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Title 38

Displaying title 38, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 38 was last amended 9/22/2021.

Title 38

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PART 21 - VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND EDUCATION
Subpart A - Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31
Authority:

38 U.S.C. 501(a), chs. 18, 31, and as noted in specific sections.

Source:

49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, unless otherwise noted.

Vocational Rehabilitation Overview
§ 21.1 Training and rehabilitation for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

(a) Purposes. The purposes of this program are to provide to eligible veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities all services and assistance necessary to enable them to achieve maximum independence in daily living and, to the maximum extent feasible, to become employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(b) Basic requirements. Before a service-disabled veteran may receive training and rehabilitation services under Chapter 31, Title 38 U.S.C., three basic requirements must be met:

(1) The Department of Veterans Affairs must first find that the veteran has basic entitlement to services as prescribed by § 21.40.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(2) The services necessary for training and rehabilitation must be identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(3) An individual written plan must be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran describing the goals of the program and the means through which these goals will be achieved.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

Nonduplication
§ 21.21 Election of benefits under education programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(a) Election of benefits required. A veteran must make an election of benefits among the programs of education administered by VA for which he or she may be eligible. A veteran who has basic entitlement to rehabilitation under chapter 31 and is also eligible for assistance under any of the other education programs administered by VA must make an election of benefits between chapter 31 and any other VA program of education for which he or she may be eligible. The veteran may reelect at any time if he or she is otherwise eligible. (See §§ 21.264 and 21.334.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1781(b))

(b) Use of prior training in formulating a rehabilitation program. If a veteran has pursued an educational or training program under an education program listed in § 21.4020 of this part, the earlier program of education or special restorative training shall be utilized to the extent practicable.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695(b))

[53 FR 880, Jan. 14, 1988, as amended at 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]

§ 21.22 Nonduplication - Federal programs.

(a) Allowances. A service-disabled veteran who is eligible for benefits under Chapter 31, may not receive a subsistence allowance or elect payment of an allowance at the educational assistance rate under Chapter 30 pursuant to § 21.264 if the veteran:

(1) Is on active duty and is pursuing a course of education which is being paid for by the Armed Forces (or by the Department of Health and Human Services in the case of the Public Health Service), or

(2) Is attending a course of education or training paid for under Chapter 41, Title 5 U.S.C. and whose full salary is being paid to such veteran while so training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3681; Pub. L. 98-525)

(b) Services which may be authorized. A service-disabled veteran who is in one of the two categories defined in paragraph (a) of this section is entitled to receive all benefits, other than an allowance, to which he or she is otherwise entitled under Chapter 31, including:

(1) Payment of any tuition and fees not paid for by the Armed Forces.

(2) The cost of special services, such as reader services, tutorial assistance, and special equipment during the period of such training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3681)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]

Claims
§ 21.30 Claims.

A specific claim in the form prescribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs must be filed for:

(a) A program of rehabilitation services, or

(b) Employment assistance.

§ 21.31 Informal claim.

Any communication or action indicating an intent to apply for rehabilitation or employment assistance, from a veteran, a duly authorized representative, or a Member of Congress may be considered an informal claim. Upon receipt of an informal claim, if a formal claim has not been filed, an application form will be forwarded to the veteran for execution. In the case of a claim for rehabilitation, or employment assistance, the formal claim will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of the informal claim if received within 1 year from the date it was sent to the veteran, or before cessation of the course, whichever is earlier.

§ 21.32 Notification by VA of necessary information or evidence when a claim is filed; time for claimant response and VA action.

The provisions of this section apply to claims that are governed by this subpart or subpart M of this part.

(a) VA has a duty to notify claimants of necessary information or evidence. Except when a claim cannot be substantiated because there is no legal basis for the claim, or undisputed facts render the claimant ineligible for the claimed benefit, when VA receives a complete or substantially complete application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services provided under this subpart or subpart M of this part VA will:

(1) Notify the claimant of any information and evidence that is necessary to substantiate the claim;

(2) Inform the claimant which information and evidence, if any, the claimant is to provide to VA and which information and evidence, if any, VA will try to obtain for the claimant; and

(3) Inform the claimant of the time limit, as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, for responding to VA's notification, and of actions, as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, that VA may take to decide the claim if the claimant does not respond to such notification within 30 days.

(b) Definitions for purposes of §§ 21.32 and 21.33. For purposes of this section and § 21.33:

(1) The term application does not include a notice of disagreement.

(2) The term notification means the notice described in paragraph (a) of this section.

(3) The term substantially complete application means, for an individual's first application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services administered by VA, an application containing:

(i) The claimant's name;

(ii) His or her relationship to the veteran, if applicable;

(iii) Sufficient information for VA to verify the claimed service, if applicable; and

(iv) The benefit claimed.

(4) The term information means nonevidentiary facts, such as the claimant's Social Security number or address, or the name of the educational institution the claimant is attending.

(c) Time limit. Any information and evidence described in the notification as information and evidence that the claimant is to provide must be received by VA within one year from the date of the notification. If VA does not receive the information and evidence from the claimant within that time period, VA may adjudicate the claim based on the information and evidence in the file.

(d) Actions VA may take after 30 days if no response from claimant. If the claimant has not responded to the notification within 30 days, VA may decide the claim before the expiration of the one-year period, based on all the information and evidence in the file, including information and evidence it has obtained on behalf of the claimant. If VA does so, however, and the claimant subsequently provides the information and evidence specified in the notification within one year of the date of the notification, VA must readjudicate the claim. If VA's decision on a readjudication is favorable to the claimant, the award of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services shall take effect as if the prior decision by VA on the claim had not been made.

(e) Incomplete applications. If VA receives an incomplete application for benefits, it will notify the claimant of the information necessary to complete the application and will defer assistance until the claimant submits this information. If the information necessary to complete the application is not received by VA within one year from the date of such notice, VA cannot pay or provide any benefits based on that application.

(f) Who VA will notify. For the purpose of this section, when VA seeks to notify a claimant, it will provide such notice to:

(1) The claimant;

(2) His or her fiduciary, if any; and

(3) His or her representative, if any.

[74 FR 31855, July 6, 2009]

§ 21.33 VA has a duty to assist claimants in obtaining evidence.

The provisions of this section apply to claims that are governed by this subpart or subpart M of this part.

(a) VA's duty to assist begins when VA receives a complete or substantially complete application.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, upon receipt of a complete or substantially complete application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under this subpart or subpart M of this part, VA will:

(i) Make reasonable efforts to help a claimant obtain evidence necessary to substantiate the claim; and

(ii) Give the assistance described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section to an individual attempting to reopen a finally decided claim.

(2) VA will not pay any fees a custodian of records may charge to provide the records VA requests.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(b) Obtaining records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency.

(1) VA will make reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency. These records include relevant records from:

(i) State or local governments;

(ii) Private medical care providers;

(iii) Current or former employers; and

(iv) Other non-Federal governmental sources.

(2) The reasonable efforts described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section will generally consist of an initial request for the records and, if VA does not receive the records, at least one follow-up request. The following are exceptions to this provision concerning the number of requests that VA generally will make:

(i) VA will not make a follow-up request if a response to the initial request indicates that the records sought do not exist or that a follow-up request for the records would be futile.

(ii) If VA receives information showing that subsequent requests to this or another custodian could result in obtaining the records sought, reasonable efforts will include an initial request and, if VA does not receive the records, at least one follow-up request to the new source or an additional request to the original source.

(3) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA's reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from non-Federal agency or department custodians. The claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including:

(i) The person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records;

(ii) The approximate time frame covered by the records; and

(iii) In the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.

(4) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(c) Obtaining records in the custody of a Federal department or agency.

(1) Subject to paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section, VA will make as many requests as are necessary to obtain relevant records from a Federal department or agency. These records include but are not limited to:

(i) Military records;

(ii) Medical and other records from VA medical facilities;

(iii) Records from non-VA facilities providing examination or treatment at VA expense; and

(iv) Records from other Federal agencies.

(2) VA will cease its efforts to obtain records from a Federal department or agency only if VA concludes that the records sought do not exist or that further efforts to obtain those records would be futile. Cases in which VA may conclude that no further efforts are required include cases in which the Federal department or agency advises VA that the requested records do not exist or that the custodian of such records does not have them.

(3) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA's reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from Federal department or agency custodians. At VA's request, the claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including:

(i) The custodian or agency holding the records;

(ii) The approximate time frame covered by the records; and

(iii) In the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.

(4) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the custodian or agency holding the records.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(d) Circumstances where VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance. VA will refrain from providing assistance in obtaining evidence for a claim if the substantially complete or complete application for benefits indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that any assistance VA would provide to the claimant would substantiate the claim. VA will discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence for a claim if the evidence obtained indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that further assistance would substantiate the claim. Circumstances in which VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence include but are not limited to:

(1) The claimant's ineligibility for the benefit sought because of lack of qualifying service, lack of veteran status, or other lack of legal eligibility;

(2) Claims that are inherently not credible or clearly lack merit;

(3) An application requesting a benefit to which the claimant is not entitled as a matter of law; and

(4) The claimant's lack of cooperation in providing or requesting information or evidence necessary to substantiate the claim.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(e) Duty to notify claimant of inability to obtain records.

(1) VA will notify the claimant either orally or in writing when VA:

(i) Has made reasonable efforts to obtain relevant non-Federal records, but is unable to obtain them; or

(ii) After continued efforts to obtain Federal records, concludes that it is reasonably certain they do not exist or that further efforts to obtain them would be futile.

(2) For non-Federal records requests, VA may provide the notice to the claimant at the same time it makes its final attempt to obtain the relevant records.

(3) VA will make a written record of any oral notice conveyed under this paragraph to the claimant.

(4) The notice to the claimant must contain the following information:

(i) The identity of the records VA was unable to obtain;

(ii) An explanation of the efforts VA made to obtain the records;

(iii) The fact described in paragraph (e)(1)(i) or (e)(1)(ii) of this section;

(iv) A description of any further action VA will take regarding the claim, including, but not limited to, notice that VA will decide the claim based on the evidence of record unless the claimant submits the records VA was unable to obtain; and

(v) A notice that the claimant is ultimately responsible for obtaining the evidence.

(5) If VA becomes aware of the existence of relevant records before deciding the claim, VA will notify the claimant of the existence of such records and ask that the claimant provide a release for the records. If the claimant does not provide any necessary release of the relevant records that VA is unable to obtain, VA will ask that the claimant obtain the records and provide them to VA.

(6) For the purpose of this section, if VA must notify the claimant, VA will provide notice to:

(i) The claimant;

(ii) His or her fiduciary, if any; and

(iii) His or her representative, if any.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102, 5103(a), 5103A)

[74 FR 31856, July 6, 2009]

Definitions
§ 21.35 Definitions.

(a) Employment handicap. This term means an impairment of a veteran's ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with such veteran's abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(1), 3102)

(b) Independence in daily living. This term means the ability of a veteran, without the service of others, or with a reduced level of the services of others, to live and function within such veteran's family and community.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(2))

(c) Program of education. This term means:

(1) A combination of subjects or unit courses pursued at a school which is generally acceptable to meet requirements for a predetermined educational, professional or vocational objective; or

(2) Such subjects or courses which are generally acceptable to meet requirements for more than one objective if all objectives pursued are generally recognized as being related to a single career field; or

(3) Any unit course or subject, or combination of courses or subjects, pursued by an eligible veteran at any educational institution required by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration as a condition to obtaining financial assistance under the provisions of section (7)(i)(1) of the Small Business Act.

(d) Program of independent living services and assistance. This term includes:

(1) The services provided in this program that are needed to enable a veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living, including counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, and educational services determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be necessary, and

(2) The monthly allowance authorized by 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 for such a veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(4))

(e) Rehabilitated to the point of employability. This term means that the veteran is employable in an occupation for which a vocational rehabilitation program has been provided under this program

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(5))

(f) Rehabilitation program. This term includes, when appropriate:

(1) A vocational rehabilitation program (see paragraph (i) of this section);

(2) A program of independent living services and assistance (see paragraph (d) of this section) for a veteran for whom a vocational goal has been determined not to be currently reasonably feasible; or

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(6); Pub. L. 99-576)

(3) A program of employment services for employable veterans who are prior participants in Department of Veterans Affairs or state-federal vocational rehabilitation programs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(g) Serious employment handicap. This term means a significant impairment of a veteran's ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with such veteran's abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(7)

(h) Vocational goal.

(1) The term vocational goal means a gainful employment status consistent with a veteran's abilities, aptitudes, and interests;

(2) The term achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible means the effects of the veteran's disability (service and nonservice-connected), when considered in relation to the veteran's circumstances does not prevent the veteran from successfully pursuing a vocational rehabilitation program and becoming gainfully employed in an occupation consistent with the veteran's abilities, aptitudes, and interests;

(3) The term achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible means the effects of the veteran's disability (service and nonservice-connected), when considered in relation to the veteran's circumstances at the time of the determination:

(i) Prevent the veteran from successfully achieving a vocational goal at that time; or

(ii) Are expected to worsen within the period needed to achieve a vocational goal and which would, therefore, make achievement not reasonably feasible.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(8))

(i) Vocational rehabilitation program. This term includes:

(1) The services that are needed for the accomplishment of the purposes of 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 including such counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, independent living, economic, educational, vocational, and employment services as are determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be needed;

(i) In the case of a veteran for whom the achievement of a vocational goal has not been found to be currently infeasible, such services include:

(A) Determining whether a vocational goal is reasonably feasible;

(B) Improving the veteran's potential to participate in a program of services designed to achieve a vocational goal;

(C) Enabling the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;

(ii) In the case of a veteran for whom achievement of a vocational goal is feasible, such services include assisting the veteran to become, to the maximum extent feasible, employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment; and

(2) The term also includes the monetary assistance authorized by 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 for a veteran receiving any of the services described in this paragraph.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9); Pub. L. 99-576)

(j) Program of employment services. This term includes the counseling, medical, social, and other placement and post-placement services provided to a veteran under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 to assist the veteran in obtaining or maintaining suitable employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(k) Other terminology. The following are primarily intended as explanations rather than definitions of terms to which frequent reference will be made in these regulations.

