.
Veterans then receive an assessment for interests and capabilities to help find a new career field that will not worsen disability.
Recently, the program has greatly expanded in the last few years. In 2020, VR&E hired 100 more counselors and it plans to do the same in 2021. Since March 1, 2020, VR&E has used VA Video Connect for over 100,000 appointments in an effort to increase accessibility.
In this episode, Streitberger discusses:
What VR&E does.
Who can apply for the service.
What the benefits entail.
How to apply for the program.
How VR&E benefits differ from and can be used in tandem with GI Bill benefits.
More information can be found at the VR&E home page or by calling 1-800-827-1000.