Eligible Veterans can qualify for independent living services through the Independent Living track through VA’s Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefit program.

While the VR&E program offers other services, the Independent Living track is specifically designed to help Veterans and service members who are unable to work due to a service-connected disability, as well as those who need help living as independently as possible. The Independent Living track can also provide assistance for those working toward getting a job with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Some of the services offered by the VR&E’s Independent Living track include:

  • Evaluation and counseling to identify your needs and goals
  • Referrals to community-based support services
  • Evaluation for eligibility for the VR&E home adaption grant
  • Evaluation for eligibility for the VA’s adaptive-housing programs, which provide home renovations (e.g., adding ramps) in order to help you live independently

Veterans can generally receive services for up to 24 months. In some cases, Veterans can receive services for a longer period of time.

To be eligible for the VR&E’s Independent Living track benefits, Veterans and service members must meet these requirements:

  • Have a serious employment handicap (SEH)
  • Disabilities prevent a Veteran from looking for or returning to work
  • A Veterans requires aid to live as independently as possible

A service-connected disability qualifies as an employment handicap if it limits a Veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain and maintain suitable employment that does not worsen your disability.

To apply for these benefits:

  • Apply for VR&E benefits
  • Work with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Get a VA disability rating

Once a Veteran has a VA disability rating, sign into eBenefits, select “Apply,” click “Veteran Readiness and Employment Program” and apply for Education and Career Counseling. If eligible, a Veteran will be invited to join an orientation session at the nearest VA regional office.

More information

To learn more about applying for VR&E benefits, click here.

Writer: Hagen Kenny

Editor: Kristen Whitehurst

Graphics: Katie Rahill

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Published on Apr. 5, 2021

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 807


  1. Steven J Frost April 15, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    I’m wondering how I can offer my residence as a home for a veteran who qualifies for this program. I can accomadate one (1) veteran with full access to my home.

    Steve Frost

  2. SSgt Gibosn April 14, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    If Your Service Connect Damaged to the point that you cannot work,
    The VR&E
    Will be of NO HELP,
    As you would not be able to attend their appointments.

    If you can be out each day, you could hold a job.
    If you go to college fulltime, you can hold a job.

    Those of us whom are homebound from the Damage
    & we just suffer alone if we are not married.
    The VA does not care, and denies A&A assistance benefits, to hire help
    for those of us who need it the most.
    100% Service Connected.

    • Andrew Snyder April 21, 2021 at 11:31 am

      SSGT , That sounds pretty spot on as I was reading about this program being service connected and unemployability rating. I am fortunate enough to be married somedays this doesn’t seem to be a bonus. Maybe there is someone who lives nearby that could give you a hand every now and again. I know it’s difficult Devil knows I’d be the last dog to ask for help.
      Even if I could use it especially now I’ve been told I have celiac disease so pretty much my meals cost twice as much taste twice as . Breakout in some rash took VAMC about 6years to fiquere it out. Actually non VA doctor found it. Nobody knows the cause just woke up one day with it at about 40 years old apparently? At any rate soon as I figure out how to finish my house I’m moving farther south going to try and find a better place to die or live depending on your viewpoint. I still have a few brothers at Lejeune but I’d prolly stay farther south maybe Tennessee, my overdue point is there must be a website we can find others that could possibly help us. I’d help you if you lived close enough to me is what I’m getting at. I’m sure there are others out there who could possibly give you a hand. The VA likely won’t help most of us but hopefully they help some of us. Best wishes either way!

      Semper Fi

  3. Raul Orozco April 11, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    What’s the minimum rating needed to qualify for VRE
    – Voc. Rehab?
    I’m currently rated@ 10% percent
    But recently the pain in my knee, has made it almost impossible to tolerate.
    Please help.

    – Raul Orozco

    • Patwoman April 15, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Raul – I was rated as 10% when I was discharged from the Army in ’83. In 2008, 25 years later, I was told I could apply to have my disabilities re-evaluated so I did because my injuries had gotten worse. After evaluation, I was given an 80% rating.
      I got help from the DAV to get the process started and in motion. It did take over 6-months but they gave me, unexpected, back pay.

  4. Ken Parment MMC(SW) April 8, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Just remember you are not alone brother. There are a lot of vets who are in this position, so learn from them too. Then pass it on as you can, to those that still need it or sadly who will be in your position later. but always remember you have brothers and sisters that want and need you here and now.

  5. Aaron M. Sawyer April 8, 2021 at 1:55 am

    Hi my name is Aaron Sawyer I am 35 years old I received a 100% disability rating due to combat related injuries. I had no idea that I was not going to be able to work it has been difficult, the money is not enough to survive. This is literally the exact program I have been looking for I need to find housing as well as work with voc rehab possibly finish my GI Bill. If everything I read is accurate I cannot tell you how extremely grateful I am for this program and I have the desire well and I desire to do it all get the training I need to figure out what I and where I fit in. It has been a very long lonely year. I would very much appreciate talking to a representative as soon as I can to get a better understanding thank you so much. God bless look forward to hearing from you

    • Angela April 8, 2021 at 9:52 am

      “Once a Veteran has a VA disability rating, sign into eBenefits, select “Apply,” click “Veteran Readiness and Employment Program” and apply for Education and Career Counseling. If eligible, a Veteran will be invited to join an orientation session at the nearest VA regional office.”

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