(1) Counseling psychologist. Unless otherwise stated, the term counseling psychologist refers to a counseling psychologist in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(2) Vocational rehabilitation specialist. Unless otherwise stated, the term vocational rehabilitation specialist refers to a vocational rehabilitation specialist in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or to a Department of Veterans Affairs counseling psychologist performing the duties of a vocational rehabilitation specialist.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(3) School, educational institution, institution. These terms means any public or private school, secondary school, vocational school, correspondence school, business school, junior college, teachers' college, college, normal school, professional school, university, or scientific or technical institution, or other institution furnishing education for adults.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3452(c))

(4) Training establishment. This term means any establishment providing apprentice or other training on the job, including those under the supervision of a college or university or any State department of education, or any State apprenticeship agency, or any State board of vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established in accordance with 29 U.S.C. Chapter 4C, or any agency of the Federal Government authorized to supervise such training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3452(e))

(5) Rehabilitation facility. This term means a distinct organizational entity, either separate or within a larger insititution or agency, which provides goal-oriented comprehensive and coordinated services to individuals designed to evaluate and minimize the handicapping effects of physical, mental, social and vocational disadvantages, and to effect a realization of the individual's potential.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a))

(6) Workshop. This term means a charitable organization or institution, conducted not for profit, but for the purpose of carrying out an organized program of evaluation and rehabilitation for handicapped workers and/or for providing such individuals with remunerative employment and other occupational rehabilitative activity of an educational or therapeutic nature.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a))

(7) Vocational rehabilitation counselor. Unless otherwise stated, the term vocational rehabilitation counselor refers to a vocational rehabilitation counselor in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997]

Entitlement
§ 21.40 Basic entitlement to vocational rehabilitation benefits and services.

An individual meets the basic entitlement criteria for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under this subpart if VA determines that he or she meets the requirements of paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section. For other requirements affecting the provision of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services, see §§ 21.41 through 21.46 (period of eligibility), § 21.53 (reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal), and §§ 21.70 through 21.79 (months of entitlement).

(a) Veterans with at least 20 percent disability. The individual is a veteran who meets all of the following criteria:

(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated 20 percent or more under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.

(2) Incurred or aggravated the disability or disabilities in active military, naval, or air service on or after September 16, 1940.

(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap.

(b) Veterans with 10 percent disability. The individual is a veteran who meets all of the following criteria:

(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated less than 20 percent under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.

(2) Incurred or aggravated the disability or disabilities in active military, naval, or air service on or after September 16, 1940.

(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of a serious employment handicap.

(c) Servicemembers awaiting discharge. The individual is a servicemember who, while waiting for discharge from the active military, naval, or air service, is hospitalized, or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment, for a disability that VA will likely determine to be service-connected. In addition, VA must have determined that:

(1) The hospital or other medical facility providing the hospitalization, care, service, or treatment is doing so under contract or agreement with the Secretary concerned, or is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or the Secretary concerned;

(2) The individual is in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap; and

(3) The individual has a disability or combination or disabilities that will likely be:

(i) At least 10 percent compensable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11 and he or she originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990; or

(ii) At least 20 percent compensable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11 and he or she originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 on or after November 1, 1990.

(d) Exception for veterans who first applied after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990. The individual is a veteran who:

(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated less than 20 percent under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11;

(2) Originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990; and

(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap.

[75 FR 3164, Jan. 20, 2010]

Periods of Eligibility
§ 21.41 Basic period of eligibility.

(a) Time limit for eligibility to receive vocational rehabilitation.

(1) For purposes of §§ 21.41 through 21.46, the term basic period of eligibility means the 12-year period beginning on the date of a veteran's discharge or release from his or her last period of active military, naval, or air service, and ending on the date that is 12 years from the veteran's discharge or release date, but the beginning date may be deferred or the ending date extended under the sections referred to in paragraph (b) of this section. (See §§ 21.70 through 21.79 concerning duration of rehabilitation programs.)

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, the period during which an individual may receive a program of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 is limited to his or her basic period of eligibility.

(b) Deferral and extension of the basic period of eligibility. VA may defer the beginning date of a veteran's basic period of eligibility under § 21.42. VA may extend the ending date of a veteran's basic period of eligibility under § 21.42 (extension due to medical condition); § 21.44 (extension for a veteran with a serious employment handicap), § 21.45 (extension during a program of independent living services and assistance), and § 21.46 (extension for a veteran recalled to active duty).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)

(c) Servicemember entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance before discharge. The basic period of eligibility for a servicemember who is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 for a period before discharge does not run while the servicemember remains on active duty, but begins on the date of discharge from the active military, naval, or air service. The period of eligibility requirements of this section are not applicable to provision of vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under chapter 31 during active duty.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3103)

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.42 Deferral or extension of the basic period of eligibility.

The basic period of eligibility does not run as long as any of the following reasons prevents the veteran from commencing or continuing a vocational rehabilitation program:

(a) Qualifying compensable service-connected disability(ies) not established. The basic period of eligibility does not commence until the day VA notifies a veteran of a rating determination by VA that the veteran has a qualifying compensable service-connected disability under § 21.40.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(3))

(b) Character of discharge is a bar to benefits.

(1) The basic period of eligibility does not commence until the veteran meets the requirement of a discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable. (For provisions regarding character of discharge, see § 3.12 of this chapter.)

(2) If VA has considered a veteran's character of discharge to be a bar to benefits, the basic period of eligibility commences only when one of the following happens:

(i) An appropriate authority changes the character of discharge or release; or

(ii) VA determines that the discharge or release was under conditions other than dishonorable or that the discharge or release was, but no longer is, a bar to benefits.

(3) If there is a change in the character of discharge, or the discharge or release otherwise is determined, as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, not to be a bar to benefits, the beginning date of the basic period of eligibility will be the effective date of the change or VA determination.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(2))

(c) Commencement or continuation of participation prevented by medical condition(s).

(1) The basic period of eligibility does not run during any period when a veteran's participation in a vocational rehabilitation program is determined to be infeasible for 30 days or more because of any medical condition(s) of the veteran, including the disabling effects of chronic alcoholism (see paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(5) of this section).

(2) For purposes of this section, the term disabling effects of chronic alcoholism means alcohol-induced physical or mental disorders or both, such as habitual intoxication, withdrawal, delirium, amnesia, dementia, and other like manifestations that:

(i) Have been diagnosed as manifestations of alcohol dependency or chronic alcohol abuse; and

(ii) Have been determined to prevent the affected veteran from beginning or continuing in a program of vocational rehabilitation and employment.

(3) A diagnosis of alcoholism, chronic alcoholism, alcohol dependency, or chronic alcohol abuse, in and of itself, does not satisfy the definition of disabling effects of chronic alcoholism.

(4) Injuries sustained by a veteran as a proximate and immediate result of activity undertaken by the veteran while physically or mentally unqualified to do so due to alcoholic intoxication are not considered disabling effects of chronic alcoholism. An injury itself, however, may prevent commencement or continuation of a rehabilitation program.

(5) For purposes of this section, after November 17, 1988, the disabling effects of chronic alcoholism do not constitute willful misconduct. See 38 U.S.C. 105(c).

(6) If the basic period of eligibility is delayed or interrupted under this paragraph (c) due to any medical condition(s) of the veteran, it will begin or resume on the date a Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) notifies the veteran in writing that the CP or VRC has determined, based on the evidence of record, that participation in a vocational rehabilitation program is reasonably feasible for the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(1))

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.44 Extension of the basic period of eligibility for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.

(a) Conditions for extension. A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may extend the basic period of eligibility of a veteran with a serious employment handicap when the veteran's current employment handicap and need for rehabilitation services and assistance necessitate an extension under the following conditions:

(1) Not rehabilitated to the point of employability. The veteran has not been rehabilitated to the point of employability; or

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

(2) Rehabilitated to the point of employability. The veteran was previously declared rehabilitated to the point of employability, but currently meets one of the following three conditions:

(i) One or more of the veteran's service-connected disabilities has worsened, preventing the veteran from working in the occupation for which he or she trained, or in a related occupation;

(ii) The veteran's current employment handicap and capabilities clearly show that the occupation for which the veteran previously trained is currently unsuitable; or

(iii) The occupational requirements in the occupation for which the veteran trained have changed to such an extent that additional services are necessary to enable the veteran to work in that occupation, or in a related field.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

(b) Length of eligibility extension. For a veteran with a serious employment handicap, a CP or VRC may extend the basic period of eligibility for such additional period as the CP or VRC determines is needed for the veteran to accomplish the purposes of his or her individualized rehabilitation program.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.45 Extending the period of eligibility for a program of independent living beyond basic period of eligibility.

A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may extend the period of eligibility for a veteran's program of independent living services beyond the veteran's basic period of eligibility if the CP or VRC determines that an extension is necessary for the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living. The extension may be for such period as the CP or VRC determines is needed for the veteran to achieve the goals of his or her program of independent living. (See § 21.76(b) concerning duration of independent living services.)

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.46 Veteran ordered to active duty; extension of basic period of eligibility.

If VA determines that a veteran is prevented from participating in, or continuing in, a program of vocational rehabilitation as a result of being ordered to active duty under 10 U.S.C. 688, 12301(a), 12301(d), 12301(g), 12302, or 12304, the veteran's basic period of eligibility will be extended by the length of time the veteran serves on active duty plus 4 months.

[75 FR 3168, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.47 Eligibility for employment assistance.

(a) Providing employment services to veterans eligible for a rehabilitation program under chapter 31. Each veteran, other than one found in need of a program of independent living services and assistance, who is otherwise currently eligible for and entitled to participate in a program of rehabilitation under chapter 31 may receive employment services. Included are those veterans who:

(1) Have completed a program of rehabilitation services under chapter 31 and been declared rehabilitated to the point of employability;

(2) Have not completed a period of rehabilitation to the point of employability under chapter 31, but:

(i) Have elected to secure employment without completing the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability; and

(ii) Are employable; or

(3) Have never received services for rehabilitation to the point of employability under chapter 31 if they:

(i) Are employable or employed in a suitable occupation;

(ii) Have an employment handicap or a serious employment handicap; and

(iii) Need employment services to secure and/or maintain suitable employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(b) Veteran previously participated in a VA vocational rehabilitation program or a similar program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. A veteran who at some time in the past has participated in a vocational rehabilitation program under chapter 31 or a similar program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, and is employable is eligible for employment services under the following conditions even though he or she is ineligible for any other assistance under chapter 31:

(1) The veteran is employable in a suitable occupation;

(2) The veteran has filed a claim for vocational rehabilitation or employment assistance;

(3) The veteran meets the criteria for eligibility described in § 21.40; and

(4) The veteran has an employment handicap or serious employment handicap; and

(5) The veteran:

(i) Completed a vocational rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. ch. 31 or participated in such a program for at least 90 days on or after September 16, 1940; or

(ii) Completed a vocational rehabilitation program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 after September 26, 1975, or participated in such a program which included at least 90 days of postsecondary education or vocational training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(c) Veteran never received vocational rehabilitation services from the Department of Veterans Affairs or under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If a veteran is currently ineligible under chapter 31 because he or she does not have an employment handicap, and has never before participated in a vocational rehabilitation program under chapter 31 or under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no employment assistance may now be provided to the veteran under chapter 31.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(d) Duration of period of employment assistance. The periods during which employment assistance may be provided are not subject to limitations on periods of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation provided in §§ 21.41 through 21.45 of this part, but entitlement to such assistance is, as provided in § 21.73 of this part, limited to 18 total months of assistance.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105)

[54 FR 21215, May 17, 1989, as amended at 56 FR 15836, Apr. 18, 1991; 75 FR 3165, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.48 Severance of service-connection - reduction to noncompensable degree.

When a rating action is taken which proposes severance of service-connection or reduction to a noncompensable degree, the provisions of the following paragraphs will govern the veteran's entitlement to rehabilitation and employment assistance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31.

(a) Applicant. If the veteran is an applicant for rehabilitation or employment assistance when the proposed rating action is taken, all processes respecting determination of entitlement or induction into training shall be immediately suspended. In no event shall any veteran be inducted into a rehabilitation program or provided employment assistance during the interim periods provided in § 3.105 (d) and (e) of this title. If the proposed rating action becomes final, the application will be denied. See also § 21.50 as to initial evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(b) Reduction while in a rehabilitation program. If the proposed rating action is taken while the veteran is in a rehabilitation program and results in a reduction to a noncompensable rating of his or her disability, the veteran may be retained in the program until the completion of the program, except if “discontinued” under § 21.198 he or she may not reenter.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)

(c) Severance while in a rehabilitation program. If the proposed rating action is taken while the veteran is in a rehabilitation program and results in severance of the service-connection of his or her disability, rehabilitation will be terminated effective as of the last day of the month in which severance of service-connection becomes final.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)

Initial and Extended Evaluation
§ 21.50 Initial evaluation.

