WILMINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced a new benefit for unemployed Veterans ages 35 to 60 that covers education costs for up to one year. The benefit is through a joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor (DOL) program that focuses on retraining 99,000 Veterans for high-demand jobs.
"As a veteran, I appreciate the sacrifices these men and women have made for our country at home and abroad. Once our brave service members conclude their military service, we have a moral imperative to support them with first-class training and education to help them successfully transition back into the workforce," said Sen. Carper. "I hope veterans take advantage of this new program to provide training assistance for high-demand jobs so they can use the skills and experiences they gained in the military in the civilian workforce."
As part of a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) allows qualifying Veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty rate, currently $1,473 per month. Veterans can now apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for VRAP for programs that begin on or after July 1, 2012. Assistance under this benefit program ends on March 31, 2014.
To complete an application, a Veteran will need to know his or her direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of his or her school, the program the Veteran wishes to pursue, and the applicable high-demand occupation. For more information on VOW, VRAP, high demand occupations, and how to apply, Veterans may go to the website at www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or call VA's Call Centers at (800) 827-1000.
To qualify Veterans must:
- Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;
- Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the DOL;
- Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment);
- Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program within the last 180 days;
- Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability (IU).
As a member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus, Sen. Carper is committed to helping veterans get back to work. His recently launched web page, http://carper.senate.gov/veterans provides resources for veterans looking for job training and other forms of assistance available.