You've earned the right to a higher education through your service in the U.S. Armed Forces. But how do you use your GI Bill benefits? Which version is right for you? The Legion can help answer questions about state and/or federal education benefits, who can use them, and how long.
A veteran recently came into my office and was extremely agitated. He needed someone to talk to. As the tears flowed, he described how his life had recently become very difficult. He could not sleep. He had become so paranoid he set up cameras around his house in case of a break-in. Ordinary shopping trips took him several hours because he felt he had to frequently check to see if his car was stolen. His wife and three children had recently left him. He knew that he needed help, but he was afraid to ask. His college studies, understandably, were suffering. He could not concentrate in class.
I asked if he had applied for Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31) benefits. He did not understand why he should apply because he was not injured in Iraq and thought he was fine since his discharge three years earlier.
VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program provides benefits not only to veterans who were physically injured but also for those suffering with PTSD. And sometimes, as in the case of this student veteran, PTSD takes a few years to fully develop. That's why it is important to know that a service-connected PTSD diagnosis, even years following a trauma, can make a veteran eligible for VR&E education benefits, which helps veterans with disabilities make the transition from military service to successful rehabilitation and on to suitable employment or education.
American Legion service officers can help a veteran who thinks he or she has service-connected PTSD. Service officers will assign representatives to assist with application materials and processing. The percentage of disability rating will determine the monthly rate of your allowance.