(a) Entitlement to an initial evaluation. VA will provide an initial evaluation to an individual who:

(1) Applies for benefits under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31; and

(2) Meets the service-connected disability requirements of § 21.40.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9), 3106)

(b) Determinations to be made by VA during the initial evaluation. A counseling psychologist (CP) or vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) will determine:

(1) Whether the individual has an employment handicap as determined in accordance with this section and § 21.51;

(2) Whether an individual with an employment handicap has a serious employment handicap as determined in accordance with this section and § 21.52; and

(3) Whether the achievement of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible as described in § 21.53.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3103)

(c) Factors for assessment as part of the initial evaluation. In making the determinations under paragraph (b) of this section, the following factors will be developed and assessed:

(1) The handicapping effects of the individual's service-connected and nonservice-connected disability(ies) on employability and on independence in daily living;

(2) The individual's physical and mental capabilities that may affect employability and ability to function independently in daily living activities in family and community;

(3) The impact of the individual's identified vocational impairments on the individual's ability to prepare for, obtain, and keep suitable employment;

(4) The individual's abilities, aptitudes, and interests;

(5) The individual's personal history and current circumstances (including educational and training achievements, employment record, developmental and related vocationally significant factors, and family and community adjustment); and

(6) Other factors that may affect the individual's employability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a))

(d) Need for cooperation in the initial evaluation process. The individual's cooperation is essential in the initial evaluation process. If the individual does not cooperate, the CP or VRC will make reasonable efforts to secure the individual's cooperation. If, despite those efforts, the individual fails to cooperate, VA will suspend the initial evaluation process (see § 21.362, regarding satisfactory conduct and cooperation, and § 21.364, regarding unsatisfactory conduct and cooperation).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3111)

[72 FR 14042, Mar. 26, 2007, as amended at 75 FR 3165, Jan. 20, 2010]

§ 21.51 Determining employment handicap.

For the purposes of § 21.50, an employment handicap will be found to exist only if a CP or VRC determines that the individual meets each of the following conditions:

(a) Vocational impairment. The individual has a vocational impairment; that is, an impairment of the ability to prepare for, obtain, or keep employment in an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

(b) Effects of impairment not overcome. The individual has not overcome the effects of the individual's impairment of employability through employment in, or qualifying for employment in, an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. This situation includes an individual who qualifies for a suitable job, but who does not obtain or keep the job for reasons beyond his or her control.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(c) Contribution of the service-connected disability(ies) to the individual's overall vocational impairment.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the service-connected disability(ies) must contribute in substantial part to the individual's overall vocational impairment. This means that the disability(ies) must have an identifiable, measurable, or observable causative effect on the overall vocational impairment, but need not be the sole or primary cause of the employment handicap.

(2) When determining the individual's overall vocational impairment, the CP or VRC will consider the factors identified in § 21.50(c).

(3) For determinations made on applications for vocational rehabilitation filed on or after March 30, 1995, but before October 9, 1996, the individual's service-connected disability(ies) need not contribute to the individual's overall vocational impairment.

[72 FR 14042, Mar. 26, 2007]

§ 21.52 Determining serious employment handicap.

(a) Requirements for determining serious employment handicap. For each individual who is found to have an employment handicap, a CP or VRC must make a separate determination of whether the individual has a serious employment handicap. For the purposes of an initial evaluation under § 21.50, a serious employment handicap will be found to exist only if a CP or VRC determines that the individual meets each of the following conditions:

(1) Significant vocational impairment. The individual has a significant vocational impairment; that is, a significant impairment of the ability to prepare for, obtain, or keep employment in an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests, considering the factors described in § 21.50 and paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) Effects of significant impairment not overcome. The individual has not overcome the effects of the significant vocational impairment through employment in, or qualifying for employment in, an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. This includes an individual who qualifies for a suitable job, but who does not obtain or keep the job for reasons beyond his or her control.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(3) Contribution of the service-connected disability(ies) to the individual's overall significant vocational impairment.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, the service-connected disability(ies) must contribute in substantial part to the individual's overall significant vocational impairment. This means that the disability(ies) must have an identifiable, measurable, or observable causative effect on the overall significant vocational impairment, but need not be the sole or primary cause of the serious employment handicap.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101)

(ii) For determinations made on applications for vocational rehabilitation filed on or after March 30, 1995, but before October 9, 1996, the individual's service-connected disability(ies) need not contribute to the individual's overall significant vocational impairment.

(b) Factors for assessment during the initial evaluation, when determining whether a significant vocational impairment exists. The combination of all restrictions and their effects on the individual define the extent of the vocational impairment and its significance. When determining whether the individual has a significant vocational impairment, VA will develop and assess the following factors and their effects:

(1) Number of disabling conditions;

(2) Severity of disabling condition(s);

(3) Existence of neuropsychiatric condition(s);

(4) Adequacy of education or training for suitable employment;

(5) Number, length, and frequency of periods of unemployment or underemployment;

(6) A pattern of reliance on government support programs, such as welfare, service-connected disability compensation, nonservice-connected disability pension, worker's compensation, or Social Security disability;

(7) Extent and complexity of services and assistance the individual needs to achieve rehabilitation;

(8) Negative attitudes toward individuals with disabilities and other evidence of restrictions on suitable employment, such as labor market conditions; discrimination based on age, race, gender, disability or other factors; alcoholism or other substance abuse; and

(9) Other factors that relate to preparing for, obtaining, or keeping employment consistent with the individual's abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

[72 FR 14043, Mar. 26, 2007]

§ 21.53 Reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal.

(a) Requirement. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall determine the reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal in each case in which a veteran has either:

(1) An employment handicap, or

(2) A serious employment handicap.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a))

(b) Definition. The term vocational goal means a gainful employment status consistent with the veteran's abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(8))

(c) Expeditious determination. The determination of reasonable feasibility shall be made as expeditiously as possible when necessary information has been developed in the course of initial evaluation. If an extended evaluation is necessary as provided in § 21.57 a decision of feasibility shall be made by the end of the extended evaluation. Any reasonable doubt shall be resolved in favor of a finding of feasibility.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(d))

(d) Vocational goal is reasonably feasible. Achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible for a veteran with either an employment or serious employment handicap when the following conditions are met:

(1) Vocational goal(s) has (have) been identified;

(2) The veteran's physical and mental conditions permit training for the goal(s) to begin within a reasonable period; and

(3) The veteran:

(i) Possesses the necessary educational skills and background to pursue the vocational goal; or

(ii) Will be provided services by the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop such necessary educational skills as part of the program.

(e) Criteria for reasonable feasibility not met.

(1) When VA finds that the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section are not met, but VA has not determined that achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible, VA shall provide the rehabilitation services contained in § 21.35(i)(1)(i) of this part as appropriate;

(2) A finding that achievement of a vocational goal is infeasible without a period of extended evaluation requires compelling evidence which establishes infeasibility beyond any reasonable doubt.

(f) Independent living services. The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) shall determine the current reasonable feasibility of a program of independent living services in each case in which a vocational rehabilitation program is not found reasonably feasible. The concurrence of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Officer is required in any case in which the CP or VRC does not approve a program of independent living services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(g) Responsible staff. A CP or VRC in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division shall determine whether achievement of a vocational goal is:

(1) Reasonably feasible; or

(2) Not currently reasonably feasible under the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section for the purpose of determining present eligibility to receive a program of independent living services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(b), Pub. L. 99-576)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.57 Extended evaluation.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of an extended evaluation for a veteran with a serious employment handicap is to determine the current feasibility of the veteran achieving a vocational goal, when this decision reasonably cannot be made on the basis of information developed during the initial evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(c), Pub. L. 99-576)

(b) Scope of services. During the extended evaluation, a veteran may be provided:

(1) Diagnostic and evaluative services;

(2) Services to improve his or her ability to attain a vocational goal;

(3) Services to improve his or her ability to live and function independently in the community;

(4) An allowance as provided in § 21.260.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(c) Determination.

(1) The determination of the reasonable feasibility of a veteran achieving a vocational goal will be made at the earliest time possible during an extended evaluation, but not later than the end of the period of evaluation, or an extension of that period. Any reasonable doubt as to feasibility will be resolved in the veteran's favor;

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(d))

(2) When it is reasonably feasible for the veteran to achieve a vocational goal, an individualized written rehabilitation plan (IWRP) will be developed as indicated in § 21.84 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(b))

(d) Responsibility for determining the need for a period of extended evaluation. A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division shall determine whether a period of extended evaluation is needed.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.58 Redetermination of employment handicap and serious employment handicap.

(a) Prior to induction into a program. A determination as to employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services will not be changed except for:

(1) Unmistakable error in fact or law; or

(2) New and material evidence which justifies a change.

(b) After induction into a program.

(1) The Department of Veterans Affairs will not redetermine a finding of employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services subsequent to the veteran's induction into a program because of a reduction in his or her disability rating, including a reduction to 0 percent:

(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs may consider whether a finding of employment handicap should be changed to serious employment handicap when there is an increase in the degree of service-connected disability, or other significant change in the veteran's situation;

(3) A redetermination of employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services will be made when there is a clear and unmistakable error of fact or law.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3106)

(c) Following rehabilitation or discontinuance. A veteran's eligibility and entitlement to assistance must be redetermined in any case in which:

(1) The veteran is determined to be rehabilitated to the point of employability under the provisions of § 21.190;

(2) The veteran is determined to meet the requirements for rehabilitation under the provisions of § 21.196; or

(3) The veteran's program is discontinued under the provisions of § 21.198, except as described in § 21.198(c)(3).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3111)

Vocational Rehabilitation Panel
§ 21.60 Vocational Rehabilitation Panel.

(a) Establishment of the Panel. A Vocational Rehabilitation Panel will be established at each field facility by the facility head. The purpose of the Panel is to provide technical assistance in the planning of rehabilitation programs for seriously disabled veterans and dependents. This purpose will be most effectively carried out through use of the services of a wide range of professionals to bring the resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the community to bear on problems presented in the individual case.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(b) Composition of the Panel. The Panel will include, but not be limited to the following:

(1) A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in the VR&E (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) Division as the chairperson;

(2) A vocational rehabilitation specialist in VR&E;

(3) A medical consultant from a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center;

(4) A member of the Social Services staff from a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and

(5) Other specialists from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a), 3115(a))

(c) Appointment to the Panel.

(1) The VR&E (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) Officer may not serve as either chairperson or member of the Panel.

(2) The VR&E Officer will arrange for the participation of nonmedical professional staff in the Panel's meetings.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a)(2))

(d) Scope of Panel review. The Panel will review each case which has been referred to it in relation to:

(1) Specific reason for the referral; and

(2) Other problem areas which the Panel identifies in the course of its consideration of the case.

(e) Referral. A case may be referred to the Panel by:

(1) A CP or VRC in VR&E;

(2) A vocational rehabilitation specialist in VR&E; or

(3) The VR&E officer.

(f) Report. The Panel must prepare a report on its findings and recommendations in each case. The Panel's recommendations may include specific actions which are warranted on the basis of current information, or may identify additional information needed to provide a sounder basis for planning the veteran's program of rehabilitation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.62 Duties of the Vocational Rehabilitation Panel.

(a) Consultation requested. The panel shall provide technical and consultative services when requested by professional staff of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Division to:

(1) Assist staff members in planning and carrying out a rehabilitation plan for seriously disabled veterans and their dependents; and

(2) Consider other cases of individuals eligible for, or being provided assistance under chapter 31 and other programs of education and training administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(b) Independent living services. The Panel has a key responsibility to assure that seriously disabled service-connected veterans who need independent living services to increase their independence in daily living are provided necessary services. In carrying out this responsibility the Panel shall review all cases which come before it to assure that the proposed program of vocational rehabilitation or independent living services includes those services necessary to enable the veteran to achieve the goals of the program.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(c) Dependents. The specific duties of the Panel with respect to dependents are more fully described §§ 21.3300, 21.3301, 21.3304, 21.4105, and 21.4276 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3536, 3540, 3541, 3542, 3543)

[54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989]

Duration of Rehabilitation Programs
§ 21.70 Vocational rehabilitation.

(a) General. The goal of a vocational rehabilitation program is to:

(1) Evaluate and improve the veteran's ability to achieve a vocational goal;

(2) Provide services needed to qualify for suitable employment;

(3) Enable the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;

(4) Enable the veteran to become employed in a suitable occupation and to maintain suitable employment.

(b) Vocational rehabilitation program. This term includes:

(1) The services that are needed for the accomplishment of the purposes of Chapter 31, including such counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, independent living, economic, educational, vocational, and employment services as are determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be needed;

(i) In the case of a veteran for whom the achievement of a vocational goal has not been found to be currently infeasible such needed services include:

(A) Determining whether a vocational goal is reasonably feasible;

(B) Improving the veteran's potential to participate in a program of services designed to achieve a vocational goal;

(C) Enabling the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;

(ii) In the case of a veteran for whom achievement of a vocational goal is feasible, such needed services include assisting the veteran to become, to the maximum extent feasible, employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment;

(2) The term also includes the monetary assistance authorized by Chapter 31 for a veteran receiving any of the services described in this paragraph.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9); Pub. L. 99-576)

(c) Duration of vocational rehabilitation. Decisions on the duration of periods for attaining the goals named in paragraph (a) of this section are made in the course of development and approval of the Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan. However, the duration of a vocational rehabilitation program may not exceed 48 months (or its equivalent when pursued on a part-time basis), except as provided in § 21.78.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695, 3105)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]

§ 21.72 Rehabilitation to the point of employability.

