VRAP – The Newest GI Bill

by Ron Kness on May 4, 2012

This is an update to an earlier post from December 2011.

A new GI Bill called the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program or VRAP, will start on July 1, 2012. As part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, it will offer up to 12 months of education and training for certain older unemployed veterans. Those in the program will be paid the current Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) rate of $1,473 per month for a maximum of 12 months, meaning this program could be worth up to $17,500 to you for the one year of training.

Veteran and Businesses Advantages

The VRAP advantage is you get an opportunity to train for a job or retrain into a field where there is more demand and where you can be more employable. Thousands of new jobs are currently unfilled because employers can’t find enough people skilled in the jobs they have available. The advantage to a business hiring you, besides filling open high-skilled positions they need filled, is certain tax breaks for them.

VRAP can be a real boost if you:

- are a veteran who have already used up your Montgomery GI Bill benefits, or
- had GI Bill benefits but they have since have expired, or
- declined the Montgomery GI Bill and don’t qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and
- have been unemployed for a long time.

Eligibility Requirements

If you are interested in VRAP, as a veteran you must meet the following eligibility requirements for acceptance into the program:

- be between the ages of 35 and 60.
- currently unemployed (as defined by the Department of Labor).
- have a discharge other than dishonorable.
- ineligible for any other VA education benefit program.
- not currently receiving VA compensation due to your unemployability.
- not currently enrolled in any federal or state job training program.

Under the VRAP program, you can use the program to finish or lead to an associate or non-college degree, earn a certification or license, or train for a high demand occupation. The new VRAP program will be limited to 45,000 veterans this fiscal year ending September 30th and to 54,000 veterans in FY 20213 through March 31, 2014.

While in the program and after completion, the Department of Labor will assist VRAP veterans with finding employment in their newly trained skill. Interested veterans can apply for the program starting May 15, 2012 directly from the new VRAP Website.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

James Varney May 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

That would be GREAT,giving our Veterns a good way to work.I am trying to get agent orange benfits,but they say I’m not disable enough,My breathing is bad.Let me know more info on this topic.

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Donald Dixon May 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

I served in The U S Air Force from 1957 And wondring if I am entilted to any benifits. Thank You.

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Ron Kness May 15, 2012 at 8:25 am

You could be Donald if you meet the VRAP requirements.

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Don, what is your age, and are you currently employed?

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Irvin Silva May 4, 2012 at 9:57 am

let me get this right i am a veteran unemployed for over a year, and because i am 62 i don’t qualify for this program? What other programs are there to help veterans that are unemployed and over 60 ?

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Ron Kness May 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

Hi Irwin. I have no idea why they chose 60 as the cut-off age, but they did. As far as any other help for veterans over age 60, I know of none. I’m sorry I could not be of more help.

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Irvin, i am sorry to hear that you dont qualify, try ACOT.edu for veteran scholarships regardless of age, we will see if we can help in anyway. Respectfully, Lute

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jillanna landsperg May 4, 2012 at 9:58 am

what help is there for vieman[spellin] vet. honable dis. after 7years of servise

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Jilanna,
visit acot.edu click on vrap page and check out the vrap qualifications then apply for vrap, the can only say No. it takes a few mins.
Lute

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Gregory L. Hataway May 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

Interested in education on SBA 8A programs and Disabled Vets programs and possibly aviation 60/40 Programs.

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Gregory, i am not currently aware of any programs approved for SBA or aviation programs. That does not mean they are not out there, have you checked out the approved school list, then tried to narrow the search by program? See the list here: http://acot.edu/pages/veterans-retraining-assistance-program

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Kim H in VA May 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

That’s nice in theory but since they are already not paying veterans the benefits they qualify for I doubt this will work as planned. The VA already is behind 3 months for housing money for my husband as part of his GI Bill benefits. We have contacted both our state senators and gotten no response. The veteran liaison at my husband’s school can’t get a response from the VA and the school actually sent an email saying that many veterans at his school were not getting their money.

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Ron Kness May 15, 2012 at 8:31 am

Hi Kim. The VA is a huge, slow, constantly moving machine that grinds up anything that gets in its way. As you have found out, even Senators can’t get a response from them.