(a) General. Rehabilitation to the point of employability may include the services needed to:

(1) Evaluate and improve the veteran's ability to undertake training;

(2) Train the veteran to the level generally recognized as necessary for entry into employment in a suitable occupational objective. Where a particular degree, diploma, or certificate is generally necessary for entry into the occupation, e.g., an MSW for social work, the veteran shall be trained to that level.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(5), 3104)

(b) When duration of training may exceed general requirements -

(1) Employment handicap. If the amount of training necessary to qualify for employment in a particular occupation in a geographical area where a veteran lives or will seek employment exceeds the amount generally needed for employment in that occupation, the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide, or arrange for the necessary additional training.

(2) Serious employment handicap. The Department of Veterans Affairs will assist a veteran with a serious employment handicap to train to a higher level than is usually required to qualify in a particular occupation, when one of the following conditions exist:

(i) The veteran is preparing for a type of work in which he or she will be at a definite disadvantage in competing with nondisabled persons for jobs or business, and the additional training will help to offset the competitive disadvantage;

(ii) The number of feasible occupations are restricted, and additional training will enhance the veteran's employability in one of those occupations;

(iii) The number of employment opportunities within feasible occupations are restricted.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c))

(c) Responsibility for estimating duration of training.

(1) The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) shall estimate the duration of training and the estimate shall be incorporated in the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan). When the period of training is estimated to exceed 48 months, the concurrence of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer is required, prior to approving the IWRP, under conditions listed in § 21.78.

(2) The estimated duration of the period of training required to complete an original or amended IWRP may be extended when necessary. Authorization of an extension is the responsibility of the CP or VRC, except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. Any extension which will result in use of more than 48 months of entitlement must meet conditions described in § 21.78.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695(b))

(d) Extension of training by the vocational rehabilitation specialist.

(1) The VRS (Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist) may authorize an extension of up to six months of the period of vocational rehabilitation training authorized by the IWRP when:

(i) The veteran is in rehabilitation to the point of employability status under § 21.190;

(ii) The veteran has completed more than half of the prescribed training;

(iii) The veteran is making satisfactory progress;

(iv) The extension is necessary to complete training;

(v) Training can be completed within six months; and

(vi) The extension will not result in use of more than 48 months of entitlement under Chapter 31 alone or in combination with other programs identified in § 21.4020.

(2) If the conditions listed in paragraph (d)(1) of this section are not met, and an extension is needed to complete the program, the case will be referred to the CP or VRC for a determination.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.73 Duration of employment assistance programs.

(a) Duration. Employment assistance may be provided to the veteran for the period necessary to enable the veteran to secure employment in a suitable occupation, and to adjust in the employment. This period shall not exceed 18 months. A veteran may be provided such assistance if he or she is eligible for employment assistance under the provisions of § 21.47 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

(b) Employment assistance not charged against Chapter 31 entitlement. The period of employment assistance provided in paragraph (a) of this section is not charged against the months of entitlement under Chapter 31 (see § 21.70).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 21216, May 17, 1989]

§ 21.74 Extended evaluation.

(a) General. An extended evaluation may be authorized for the period necessary to determine whether the attainment of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible for the veteran. The services which may be provided during the period of extended evaluation are listed in § 21.57(b) of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a), 3106(a))

(b) Duration. An extended evaluation may not be for less than two weeks (full or part-time equivalent) nor for more than twelve months, unless a longer period is necessary to determine whether achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a))

(c) Approval of the period of an extended evaluation.

(1) The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may approve an initial period of up to 12 months for an extended evaluation.

(2) An additional period of extended evaluation of up to 6 months may be approved by the CP or VRC, if there is reasonable certainty that the feasibility of achieving a vocational goal can be determined during the additional period. The CP or VRC will obtain the concurrence of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Officer before approving the extension of a period of extended evaluation.

(3) An extension beyond a total period of 18 months for additional periods of up to 6 months each may only be approved by the CP or VRC if there is a substantial certainty that a determination of current feasibility may be made within this extended period. The concurrence of the VR&E Officer is also required for this extension.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a), 3106(b); Pub. L. 99-576)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.76 Independent living.

(a) General. A program of independent living services may be authorized to enable the veteran to:

(1) Reach the goals of the program, and

(2) Maintain the newly achieved level of independence in daily living.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(4), 3104(b))

(b) Period of independent living services. The duration of an independent living services program may not exceed 24 months unless the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) finds that an additional period of up to 6 months would enable the veteran to substantially increase his or her level of independence in daily living. The concurrence of the Vocational Counseling and Rehabilitation Officer in this finding is required.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(d))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.78 Approving more than 48 months of rehabilitation.

(a) General. Neither the basic period of entitlement which may be authorized for a program of rehabilitation under Chapter 31 alone, nor a combination of entitlement of Chapter 31 and other programs listed in § 21.4020 shall exceed 48 months except as indicated in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695)

(b) Employment handicap. A rehabilitation program for a veteran with an employment handicap may only be extended beyond 48 months when:

(1) The veteran previously completed training for a suitable occupation but the veteran's service-connected disability has worsened to the point that he or she is unable to perform the duties of the occupation for which training had been provided, and a period of training in the same or a different field is required. An extension beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 alone shall be authorized for this purpose.

(2) The occupation in which the veteran previously completed training is found to be unsuitable because of the veteran's abilities and employment handicap. An extension beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 alone shall be approved for this purpose.

(3) The veteran previously used education benefit entitlement under other programs administered by VA, and the additional period of assistance to be provided under Chapter 31 which the veteran needs to become employable will result in more than 48 months being used under all VA education programs, under these conditions the number of months necessary to complete the program may be authorized under Chapter 31, provided that the length of the extension will not result in authorization of more than 48 months under Chapter 31 alone.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695)

(4) A veteran in an approved Chapter 31 program has elected payment of benefits at the Chapter 30 educational assistance rate. The 48 month limitation may be exceeded only:

(i) To the extent that the entitlement in excess of 48 months does not exceed the entitlement previously used by the veteran in a course at the secondary school level under § 21.4235 before December 31, 1989, or

(ii) If the veteran is in a course on a term, quarter, or semester basis which began before the 36 month limitation on Chapter 30 entitlement was reached, and completion of the course will be possible by permitting the veteran to complete the training under Chapter 31.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3013, 3695; Pub. L. 98-525)

(5) The assistance to be provided in excess of 48 months consists only of a period of employment assistance (see § 21.73).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

(c) Serious employment handicap. The duration of a rehabilitation program for a veteran with a serious employment handicap may be extended beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 for the number of months necessary to complete a rehabilitation program under the following conditions:

(1) To enable the veteran to complete a period of rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(2) To provide an extended evaluation in cases in which the total period needed for an extended evaluation and for rehabilitation to the point of employability would exceed 48 months;

(3) To provide a program of independent living services, including cases in which achievement of a vocational goal becomes feasible during or following a program of independent living services;

(4) Following rehabilitation to the point of employability:

(i) The veteran has been unable to secure employment in the occupation for which training has been provided despite intensive efforts on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran, and a period of retraining or additional training is needed;

(ii) The skills which the veteran developed in training for an occupation in which he or she was employed are no longer adequate to maintain employment in that field and a period of retraining is needed;

(iii) The veteran's service-connected disability has worsened to the point that he or she is unable to perform the duties of the occupation for which the veteran has been trained, and a period of training in the same or different field is required;

(iv) The occupation in which the veteran previously completed training is found to be unsuitable due to the veteran's abilities and employment handicap.

(5) The assistance to be provided in excess of 48 months consists, only of a period of employment assistance. (see § 21.73).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c)(2))

(d) Approval of extension beyond 48 months. All extensions of a rehabilitation program beyond 48 months of total entitlement under all Department of Veterans Affairs programs requires the approval of the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) and concurrence of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer. Concurrence of the VR&E officer is not required for an extension due to provision of employment assistance (see § 21.21).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.79 Determining entitlement usage under Chapter 31.

(a) General. The determination of entitlement usage for chapter 31 participants is made under the provisions of this section except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section. Charges for entitlement usage shall be based upon the principle that a veteran who pursues a rehabilitation program for 1 day should be charged 1 day of entitlement. The determination of entitlement is based upon the rate at which the veteran pursues his or her rehabilitation program. The rate of pursuit is determined under the provisions of § 21.310 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d))

(b) No charge against chapter 31 entitlement. No charge will be made against chapter 31 entitlement under any of the following circumstances:

(1) The veteran is receiving employment services under an Individualized Employment Assistance Plan (IEAP);

(2) The veteran is receiving an employment adjustment allowance; or

(3) The veteran is on leave from his or her program, but leave is not authorized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3117)

(c) Periods during which entitlement may be charged. Charges for usage of chapter 31 entitlement may only be made for program participants in one of the following case statuses:

(1) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(2) Extended evaluation; or

(3) Independent living.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106, 3109)

(d) Method of charging entitlement under chapter 31. The Department of Veterans Affairs will make a charge against entitlement:

(1) On the basis of total elapsed time (1 day of entitlement for each day of pursuit) if the veteran is being provided a rehabilitation program on a full-time basis;

(2) On the basis of a proportionate rate of elapsed time if the veteran is being provided a rehabilitation program on a three-quarter, one-half or less than one-half time basis. Entitlement is charged at a:

(i) Three-quarter time rate if pursuit is three-quarters or more, but less than full-time;

(ii) One-half time rate if pursuit is half-time or more, but less than three-quarter time;

(iii) One-quarter time rate if pursuit is less than half-time. Measurement of pursuit on a one-quarter time basis is limited to veterans in independent living or extended evaluation programs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3680(g))

(e) Computing entitlement.

(1) The computation of entitlement is based upon the rate of program pursuit, as determined under § 21.310 of this part, over the elapsed time during which training and rehabilitation services were furnished;

(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs will compute elapsed time from the commencing date of the rehabilitation program as determined under § 21.322 of this part to the date of termination as determined under § 21.324 of this part. This includes the period during which veterans not receiving subsistence allowance because of a statutory bar; e.g., certain incarcerated veterans or servicepersons in a military hospital, nevertheless, received other chapter 31 services and assistance. Elapsed time includes the total period from the commencing date until the termination date, except for any period of unauthorized leave;

(3) If the veteran's rate of pursuit changes after the commencing date of the rehabilitation program, the Department of Veterans Affairs will:

(i) Separate the period of rehabilitation program services into the actual periods of time during which the veteran's rate of pursuit was different; and

(ii) Compute entitlement based on the rate of pursuit for each separate elapsed time period.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

(f) Special situtations.

(1) When a chapter 31 participant elects benefits of the kind provided under chapter 30 or chapter 34 as a part of his or her rehabilitation program under chapter 31, the veteran's entitlement usage will be determined by using the entitlement provisions of those programs. Entitlement charges shall be in accordance with § 21.7076 for chapter 30 and § 21.1045 under chapter 34. The entitlement usage computed under these provisions is deducted from the veteran's chapter 31 entitlement. No entitlement charges are made against either chapter 30 or chapter 34.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

(2) When a chapter 31 participant elects to receive payment of the Post-9/11 subsistence allowance under § 21.260(c) in lieu of a subsistence allowance under § 21.260(b), the entitlement usage is deducted from the veteran's chapter 31 entitlement. No entitlement charges are made against chapter 33.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(b))

(3) When a veteran is pursuing on-job training or work experience in a Federal agency on a nonpay or nominal pay basis, the amount of entitlement used is determined in the following manner:

(i) Entitlement used in on-job training in a Federal agency on a nonpay or nominal pay basis is determined in the same manner as other training.

(ii) Entitlement used in pursuing work experience will be computed in the same manner as for veterans in on-job training except that work experience may be pursued on a less than full-time basis. If the veteran is receiving work experience on a less than full-time basis, entitlement charges are based upon a proportionate amount of the workweek. For example, if the workweek is 40 hours, three-quarter time is at least 30 hours, but less than 40 hours, and half-time is at least 20 hours but less than 30 hours.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(c))

(4) Entitlement is charged on a full-time basis for a veteran found to have a reduced work tolerance.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3680(g))

(g) Overpayment. The Department of Veterans Affairs will make a charge against entitlement for an overpayment of subsistence allowance under the conditions described in § 21.1045(h) of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3680(g))

[54 FR 47770, Nov. 17, 1989, as amended at 76 FR 45703, Aug. 1, 2011]

Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan
§ 21.80 Requirement for a rehabilitation plan.

(a) General. An IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) will be developed for each veteran eligible for rehabilitation services under Chapter 31. The plan is intended to assist in:

(1) Providing a structure which allows VR&E staff to translate the findings made in the course of the initial evaluation into specific rehabilitation goals and objectives;

(2) Monitoring the veteran's progress in achieving the rehabilitation goals established in the plan;

(3) Assuring the timeliness of assistance by Department of Veterans Affairs staff in providing services specified in the plan; and

(4) Evaluating the effectiveness of the planning and delivery of rehabilitation services by VR&E staff.

(b) When a plan is prepared. A plan will be prepared in each case in which a veteran will pursue:

(1) A vocational rehabilitation program, as that term is defined in § 21.35(i);

(2) An extended evaluation program;

(3) An independent living services program; or

(4) An employment program.

(c) Plan - a generic term. The term plan refers to the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) § 21.84, IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan) § 21.86, IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) § 21.88, and IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) § 21.90.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(d) Plan not required. A plan will not be prepared for a veteran who is not eligible for any assistance under Chapter 31. Department of Veterans Affairs staff, with the veteran's assistance and cooperation, will utilize information developed in the course of an initial evaluation to assist the veteran to develop alternatives for education and training, independence in daily living, or employment assistance. This assistance should help the veteran in achieving attainable vocational, independent living and employment goals utilizing benefits and services for which the veteran may be eligible under other Department of Veterans Affairs or non-Department of Veterans Affairs programs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 523, 7722(c))

§ 21.82 Completing the plan under Chapter 31.

(a) Serious employment handicap. Each plan for a veteran with a serious employment handicap shall provide for completion of the program provided by the plan under Chapter 31. The provisions of § 21.70 and § 21.78(c) are designed to enable a veteran with a serious employment handicap to pursue and complete a rehabilitation plan under Department of Veterans Affairs auspices. These provisions shall be used as necessary to accomplish the goals of the plan.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c), 3107)

(b) Employment handicap. A plan for a veteran with an employment handicap that is not a serious employment handicap shall require that the program be completed within 48 months, if the veteran is not eligible for an extension as provided in § 21.78. When the program provided by the plan cannot be completed under Chapter 31 because of limitations imposed by the veteran's termination date or months of remaining entitlement, realistic, comprehensive and detailed arrangements must be made which will enable the veteran to successfully complete training under other auspices. If an arrangement cannot be made which meets these requirements, the long-range vocational goal of the veteran must be reevaluated, and another vocational goal selected which can be completed using the veteran's remaining Chapter 31 resources.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(c) Employment assistance when training is not completed under Chapter 31. A plan for employment assistance may be implemented even though the veteran's training has not been or will not be completed under Chapter 31.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117(a))

§ 21.84 Individualized written rehabilitation plan.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) are to:

(1) Identify goals and objectives to be achieved by the veteran during the period of rehabilitation services that will lead to the point of employability;

(2) Plan for placement of the veteran in the occupational field for which training and other services will be provided; and

(3) Specify the key services needed by the veteran to achieve the goals and objectives of the plan.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Elements of the plan. A plan will include the following:

(1) A statement of long-range rehabilitation goals. Each statement of long-range goals shall include at a minimum:

(i) One vocational goal for a veteran with an employment handicap; or

(ii) One vocational goal and, if applicable, one independent living goal for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.

(2) Intermediate rehabilitation objectives; Intermediate objectives are statements of achievement expected of the veteran to attain the long-range goal. The development of appropriate intermediate objectives is the cornerstone of an effective plan. Intermediate objectives should have the following characteristics:

(i) The activity specified relates to the achievement of the goal;

(ii) The activity specified is definable in terms of observable behavior (e.g., pursuing an A.A. degree);

(iii) The activity has a projected completion date;

(iv) The outcome desired upon completion is measurable (e.g., receiving an A.A. degree).

(3) The specific services to be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs as stated. Counseling shall be included in all plans for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.

(4) The projected starting and completion dates of the planned services and the duration of each service;

(5) Objective criteria and an evaluation procedure and schedule for determining whether the objectives and goals are being achieved as set forth; and

(6) The name, location, and phone number of the VBA case manager.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

§ 21.86 Individualized extended evaluation plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of an IEEP is to identify the services needed for the VA to determine the veteran's current ability to achieve a vocational goal when this cannot reasonably be determined during the initial evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a), 3107(a))

(b) Elements of the plan. An IEEP shall include the same elements as an IWRP except that:

(1) The long range goal shall be to determine achievement of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible;

(2) The intermediate objectives relate to problems of questions which must be resolved for the VA to determine the current reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a), 3107(a))

[53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]

§ 21.88 Individualized employment assistance plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of the IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) is to assure that a comprehensive, thoughtful approach is taken, enabling eligible veterans to secure suitable employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Requirement for a plan. An IEAP will be prepared:

(1) As part of an IWRP; or

(2) When the veteran is eligible for employment assistance under provisions of § 21.47.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(c) Elements of the plan. The IEAP shall follow the same structure as the IWRP. Each IEAP will include full utilization of community resources to enable the veteran to:

(1) Secure employment; and

(2) Maintain employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(d) Preparation of the IEAP. Preparation of the IEAP will be completed:

(1) No later than 60 days before the projected end of the period of rehabilitation services leading to the point of employability; or

(2) Following initial evaluation when employment services constitute the whole of the veteran's program under provisions of § 21.47.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

§ 21.90 Individualized independent living plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of the IILP is to identify the steps through which a veteran, whose disabilities are so severe that a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible, can become more independent in daily living within the family and community.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3109, 3120)

(b) Elements of the plan. The IILP shall follow the same structure as the IWRP. The plan will include:

(1) Services which may be provided under Chapter 31 to achieve independence in daily living;

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(2) Utilization of programs with a demonstrated capacity to provide independent living services for severely handicapped persons;

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(b), 3120(a))

(3) Services provided under other Department of Veterans Affairs and non-Department of Veterans Affairs programs needed to achieve the goals of the plan;

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(4) Arrangements for maintaining the improved level of independence following completion of the plan.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]

§ 21.92 Preparation of the plan.

(a) General. The plan will be jointly developed by Department of Veterans Affairs staff and the veteran.

(b) Approval of the plan. The terms and conditions of the plan must be approved and agreed to by the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC), the vocational rehabilitation specialist, and the veteran.

(c) Implementation of the plan. The vocational rehabilitation specialist or CP or VRC designated as case manager has the primary role in carrying out Department of Veterans Affairs responsibility for implementation of the plan.

(d) Responsible staff. The CP or VRC has the primary responsibility for the preparation of plans.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.94 Changing the plan.

(a) General. The veteran, the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or the vocational rehabilitation specialist may request a change in the plan at any time.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(b) Long-range goals. A change in the statement of a long-range goal may only be made following a reevaluation of the veteran's rehabilitation program by the CP or VRC. A change may be made when:

(1) Achievement of the current goal(s) is no longer reasonably feasible; or

(2) The veteran's circumstances have changed or new information has been developed which makes rehabilitation more likely if a different long-range goal is established; and

(3) The veteran fully participates and concurs in the change.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(c) Intermediate objectives or services. A change in intermediate objectives or services provided under the plan may be made by the case manager when such change is necessary to carry out the statement of long-range goals. The veteran must concur in the change.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(d) Minor changes. Minor changes in the plan (e.g., changing the date of a scheduled evaluation) by the case manager may be made without the participation and concurrence of the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(e) Changes in duration of the plan. Any change in the total duration of a veteran's rehabilitation plan is subject to provisions on duration of a rehabilitation program described in §§ 21.70-21.78.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.96 Review of the plan.

(a) General. The veteran's progress in reaching the goals of the plan will be reviewed and evaluated as scheduled in the plan by the case manager and the veteran.

(b) Comprehensive review required. The case manager and the veteran will review all of the terms of the plan and the veteran's progress at least every twelve months. On the basis of such review the veteran and the case manager will agree whether the plan should be:

(1) Retained in its current form;

(2) Amended; or

(3) Redeveloped.

Counseling
§ 21.100 Counseling.

(a) General. A veteran requesting or being furnished assistance under Chapter 31 shall be provided professional counseling services by Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Service and other staff as necessary to:

(1) Carry out an initial evaluation in each case in which assistance is requested;

(2) Develop a rehabilitation plan or plan for employment services in each case in which the veteran is found during the initial evaluation to be eligible and entitled to services;

(3) Assist veterans found ineligible for services under Chapter 31 to the extent provided in § 21.82; and

(4) Try to overcome problems which arise during the course of the veteran's rehabilitation program or program of employment services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101)

(b) Types of counseling services. VA will furnish comprehensive counseling services, including but not limited to

(1) Psychological;

(2) Vocational;

(3) Personal adjustment;

(4) Employment;

(5) Educational.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(2))

(c) Qualifications. Counseling services may only be furnished by VA or other personnel who meet requirements established under provisions of § 21.380 and other policies of the VA pertaining to the qualifications of staff providing assistance under Chapter 31.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118)

(d) Limitations.

(1) If a veteran resides within a State, counseling services necessary to carry out the initial evaluation and the development of a rehabilitation plan or a program of employment services will be furnished by Counseling Psychologists (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC) in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Division;

(2) If a veteran does not reside in a State the counseling services necessary to carry out an initial evaluation may be accomplished in the same manner as for a veteran residing in a State or through other arrangements when deemed appropriate by the VR&E Division. These alternative arrangements include, but are not limited to:

(i) Use of counseling centers or individual qualified professionals under contract to VA; and

(ii) Professional staff of other Federal agencies located in the area in which the veteran resides.

(3) Alternative arrangements to provide counseling are subject to the following requirements:

(i) All arrangements must be consistent with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section regarding utilization of professionally qualified persons to provide counseling services during the initial evaluation;

(ii) All determinations of eligibility, entitlement and the development of a rehabilitation plan will continue to be made by a CP or VRC in the VR&E Division.

(4) If a CP or VRC in the VR&E Division determines that the evidence of record is insufficient to carry out an initial evaluation in a case in which alternative arrangements were used, VA staff may authorize the veteran to travel to a VA facility to complete the evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(e) Definition. For the purposes of this section, the term State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(20))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 32071, Aug. 4, 1989; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26132, May 2, 2016]

Educational and Vocational Training Services
§ 21.120 Educational and vocational training services.

(a) Purposes. The purposes of providing educational and vocational training services are to enable a veteran eligible for, and entitled to, services and assistance under Chapter 31 to:

(1) Meet the requirements for employment in the occupational objective established in the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan);

(2) Provide incidental training which is necessary to achieve the employment objective in the IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan);

(3) Provide incidental training needed to achieve the goals of an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan); or

(4) Provide training services necessary to implement an IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan).

(b) Selection of courses. VA will generally select courses of study and training, completion of which usually results in a diploma, certificate, degree, qualification for licensure, or employment. If such courses are not available in the area in which the veteran resides, or if they are available but not accessible to the veteran, other arrangements may be made. Such arrangements may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Relocation of the veteran to another area in which necessary services are available, or

(2) Use of an individual instructor to provide necessary training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Charges for education and training services. The cost of education and training services will be one of the factors considered in selecting a facility when:

(1) There is more than one facility in the area in which the veteran resides which:

(i) Meets requirements for approval under §§ 21.292 through 21.298;

(ii) Can provide the education and training services, and other supportive services specified in the veteran's plan; and

(iii) Is within reasonable commuting distance; or

(2) The veteran wishes to train at a suitable facility in another area, even though training can be provided at a suitable facility in the area in which the veteran resides.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

§ 21.122 School course.

(a) Explanation of terms - schools, educational institution, and institution. These terms mean any public or private school, secondary school, vocational school, correspondence school, business school, junior college, teacher's college, college, normal school, professional school, university, scientific or technical institution, or other institution funishing education for adults.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 3104)

(b) Course. A course generally consists of a number of areas of subject matter which are organized into learning units for the purpose of attaining a specific educational or vocational objective. Organized instruction in the units comprising the course is offered within a given period of time and credit toward graduation or certification is generally given.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) School course. A school course is a course as defined in paragraph (b) of this section offered by a facility identified in paragraph (a) of this section.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115)

§ 21.123 On-job course.

(a) Training establishment. This term means any establishment providing apprentice or other training on the job, including those under the supervision of a college or university or any State department of education, or any state apprenticeship agency, or any State board of vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established in accordance with 29 U.S.C. Chapter 4C, or any agency of the Federal government authorized to supervise such training.

(b) On-job course, An on-job course is pursued toward a specified vocational objective, provided by a training establishment. The trainee learns, in the course of work performed under supervision, primarily by receiving formal instruction, observing practical demonstration of work tasks, and assisting in those tasks. Productive work should gradually increase with greater independence from formal instruction as the course progresses.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

§ 21.124 Combination course.

(a) General. A combination course is a course which combines training on the job with training in school. For the purpose of VA vocational rehabilitation, a course will be considered to be a combination course, if the student spends full-time on the job and one or more times a week also attends school on a part-tme basis. A veteran may pursue the components of a combination course in the following manner:

(1) Concurrent school and on-job training;

(2) Primarily on-job with some related instruction in school;

(3) In a school as a preparatory course to entering on-job training; or

(4) First training on-job followed by the school portion.

(b) Cooperative course. A cooperative course is a special type of combination course which usually:

(1) Has an objective which the student attains primarily through school instruction with the on-job portion being supplemental to the school course;

(2) Is at the college or junior college level although some cooperative courses are offered at post-secondary schools which do not offer a college degree or at secondary schools;

(3) Requires the student to devote at least one-half of the total training period to the school portion of the course; and

(4) Includes relatively long periods each of training on the job and in school such as a full term in school followed by a full term on the job.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

§ 21.126 Farm cooperative course.

(a) Definition. An approvable farm cooperative course is a full-time course designated to restore employability by training a veteran to:

(1) Operate a farm which he or she owns or leases; or

(2) Manage a farm as the employee of another.

(b) Reaching the goal of a farm cooperative course. The farm cooperative course must enable a veteran to become proficient in the type of farming for which he or she is being provided rehabilitation services. The areas in which proficiency is to be established include:

(1) Planning;

(2) Producing;

(3) Marketing;

(4) Maintaining farm equipment;

(5) Conserving farm resources;

(6) Financing the farm;

(7) Managing the farm; and

(8) Keeping farm and home accounts.

(c) Instruction, including organized group instruction. Instruction in a farm cooperative course may be by a mixture of organized group (classroom) instruction and individual instruction or by individual instruction alone. A course which includes organized group instruction must meet the following criteria to be considered as full-time:

(1) The number of clock hours of instruction which should be provided yearly shall meet the requirements of § 21.310(a)(4) and § 21.4264 pertaining to full-time pursuit of a farm cooperative course:

(2) The individual instructor portion of a farm cooperative course shall include at least 100 hours of individual instruction per year.

(d) Instruction given solely by an individual instructor.

(1) Instruction in a farm cooperative course may be given solely by an individual instructor if organized group instruction is:

(i) Not available within reasonable commuting distance of the veteran's farm; or

(ii) The major portion of the organized group instruction that is available does not have a direct relation to the veteran's farming operation and pertinent VA records are fully and clearly documented accordingly.