And the VRAP program isn’t going to help matters either as it will just add work to an already severely overloaded VA system and slow everything down even more.

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm

The VRAP program has its own specific processors, there are only a few of them but they are separate meaning they should process faster.
The GI BILL is a much larger program. Dealing with smaller regions may be your best bet, if you are not having luck with your area or region try another. we only have about a 2 week delay in the midwest.
If you have a general VRAP questions ill see what i can do to help and i can post it on the midwest blog for school certifying officials to see what kind of response i can get. Check here for Q and A: http://acot.edu/pages/veterans-retraining-assistance-program

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Alejandro Espinoza May 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Awesome Awesome program. However the age is where I fall short. I am 33 and will be 34 in August but God knows I can really use this program Now! And I’m sure several below 35 year olds have used up their GI Bill by now and could benefit from this. I appreciate the hard work that is put into these programs and I thank GOD for their availability. I just wish the age gap was lowered.

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Ron Kness May 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

As I said in an earlier post, I have never heard the reasoning behind the age range of VRAP – 35 to 60. There has to be some research behind it, but it has not been released in the sources I watch.

I hope VRAP works as intended as the ones it is meant to serve need it, as well as hundreds if not thousands that are not in the age range, like you.

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edward goforth May 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

when I left the army in 79′ I was lucky enough to have the same progam.,IT gave me a great start to earn a degree and start with a associate degree-hoorah

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Marvin Gilbert May 23, 2012 at 2:43 am

The age range, I think, was taken from half of all “unemployed” veterans are between 35-60. Hope that helps. I think there are more programs or assistance for other age groups, but not under VRAP. Good luck.

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Sarah Mabe May 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

I just found out I was approved for the program for 11 months and 5 days but I have to attend full time!

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Raffy June 14, 2012 at 4:27 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.

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Thompson July 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I was accepted into VR&E in 2003, after a 20+ year fight to get my disability recognized.

At that time, I was 43, had my position downsized 2 years prior (2001, pre 9/11) after suffering a relapse RELATED TO my disability.
(I had a heart attack in 1980 because a ‘murmur’ that was detected during my induction physical in 1979 wasn’t upgraded as “service-connected” until 2003)

VR&E had me “jump through hoops “for TWO YEARS (2003-05) by having me re-write my resume so many times, that I could offer SAMPLES for MS Word Templates, and when I asked about attending College to complete my degree, I was told ” Make due with your resume”, due to my accrued 20+ years experience in IT.

Long/short:
The VR&E didn’t heed statistical data in “Computer and Mathematical Occupations” via the Bureau of Labor Statistics when I explained AND proved that I’ll need a Master’s to ‘make a dent’ in the job search, after the ’08 Crisis.
NOTE: I haven’t collected a DIME of unemployment insurance since 2003, so I’m NOT one of those folks…

The FINAL straw?

I couldn’t qualify for VRAP because, quote: “I still have 6 months and 4 days of VR&E entitlement, remaining”.

Recently, due to the embarrassment by the VR&E of my having a BS Degree thru VR&E and I’m STILL UNEMPLOYED, I was “allowed” to enroll for a “IT Certificate”, and I have EXACTLY 6 months to complete it.

If the Coursework takes 1..second….past 6 months? TOO BAD!
I’ll have to pay for out of MY ONLY INCOME (40% @560.00 a month)

Because it appears VR&E Offices are exercising policies with the management style of “each one, independently OWNED and OPERATED”, as opposed to adhering to edict law, I believe a “word” to BGen Hickey’s office (Under Secretary for Benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs) is more than appropriate at this point, as VR&E falls under HER aegis.

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Barry July 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

Recently unemployed DAV, with Honorable Discharge. Is there a specific length of time to be unemployed before qualifying for VRAP?

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Ron August 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

The VRAP rules only say unemployed at the time of application. However, if did read elsewhere that long-term unemployed veterans get priority, but if you are now unemployed, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still apply.

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Tammy August 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

Is there a site that list approved VRAP schools? This is the problem of trying to find an approved programs that accepts this particular GI Bill.

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Lori August 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Does this include online schools as well

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Marc August 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Is V.R.A.P. CRAP?

Hi everyone!