(2) To be considered full-time pursuit the individual instruction provided in these course must:

(i) Consist of at least 200 hours of instruction per year;

(ii) Be given by a fully qualified individual instructor by contract between VA and the instructor or an educational agency which employs the instructor.

(e) Plan requirements for farm operator or farm manager.

(1) The plan for training developed by the case manager and the veteran in collaboration with the instructor must include:

(i) A complete written survey including but not limited to the areas identified in § 21.298 (a) and (b);

(ii) An overall, long-term plan based upon the survey of the operation of the farm;

(iii) An annual plan identifying the part of the overall plan to be implemented which will be prepared before the beginning of each crop year; and

(iv) A detailed individual training program showing the kind and amount of instruction, classroom and individual, or individual; and

(2) The farm must meet the requirements for selecting a farm found in § 21.298.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]

§ 21.128 Independent study course.

A veteran may pursue a course by independent study under the following conditions:

(a) College level. The course is offered by a college or university.

(b) College degree. The course leads to or is fully creditable towards a standard college degree.

(c) Course content. The course consists of a prescribed program of study with provision for interaction between the student and regularly employed faculty of the university or college by mail, telephone, personally, or class attendance.

(d) School responsibility. The university or college:

(1) Evaluates the course in semester or quarter hours or the equivalent; and

(2) Prescribes a period for completion.

§ 21.129 Home study course.

(a) Definition. A home study course is a course conducted by mail, consisting of a series of written lesson assignments furnished by a school to the student for study and preparation of written answers, solutions to problems, and work projects which are corrected and graded by the school and returned to the trainee.

(b) Limitations on inclusion of home study courses, in rehabilitation plans. A veteran and his or her case manager may include a home study course in a rehabilitation plan only when it supplements the major part of the program. The purpose of the home study course is to provide the veteran with theory or technical information directly related to the practice of the occupation for which the veteran is training.

§ 21.130 Educational and vocational courses outside the United States.

(a) General. VA may provide educational and vocational courses outside a State if the case manager determines that such training is in the best interest of the veteran and the Federal Government.

(b) Specific conditions.

(1) The training must be necessary to enable the veteran to qualify for, obtain, and retain suitable employment in the occupational objective; and

(2) Either:

(i) The training is not available in the United States; or

(ii) The training is available in the United States, but personal hardship would result from requiring that the veteran pursue training in this country; and

(3) All necessary supportive and follow-up services, including medical care and treatment and employment services, reasonably can be provided by or through VA, considering such factors as the availability, accessibility and cost of such services.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 55 FR 27822, July 6, 1990]

§ 21.132 Repetition of the course.

(a) Repeating all or part of the course. A veteran, having completed a course under Chapter 31 according to the standards and practices of the institution, ordinarily will not pursue it again at the expense of VA. However, VA may approve repetition of all, or any part of the course when VA determines that the repetition is necessary to accomplish the veteran's vocational rehabilitation. A veteran repeating a course under Chapter 31 is subject to the same requirements for satisfactory pursuit and completion of the course as are other veterans taking the course unless a longer period is needed because of the veteran's reduced work tolerance.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(b) Review course. A veteran who has completed a course of training under Chapter 31 may pursue a review course, such as a bar review course, if it is specifically organized and conducted as a review course.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) Auditing a subject. Auditing, as defined in § 21.4200(i), may not be authorized as a part of any rehabilitation plan. However, if an individual repeats a course under the conditions described in paragraph (a) of this section, the course shall not be considered an audited course, if pursued in the same manner as a subject offered for credit. The individual must meet the same requirements as other students, and not be a mere listener.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3680(a))

§ 21.134 Limitation on flight training.

Flight Training approved under chapter 31 may only be authorized in degree curriculums in the field of aviation that include required flight training. This type of training is otherwise subject to the same limitations as are applicable to flight training under Chapter 30.

[57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]

Special Rehabilitation Services
§ 21.140 Evaluation and improvement of rehabilitation potential.

(a) General. The purposes of these services are to:

(1) Evaluate if the veteran:

(i) Has an employment handicap;

(ii) Has a serious employment handicap; and

(iii) Is reasonably feasible for a vocational goal or an independent living goal.

(2) Provide a basis for planning:

(i) A program of services and assistance to improve the veteran's potential for vocational rehabilitation or independent living;

(ii) A suitable vocational rehabilitation program; or

(iii) A suitable independent living program.

(3) Reevaluate the vocational rehabilitation or independent living potential of a veteran participating in a rehabilitation program under Chapter 31, as necessary.

(4) Enable a veteran to achieve:

(i) A vocational goal; or

(ii) An independent living goal.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(b) Periods during which evaluation and improvement services may be provided. Evaluation and improvement services may be provided concurrently, whenever necessary, with a period of rehabilitation services, including:

(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;

(2) Extended evaluation:

(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability:

(4) A program of independent living services: or

(5) Employment services, incidental to obtaining or maintaining employment.

(c) Duration of full-time assistance. If evaluation and improvement services are furnished on a full-time basis as a preliminary part of the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability, or as the vocational rehabilitation program, the duration of such assistance may not exceed 12 months, except as provided in § 21.74(c).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105)

(d) Scope of services. Evaluation and improvement services include:

(1) Diagnostic services;

(2) Personal and work adjustment training;

(3) Medical care and treatment;

(4) Independent living services;

(5) Language training, speech and voice correction, training in ambulation, and one-hand typewriting;

(6) Orientation, adjustment, mobility and related services; and

(7) Other appropriate services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1), (6), (9), (10), (15))

§ 21.142 Adult basic education.

(a) Definition. The term adult basic education means an instructional program for the undereducated adult planned around those basic and specific skills most needed to help him or her to function adequately in society.

(b) Purposes. The purposes of providing adult basic education are to:

(1) Upgrade a veteran's basic educational skills;

(2) Provide refresher training; or

(3) Remedy deficiencies which prevent the veteran from undertaking a course of education or vocational training.

(c) Periods during which basic adult education may be provided. Basic adult education may be authorized, as necessary, during;

(1) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(2) Extended evaluation; and

(3) Independent living services.

§ 21.144 Vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility.

(a) General. A vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility may be an institutional, on-job, or combination course which has been modified to facilitate successful pursuit by a person with a disability that would otherwise prevent or impair the person's participation in the course.

(b) Authorization. A vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility may be authorized when the training offered is a sound method of restoring a veteran's employability.

§ 21.146 Independent instructor course.

(a) Definition. An independent instructor course is a full-time course of vocational training which the veteran pursues with an individual instructor, who, independently of a training institution or on-job training establishment, furnishes and conducts a vocational course at a suitable place of training.

(b) Limitations on including an independent instructor course in a rehabilitation plan. A veteran and his or her case manager may include an independent instructor course in a rehabilitation plan, other than one involving a farm cooperative program, only when either or both of the following conditions exist:

(1) Training is not available through an established school, on-job training establishment, rehabilitation facility or sheltered workshop within a reasonable commuting distance from the veteran's home; or

(2) The veteran's condition or other circumstances do not permit the veteran to attend an otherwise suitable facility within commuting distance. See § 21.126.

(c) Training in the home. Training in the home is a specialized type of independent instructor course which the veteran pursues in his or her home if:

(1) He or she is unable to pursue training at an otherwise suitable facility because of the effects of his or her disability;

(2) Based on proper medical opinion, the veteran is able to pursue the prescribed training; and

(3) The veteran's home provides a favorable educational environment with adequate work and study space.

(d) Planning an individual instructor course. The case manager, the veteran, and the instructor should jointly plan the training program for a veteran for whom an independent instructor course is prescribed.

(e) Assuring employment. Since the customary channels leading to employment may not be readily available to a veteran requiring an individual instructor course, the IEAP (Individual Employment Assistance Plan) shall indicate thorough consideration of plans and prospects for seeking and obtaining employment, including self-employment, upon completion of training.

(f) Rate of pursuit. A veteran in an independent instructor program shall pursue training at a rate comparable to the rate at which similar training is pursued on an institutional basis, unless the veteran's work tolerance is reduced by the effects of his or her disability.

§ 21.148 Tutorial assistance.

(a) General. A veteran may be provided individualized tutorial assistance, if VA determines that special assistance beyond that ordinarily given by the facility to students pursuing the same or a similar subject is needed to correct a deficiency in a subject.

(b) Authorization of tutorial assistance. Tutorial assistance may be provided during any period of rehabilitation services authorized by VA.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) Use of relatives precluded. Tutorial assistance at VA expense may not be provided by a relative of the veteran. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of a relative as an attendant.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3492)

(d) Payment at the Chapter 30 rate. If a veteran has elected payment at the educational assistance rate payable under Chapter 30, he or she may not be provided individualized tutorial assistance under provision of Chapter 31. (See § 21.334.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]

§ 21.150 Reader service.

(a) Limitations on vision. A veteran considered to have a visual impairment necessitating reader service includes a veteran:

(1) Whose best corrected vision is 20/200 in both eyes;

(2) Whose central vision is greater than 20/200 but whose field of vision is limited to such an extent that the widest diameter of a visual field subtends to an angle no greater than 20 degrees; or

(3) With impaired vision, whose condition or prognosis indicates that the residual sight will be adversely affected by the use of his or her eyes for reading.

(b) Periods during which reader service may be provided. reader service necessary to the development of a rehabilitation plan, or the successful pursuit of a rehabilitation program may be provided during:

(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;

(2) Extended evaluation;

(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(4) Independent living services; or

(5) Employment services, including an initial employment period of up to three months.

(c) Reader responsibility. The reader should be able to do more than read to the veteran. The reader should have an understanding of the subject matter based upon prior training or experience which allows him or her to:

(1) Read printed material with understanding; and

(2) Test the veteran's understanding of what has been read.

(d) Extent of service. The number of hours of service will be determined in each case by the amount of reading necessitated by the course and the efficacy of other equipment with which the veteran has been furnished to enable him or her to read printed material unassisted.

(e) Recording. VA will not normally pay for recording textbooks or other materials as a part of reader services, since excellent recording services are provided by volunteer organizations at no cost.

(f) Selecting a relative as a reader. Utilization of a relative of the veteran as a reader is subject to the limitations on use of a relative as an attendant under § 21.374.

§ 21.152 Interpreter service for the hearing impaired.

(a) General. The main purpose of interpreter service for the hearing impaired is to facilitate instructor-student communication. VA will provide interpreter service as necessary for the development and pursuit of a rehabilitation program. This service will be provided if:

(1) A VA physician determines that:

(i) The veteran is deaf or his or her hearing is severely impaired; and

(ii) All appropriate services and aids have been furnished to improve the veteran's residual hearing; or

(2) A VA physician determines that the veteran:

(i) Can benefit from language and speech training; and

(ii) Agrees to undertake language and speech training.

(b) Periods during which interpreter service may be provided. Interpreter service may be furnished during:

(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;

(2) Extended evaluation;

(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(4) Independent living services; or

(5) Employment services, including the first three months of employment.

(c) Selecting the interpreter. Only certified interpreters or persons meeting generally accepted standards for interpreters shall provide interpreter service. When an individual is not certified by a State or professional association, VA shall seek the assistance of a State certifying agency or a professional association in ascertaining whether the individual is qualified to serve as an interpreter.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(14))

(d) Relatives. Interpreter service at VA expense may not be provided by a relative of the veteran. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of relatives as attendants.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3492)

§ 21.154 Special transportation assistance.

(a) General. A veteran, who because of the effects of disability has transportation expenses in addition to those incurred by persons not so disabled, shall be provided a transportation allowance to defray such additional expenses. The assistance provided in this section is in addition to provisions for interregional and intraregional travel which may be authorized under provisions of §§ 21.370 through 21.376.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(13))

(b) Periods during which special transportation allowance may be provided. A special transportation allowance may be provided during:

(1) Extended evaluation;

(2) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(3) Independent living services; or

(4) Employment services, including the first three months of employment.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(14))

(c) Scope of transportation assistance.

(1) Transportation assistance includes mileage, parking fees, reasonable fee for a driver, transportation furnished by a rehabilitation facility or sheltered workshop, and other reasonable expenses which may be incurred in local travel;

(2) The veteran's monthly transportation allowance may not exceed the lesser of actual expenses incurred or one-half of the subsistence allowance of a single veteran in full-time institutional training, unless extraordinary arrangements, such as transportation by ambulance, are necessary to enable a veteran to pursue a rehabilitation program.

(d) Determining the need for a transportation allowance. The case manager will determine the need for a transportation allowance. The assistance of a medical consultant shall be utilized, as necessary, to determine the need for special transportation assistance and to develop transportation arrangements which do not unduly tax the veteran's ability to travel and pursue a rehabilitation program.

(e) Use of a relative precluded. A relative of the veteran may not be paid any part of a special transportation allowance. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of a relative as an attendant.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(13))

§ 21.155 Services to a veteran's family.

(a) General. VA shall provide services to a veteran's family which are necessary to the implementation of the veteran's rehabilitation plan. The term family includes the veteran's immediate family, legal guardian, or any individual in whose home the veteran certifies an intention to live.

(b) Scope of services to a veteran's family. The services which may be furnished to the family are generally limited to consultation, homecare training, counseling, and mental health services of brief duration which are designed to enable the family to cope with the veteran's needs. Extended medical, psychiatric or other services may not be furnished to family members under these provisions.

(c) Providing services to a veteran's family. VR&E Staff will:

(1) Identify services which family members may need to facilitate the rehabilitation of the veteran; and

(2) Arrange for provision of the services which have been identified.

(d) Resources for provision of services to family members.

(1) The established program and services which are furnished by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to family members of veterans eligible for Chapter 31 should be used to the extent practicable; but

(2) If services are not readily available through regular VHA programs, necessary services will normally be secured through arrangements with other public and nonprofit agencies.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997]

§ 21.156 Other incidental goods and services.

(a) General. Other incidental goods and services may be authorized if the case manager determines them to be necessary to implement the veteran's rehabilitation plan. For example, a calculator may be authorized for a veteran pursuing an engineering degree, even though the veteran may not be required to have a calculator for any specific subject in his or her course, where there is substantial evidence that lack of a calculator places the veteran at a distinct disadvantage in successfully pursuing the course.

(b) Limitation on cost. The costs of incidental goods and services normally should not exceed five percent of training costs for any twelve-month period.

Independent Living Services
§ 21.160 Independent living services.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of independent living services is to assist eligible veterans whose ability to function independently in family, community, or employment is so limited by the severity of disability (service and nonservice-connected) that vocational or rehabilitation services need to be appreciably more extensive than for less disabled veterans.

(b) Definitions. The term independence in daily living means the ability of a veteran, without the services of others or with a reduced level of the services of others, to live and function within the veteran's family and community.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(2))

(c) Situations under which independent living services may be furnished. Independent living services may be furnished:

(1) As part of a program to achieve rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(2) As part of an extended evaluation to determine the current reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal;

(3) Incidental to a program of employment services; or

(4) As a program of rehabilitation services for eligible veterans for whom achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible. This program of rehabilitation services may be furnished to help the veteran:

(i) Function more independently in the family and community without the assistance of others or a reduced level of the assistance of others;

(ii) Become reasonably feasible for a vocational rehabilitation program; or

(iii) Become reasonably feasible for extended evaluation.

(d) Services which may be authorized. The services which may be authorized as part of an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) include:

(1) Any appropriate service which may be authorized for a vocational rehabilitation program as that term is defined in § 21.35(i), except for a course of education or training as described in § 21.120; and

(2) Independent living services offered by approved independent living centers and programs which are determined to be necessary to carry out the veteran's plan including:

(i) Evaluation of independent living potential;

(ii) Training in independent living skills;

(iii) Attendant care;

(iv) Health maintenance programs; and

(v) Identifying appropriate housing accommodations.

(e) Coordination with other VA elements and other Federal, State, and local programs. Implementation of programs of independent living services and assistance will generally require extensive coordination with other VA and non-VA programs. If appropriate arrangements cannot be made to provide these services through VA, other governmental, private nonprofit and for-profit agencies and facilities may be used to secure necessary services if the requirements contained in § 21.294 are met.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 55 FR 42186, Oct. 18, 1990]

§ 21.162 Participation in a program of independent living services.

(a) Approval of a program of independent living services. A program of independent living services and assistance is approved when:

(1) The VA determines that achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible;

(2) The VA determines that the veteran's independence in daily living can be improved, and the gains made can reasonably be expected to continue following completion of the program;

(3) All steps required by §§ 21.90 and 21.92 of this part for the development and preparation of an Individualized Independent Living Plan (IILP) have been completed; and

(4) The VR&E Officer concurs in the IILP.

(b) Considerations for the VR&E Officer. The VR&E Officer will consider the following factors in administering programs providing independent living services:

(1) If VA resources available limit the number of veterans who may be provided a program of independent living services and assistance, the first priority shall be given to veterans for whom the reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal is precluded solely as a result of service-connected disability; and

(2) To the maximum extent feasible, a substantial portion of veterans provided with programs of independent living services and assistance shall be receiving long-term care in VA medical centers and nursing homes.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3120(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 55 FR 48842, Nov. 23, 1990; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997]

Case Status
§ 21.180 Case status system.

(a) General. Each veteran's case will be assigned to a specific case status from the point of initial contact until all appropriate steps in the rehabilitation process have been completed. The case status system will:

(1) Assist VR&E staff to fulfill its case management responsibility to provide authorized assistance to enable the veteran to successfully pursue his or her program; and

(2) Assure program management and accountability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Responsibility for change of case status. The case manager is responsible for assigning a case to the appropriate case status at each point in the rehabilitation process.

(c) Case manager. The VR&E (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) Officer or his or her designee will assign a case manager when the veteran's case is placed in evaluation and planning status. The VR&E Officer or his or her designee may assign case management responsibility for development and implementation of a rehabilitation plan authorized under Chapter 31 to a Counseling Psychologist (CP), Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or vocational rehabilitation specialist in the VR&E Division. The case manager assigned will, unless replaced by the VR&E Officer, continue to be responsible for case management throughout the course of the veteran's rehabilitation program. When securing medical care, treatment, and other related services, the VR&E case manager will coordinate with Veterans Health Administration (VHA) staff members who have case management responsibility for the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(e))

(d) Informing the veteran. The veteran will be informed in writing of changes in case status by VA which affect his or her receipt of benefits and services under Chapter 31. The letter to the veteran will include the reason for the change of case status, and other information required under provisions of § 21.420.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(e) Normal progression for eligible veterans. The cases of veterans who are eligible for and entitled to services under Chapter 31 for whom individualized plans have been prepared will generally undergo the following changes of status:

(1) Individualized written rehabilitation plan. A veteran with an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) will generally move sequentially from applicant status through evaluation and planning status, rehabilitation to the point of employability status, employment services status, and rehabilitated status.

(2) Individualized extended evaluation plan. A veteran with an IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan) will generally move from applicant status through evaluation and planning status to extended evaluation status. Once in extended evaluation status there will generally be a finding which leads to development of an IWRP (paragraph (e)(1) of this section), or IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) (paragraph (e)(3) of this section).

(3) Individualized independent living plan. A veteran with an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) will generally move from applicant status through evaluation and planning, extended evaluation, independent living, and rehabilitated status.

(4) Individualized employment assistance plan.

(i) A veteran with an IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) which is a part of an IWRP will move through the case statuses described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, or in some cases through the steps in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(ii) A veteran for whom only employment services are provided will generally move from applicant through evaluation and planning, employment services to rehabilitated status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(f) Normal progression for ineligible veterans. A veteran found ineligible for services under Chapter 31 will generally move from applicant to evaluation and planning status, to ineligible status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(g) Changes of status. The case manager may change the case status when:

(1) Conditions for change specified in the status are met;

(2) The change is not specifically precluded by the status to which change is being considered; and

(3) The change is consistent with provisions of other applicable regulations.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 34987, Aug. 23, 1989; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26132, May 2, 2016]

§ 21.182 “Applicant” status.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of applicant status are to:

(1) Process a veteran's claim for assistance under Chapter 31 in a timely manner; and

(2) Identify service-disabled veterans whom VA should contact individually to increase their awareness and understanding of how they may benefit from services furnished under Chapter 31.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(b) Assignment to applicant status. VA will assign a veteran's records to applicant status when either:

(1) VA receives a formal or informal application from a veteran for services under Chapter 31; or

(2) The VR&E (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) Division:

(i) Advises a veteran in writing of the veteran's potential eligibility for Chapter 31 services, or

(ii) Is informed that the veteran has been advised in writing of his or her potential eligibility for Chapter 31 services by other VA elements.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102(2))

(c) Termination of applicant status. Applicant status will be terminated when:

(1) An appointment for an initial evaluation has been kept by the veteran; or

(2) The veteran's service-connected disability is reduced to a noncompensable degree; or

(3) The veteran's service-connected disability is severed; or

(4) The veteran's application is invalid because of fraud or error; or

(5) The veteran withdraws his or her claim, or otherwise indicates that no further assistance is desired.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(d) Transfer of terminated cases to discontinued status. Each instance in which a veteran's case is terminated for reasons described in paragraph (c)(4) or (5) of this section shall be placed in discontinued status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

Cross Reference:

See §§ 21.30 Claims, 21.31 Informal claims, and 21.32 Time limits.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 52 FR 2518, Jan. 23, 1987]

§ 21.184 “Evaluation and planning” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of evaluation and planning status is to identify veterans for whom evaluation and planing services are needed to:

(1) Accomplish an initial evaluation as provided in § 21.50;

(2) Develop an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan), IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan), IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) or IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan); or

(3) Reevaluate:

(i) Findings made in prior initial evaluations, or

(ii) Current or previous individualized rehabilitation plans.

(b) Assignment to evaluation and planning status. A veteran's records will be assigned to evaluation and planning status for any of the purposes specified in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) Termination of evaluation and planning status. The assignment of the veteran's records to evaluation and planning status may be terminated under the following conditions:

(1) Evaluation and planning completed. The services necessary to complete evaluation and planning have been provided. These services are:

(i) Completion of an initial evaluation;

(ii) Development of an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) or other individual rehabilitation plan in those cases in which eligibility and entitlement to services provided under Chapter 31 are established; or

(iii) Completion of reevaluation of prior findings made in initial evaluation or modification of a rehabilitation plan.

(2) Evaluation and planning not completed. The VR&E Division shall make every reasonable effort to enable the veteran to complete the evaluation and planning phase of the rehabilitation process. A determination that every reasonable effort by VA has been made, and that little likelihood exists that continued efforts will lead to completion of planning and evaluation, may be made under the following conditions:

(i) The veteran writes VA and requests that his or her case be inactivated;

(ii) The veteran fails to keep scheduled appointments following his or her initial appointment; or

(iii) The veteran otherwise fails to cooperate with VA in the evaluation and planning process. If the veteran fails to cooperate, the provisions of § 21.362 are applicable.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 21.186 “Ineligible” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of ineligible status is to identify the cases in which a veteran requests services under Chapter 31, but the request is denied by VA, usually, on the basis of information developed when the veteran was in evaluation and planning status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(b) Assignment to ineligible status. A veteran's case will be assigned to ineligible status following a finding by VA that the veteran is not eligible for or entitled to services under Chapter 31. The finding must preclude all possible Chapter 31 services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106, 3107)

(c) Termination of ineligible status. The assignment of the veteran's case to ineligible status should be terminated if the veteran thereafter becomes eligible to receive any Chapter 31 service. Placement of the case in ineligible status is a bar to reconsideration of eligibility unless a material change in circumstances occurs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

§ 21.188 “Extended evaluation” status.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of extended evaluation status are to:

(1) Identify a veteran for whom a period of extended evaluation is needed; and

(2) Assure that necessary services are provided by VA during the extended evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(b) Assignment to extended evaluation status. A veteran's case may be assigned or reassigned to extended evaluation status under provisions of § 21.57, § 21.74, § 21.86, § 21.94, or § 21.96.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Continuation in extended evaluation status. A veteran's case will be in extended evaluation status during periods in which:

(1) The veteran is pending induction into the facility at which rehabilitation services will be provided;

(2) The veteran is receiving rehabilitation services prescribed in the IEEP (§ 21.86); or

(3) The veteran is on authorized leave of absence during an extended evaluation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108)

(d) Termination of extended evaluation status. A veteran in extended evaluation status will remain in that status until one of the following events occur:

(1) Following notification of necessary arrangements to begin an extended evaluation, the date the extended evaluation begins, and instructions as to the next steps to be taken, the veteran:

(i) Fails to report and does not respond to followup contact by the case manager;

(ii) Declines or refuses to enter the program; or

(iii) Defers induction for a period exceeding 30 days beyond the scheduled date of induction, except where the deferment is due to illness or other sufficient reason;

(2) VA determines the reasonable feasibility of a vocational goal for the veteran before completion of all of the planned evaluation because the decision does not require the further evaluation;

(3) The veteran completes the extended evaluation;

(4) Either the veteran or VA interrupts the extended evaluation;

(5) Either the veteran or VA discontinues the extended evaluation; or

(6) Service-connection for the veteran's service-connected disability is severed by VA or his or her continued eligibility otherwise ceases.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

Cross References:

See §§ 21.57 Extended evaluation, 21.322 Commencing dates, 21.324 Reduction or termination.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 21.190 “Rehabilitation to the point of employability” status.

(a) Purpose. The rehabilitation to the point of employability status serves to:

(1) Identify veterans who receive training and rehabilitation services to enable them to attain a vocational goal; and

(2) Assure that services specified in the veteran's IWRP are provided in a timely manner by VA.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101)

(b) Assignment. A veteran's case may be assigned or reassigned to rehabilitation to the point of employability status under the provisions of § 21.84, § 21.94, or § 21.96.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Continuation in rehabilitation to the point of employability status. A veteran will be assigned to rehabilitation to the point of employability status during periods in which:

(1) The veteran has progressed through applicant status and evaluation and planning status (including extended evaluation status when appropriate), and is pending induction into the facility at which training and rehabilitation services will be provided;

(2) The veteran is receiving training and rehabilitation services prescribed in the IWRP; or

(3) The veteran is on authorized leave of absence.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104, 3108)

(d) Termination of rehabilitation to the point of employability status when goals of the IWRP for this period are achieved. VA will consider a veteran to have completed the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability, and will terminate this status under the following conditions:

(1) The veteran achieves the goals of, and has been provided services specified in, the IWRP;

(2) The veteran who leaves the program has completed a sufficient portion of the services prescribed in the IWRP to establish clearly that he or she is generally employable as a trained worker in the occupational objective established in the IWRP;

(3) The veteran, who has not completed all prescribed services in the IWRP, accepts employment in the occupational objective established in the IWRP with wages and other benefits commensurate with wages and benefits received by trained workers; or

(4) The veteran:

(i) Satisfactorily completes a prescribed program, the practice of which requires pursuing an examination for licensure, but

(ii) Is unable to take the licensure examination prior to the basic twelve-year termination date and there is no basis for extension of that date.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(e) Other conditions for termination of rehabilitation to the point of employability status. In addition to termination under conditions described in paragraph (d) of this section, the classification of the veteran's records in this status may be terminated under any of the following conditions:

(1) A veteran who has been notified of necessary arrangements to begin the program, the date the program begins and instructions as to the next steps to be taken:

(i) Fails to report and does not respond to initial or subsequent followup by the case manager;

(ii) Declines or refuses to enter the program; or

(iii) Defers induction for a period exceeding 30 days beyond the scheduled beginning date of the program, except where the deferment is due to illness or other sufficient reason.