I am a disabled veteran, and I applied and was approved for the newly/recently created government educational program V.R.A.P. (=Veterans Retraining Assistance Program).
I received a letter of Certificate of Eligibility under the V.R.A.P. on 5th of June 2012.
I enrolled in the AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree program in Electronics Engineering Technology at Cleveland Institute of Electronics on 16th of July 2012.
As weeks past by without having received any financial benefits from the V.A., I called the V.A. on 15th of August 2012 to find out why I had not received my check yet… The V.A. clerk responded that my application for financial benefits under V.R.A.P. could not be processed, because I was enrolled only as half-time/part-time student, and that I needed to be enrolled as full-time student in order to qualify for financial benefits under V.R.A.P…
Thereupon, I immediately informed my student counselor at Cleveland Institute of Electronics (C.I.E.) via e-mail about that matter.
Apparently, the degree programs of my school (Cleveland Institute of Electronics) are considered as part-time/half-time programs in the eyes of the V.A. department, because Cleveland Institute of Electronics is a distance learning institution.
The student counselor mentioned in the e-mail that there were many enrolled students who would experience the same dilemma as I do.

What I do not understand (and I am very frustrated as well as angry about it!!!) is -why did the V.A. department approve my application for V.R.A.P. and sent me a letter of Certificate of Eligibility and then -when it is time for “paying the piper” (me, the approved veteran), sent me a letter of denial for my educational benefits???
I payed my school in advance to find out that I am suddenly not qualified for educational benefits under V.R.A.P., which I really counted on..
-What a disappointment!!!

If I had known in May that my on-line degree program would be considered as only part-time/half-time, I would have either selected a different degree program or different school in order to qualify for the full educational benefits under V.R.A.P!
Let us see what happens now…

A lot of veterans, who were approved for V.R.A.P. benefits, have families and children, and made major steps, investments, and adjustments in their lives for their future by signing up with schools under V.R.A.P.!

It appears that the V.A. department did not create the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (V.R.A.P.) to help needed veterans to get back into the workforce, but to gain only “browny points” for the next election in Washington!

1. V.R.A.P. is way too short (1 year only!!!)! How can anyone complete an education (except a few vocational training programs -i.e. trucker school, etc.) within one (1) year?
2. V.R.A.P. is too restrictive! One must be a veteran, unemployed, between 35 and 60 years of age, honorable discharged, not be enrolled in any federal or state job training program!
3. V.R.A.P. is limited to only 100,000 veterans (1st of July – 30th of September 2012: 45,000 applicants; 1st of October 2012 – 31st March 2014: 54,000 applicants)!
4. V.R.A.P. is way underfunded!

How can this V.R.A.P. successfully help us veterans with these limitations?
If the V.A. department were truly interested in helping us veterans by introducing V.R.A.P., why would they make it so difficult for us to receive full benefits under this educational program?
Are the politicians in Washington singing the (V.) RAP for the upcoming election?
One may wonder about the true objective/objectives of the creation of V.R.A.P…

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Monica October 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I agree with you 100%. What the heck were they thinking by implimenting all these restrictions!?

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Lute September 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

There seems to be a lot of questions that are unanswered, also there seems to be some vets in need of some scholarships because VRAP wont cover or you are not eligible. Contact me for more info, we have 3 full time, trained School Certifying Officials trained by the VA and we can help get you to the right school, or in a program at our school that will help. If you dont qualify, our school is veteran friendly and has lots of scholarships and programs. visit our vrap site for an up to date Q and A.

Lute, GI BILL School Certifying Official since 2006

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ian betty September 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I have a question. What if i wanted to take a program that was shorter that the year annual payout. For instance, IT program is 5 months in length and the total cost of the program is 17,000, how would VRAP pay for this program and what would I need to do so I can use my VRAP benefits. Thanks…

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Ron September 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Most likely, you would get $1,473 per month for 5 months. I don’t know how you could do it any other way as VRAP can only pay you while you are actually enrolled in a class. If the class is only 5 months, that is all that they could pay you.

To get your full year’s worth of benefit, your class would have to last a year.

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ian betty September 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

thank you for your help…

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Aaricka Swanson April 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I understand that under the VRAP program you can apply for the Pell Grant. Can you also apply for school loans through the department of education?

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