(2) Either the veteran or VA interrupts the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(3) Either VA or the veteran discontinues the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(4) The veteran reaches his or her termination date, and there is no basis for extension under § 21.44;

(5) The veteran's entitlement to training and rehabilitation services under Chapter 31 is exhausted, and there is no basis for extension under § 21.78; or

(6) Service-connection for the veteran's service-connected disability is served by VA or he or she otherwise ceases to be eligible.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(f) Payment of employment adjustment allowance. An employment adjustment allowance will be paid when the veteran's classification in rehabilitation to the point of employability status is terminated under provisions of paragraph (d) of this section. An employment adjustment allowance will not be paid if termination is for one of the reasons specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(a))

Cross References:

See §§ 21.120 Educational and vocational trainings services, 21.282 Effective date of induction into a rehabilitation program, and 21.284 Reentering into a rehabilitation program.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 21.192 “Independent living program” status.

(a) Purpose. The independent living program status serves to:

(1) Identify veterans who are being furnished a program of independent living services by VA; and

(2) Assure that such veterans receive necessary services from VA in a timely manner.

(b) Assignment to independent living program status. A veteran may be assigned or reassigned to independent living program status under the provisions of § 21.88, § 21.94, or § 21.96.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Continuation in independent living program status. A veteran will be in independent living program status during periods in which:

(1) The provisions of § 21.282 for induction into a program are met, but the veteran is pending induction into the facility at which rehabilitation services will be provided;

(2) The veteran receives rehabilitation services prescribed in an IILP; or

(3) The veteran is on authorized leave of absence status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3109, 3120)

(d) Termination of independent living program status. When a veteran's case has been assigned to independent living program status, the case will be terminated from that status, if one of the following occurs:

(1) A veteran, who has been notified of necessary arrangements to begin a program, the date the program begins and instructions as to the next steps to be taken:

(i) Fails to report and does not respond to followup contact by the case manager;

(ii) Declines or refuses to enter the program; or

(iii) Defers entry for more than 30 days beyond the scheduled beginning date, unless the deferment is due to illness or other sufficient reason.

(2) The veteran completes the IILP;

(3) Either the veteran or VA interrupts the program;

(4) Either the veteran or VA discontinues the program; or

(5) Service-connection for the veteran's service-connected disability is severed by VA or he or she otherwise ceases to be eligible.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3109, 3110)

Cross References:

See §§ 21.160 Independent living services, 21.282 Effective date of induction into a rehabilitation program, 21.322 Commencing date, and 21.324 Reduction or termination date.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 21.194 “Employment services” status.

(a) Purpose. The status employment services serves to:

(1) Identify veterans who are being furnished employment services; and

(2) Assure that these veterans receive necessary services in a timely manner.

(b) Assignment to employment services status. A veteran's case may be assigned or reassigned to employment services status under the provisions of §§ 21.84, 21.88, and 21.94.

(c) Continuation in employment services status. A case will remain in employment services status for the period specified in the IEAP, subject to the limitations specified in paragraph (d) of this section.

(d) Termination of employment services status. The veteran will continue in employment services status until the earliest of the following events occurs:

(1) He or she is determined to be rehabilitated under the provisions of § 21.283; or

(2) He or she is:

(i) Employed for at least 60 days in employment that does not meet the criteria for rehabilitation contained in § 21.283, if the veteran intends to maintain this employment and declines further assistance; and

(ii) Adjusted to the duties and responsibilities of the job.

(3) Either the veteran or VA interrupts the employment services program;

(4) Either the veteran or VA discontinues the employment services program;

(5) He or she reaches the end of the period for which employment services have been authorized and there is no basis for extension; or

(6) Service-connection for the veteran's service-connected disability is severed or he or she otherwise ceases to be eligible.

Cross References:

See §§ 21.47 Eligibility for employment assistance, 21.250 Overview of employment services, and 21.326 Authorization of employment services.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 58 FR 68768, Dec. 29, 1993; 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 21.196 “Rehabilitated” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of rehabilitated status is to identify those cases in which the goals of a rehabilitation program or a program of employment services have been substantially achieved.

(b) Assignment to “rehabilitated” status. A veteran's case shall be assigned to “rehabilitated” status when his or her case meets the criteria for rehabilitation contained in § 21.283.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3107 and 3117)

(c) Termination of rehabilitated status. A veteran's case will not be removed from rehabilitated status under § 21.284 once that status has been assigned, unless the determination of rehabilitation is set aside for a reason specified in § 21.284.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

Cross Reference:

See § 21.284 Reentrance into a rehabilitation program.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985, as amended at 58 FR 68768, Dec. 29, 1993]

§ 21.197 “Interrupted” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of interrupted status is to recognize that a variety of situations may arise in the course of a rehabilitation program in which a temporary suspension of the program is warranted. In each case, VA first must determine that the veteran will be able to return to a rehabilitation program or a program of employment services following the resolution of the situation causing the interruption. This determination will be documented in the veteran's record.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(b) Assignment to “interrupted” status. A veteran's case will be assigned to interrupted status when:

(1) VA determines that a suspension of services being provided is necessary; and

(2) Either:

(i) A definite date for resumption of the program is established; or

(ii) The evidence indicates the veteran will be able to resume the program at some future date, which can be approximately established.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3110)

(c) Reasons for assignment to “interrupted” status. A veteran's case may be interrupted and assigned to interrupted status for reasons including but not limited to the following:

(1) Veteran does not initiate or continue rehabilitation process. If a veteran does not begin or continue the rehabilitation process, the veteran's case will be interrupted and assigned to interrupted status, including:

(i) A case in evaluation and planning status;

(ii) A case in extended evaluation status;

(iii) A case in rehabilitation to the point of employability status;

(iv) A case in independent living program status; or

(v) A case in employment services status.

(2) Unsatisfactory conduct and cooperation. If a veteran's conduct or cooperation becomes unsatisfactory, services and assistance may be interrupted as determined under provisions of §§ 21.362 and 21.364.

(3) Services not available. The veteran cannot continue the program because the necessary training and rehabilitation services are unavailable.

(4) Prior to assignment to “discontinued” status. A veteran's case shall be assigned to interrupted status prior to discontinuance and assignment to discontinued status in all cases except as provided in § 21.182(d) and upon the veteran's death. The purpose of assignment to interrupted status is to assure that all appropriate actions have been taken to help the veteran continue in his or her program before discontinuing benefits and services.

(5) Absences. The veteran is not entitled to be placed on authorized absence under §§ 21.340 through 21.350 while in interrupted status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3111)

(d) Reentrance from “interrupted” status.

(1) A veteran in interrupted status may be assigned to his or her prior status or other appropriate status, if he or she reports for entrance or reentrance into the prescribed program at the time and place scheduled for the resumption of the rehabilitation program.

(2) If a veteran in interrupted status fails to report for entrance or reentrance into the program at the appointed time and place, the veteran's case will remain in interrupted status. The case manager will then determine whether there is a satisfactory reason for the veteran's failure to enter a new or reenter the prior program. If the evidence of record does not establish a satisfactory reason, the veteran's case will be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status.

(e) Case management responsibility during a period of interruption. The case manager shall maintain contact with the veteran during interruption and shall arrange for appropriate medical or other services the veteran needs to be able to enter or reenter a rehabilitation program or a program of employment services.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

Cross Reference:

See § 21.324 Reduction or termination date.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 52 FR 2518, Jan. 23, 1987]

§ 21.198 “Discontinued” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of discontinued status is to identify situations in which termination of all services and benefits received under Chapter 31 is necessary.

(b) Placement in “discontinued”. VA will discontinue the veteran's case and assign the case to discontinued status following assignment to interrupted status as provided in § 21.197 for reasons including but not limited to the following:

(1) Veteran declines to initiate or continue rehabilitation process. If a veteran does not initiate or continue the rehabilitation process and does not furnish an acceptable reason for his or her failure to do so following assignment to interrupted status, the veteran's case will be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status. This includes:

(i) A case in applicant status;

(ii) A case in evaluation and planning status;

(iii) A case in extended evaluation status;

(iv) A case in rehabilitation to the point of employability status;

(v) A case in independent living program status;

(vi) A case in employment services status; or

(vii) A case in interrupted status;

(2) Unsatisfactory conduct and cooperation. When a veteran's conduct or cooperation becomes unsatisfactory, services and assistance may be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status as determined under provisions of §§ 21.362 and 21.364.

(3) Eligibility and entitlement. Unless the veteran desires employment assistance, the veteran's case will be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status when:

(i) The veteran reaches the basic twelve-year termination date, and there is no basis for extension; or

(ii) The veteran has used 48 months of entitlement under one or more VA programs, and there is no basis for extension of entitlement.

(4) Medical and related problems. A veteran's case will be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status when:

(i) The veteran will be unable to participate in a rehabilitation program because of a serious physical or emotional problem for an extended period; and

(ii) VA medical staff are unable to estimate an approximate date by which the veteran will be able to begin or return to the program.

(5) Withdrawal. Veteran voluntarily withdraws from the program.

(6) Failure to progress. The veteran's case will be discontinued and assigned to discontinued status if his or her failure to progress in a program is due to:

(i) Continuing lack of application by the veteran unrelated to any personal or other problems; or

(ii) Inability of the veteran to benefit from rehabilitation services despite the best efforts of VA and the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108, 3111)

(7) Special review of proposed discontinuance action. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Officer shall review each case in which discontinuance is being considered for a veteran with a service-connected disability rated 50 percent or more disabling. The VR&E Officer may utilize existing resources to assist in the review, including referral to the Vocational Rehabilitation Panel (VRP).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1))

(c) Termination of “discontinued” status. Except as noted in paragraph (c)(3) of this section assignment of the veteran's case to the same status from which the veteran was discontinued or to a different one requires that VA first find:

(1) The reason for the discontinuance has been removed; and

(2) VA has redetermined his or her eligibility and entitlement under Chapter 31.

(3) In addition to the criteria described in paragraphs (c) (1) and (2) of this section a veteran placed into discontinued status as a result of a finding of unsatisfactory conduct or cooperation under §§ 21.362 and 21.364 must also meet the requirements for reentrance into a rehabilitation program found in § 21.364.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3111)

(d) Follow-up of a cases placed in “discontinued” status. VA shall establish appropriate procedures to follow up on cases which have been placed in discontinued status, except in those cases reassigned from applicant status. The purpose of such followup is to determine if:

(1) The reasons for discontinuance may have been removed, and reconsideration of eligibility and entitlement is possible; or

(2) The veteran is employed, and criteria for assignment to rehabilitated status are met.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

Cross Reference:

See § 21.324 Reduction or termination dates of subsistence allowance.

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 52 FR 2518, Jan. 23, 1987; 53 FR 32620, Aug. 26, 1988]

Supplies
§ 21.210 Supplies.

(a) Purpose of furnishing supplies. Supplies are furnished to enable a veteran to pursue rehabilitation and achieve the goals of his or her program.

(b) Definition. The term supplies includes books, tools, and other supplies and equipment which VA determines are necessary for the veteran's rehabilitation program.

(c) Periods during which supplies may be furnished. Supplies may be furnished during:

(1) Extended evaluation;

(2) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;

(3) Employment services; and

(4) An independent living services program.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(d) Supplies precluded. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section, supplies may not be furnished to a veteran who has elected, or is in receipt of, payment at the educational assistance rate paid under Chapter 34.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(a))

§ 21.212 General policy in furnishing supplies during periods of rehabilitation.

(a) Furnishing necessary supplies during a period of rehabilitation services. A veteran will be furnished supplies that are necessary for a program of rehabilitation services. For example, a veteran training in a school will be furnished the supplies needed to pursue the school course. If additional supplies are subsequently needed to secure employment, they will be furnished during the period of employment services as provided in § 21.214(d).

(b) Determining supplies needed during a period of rehabilitation. Subject to the provisions of §§ 21.210 through 21.222, VA will authorize only those supplies which are required:

(1) To be used by similarly circumstanced non-disabled persons in the same training or employment situation;

(2) To mitigate or compensate for the effects of the veteran's disability while he or she is being evaluated, trained or assisted in gaining employment; or

(3) To allow the veteran to function more independently and thereby lessen his or her dependence on others for assistance.

(c) When supplies may be authorized. Supplies should generally be authorized subsequent to the date of enrollment in training or beginning date of other rehabilitation services unless there are compelling reasons to authorize them earlier. Supplies may not be authorized earlier than the date the veteran's rehabilitation plan is approved by VA and the veteran is accepted by the facility or individual providing services.

(d) Supplies needed, but not specifically required. VA may determine that an item, such as a calculator, while not required by the school for the pursuit of a particular school subject, is nevertheless necessary for the veteran to successfully pursue his or her program under the provisions of § 21.156 pertaining to incidental goods and services. The item may be authorized if:

(1) It is generally owned and used by students pursuing the course; and

(2) Students who do not have the item would be placed at a distinct disadvantage in pursuing the course.

(e) Supplies for special projects and theses. The amount of supplies that VA may authorize for special projects, including theses, may not exceed the amount generally needed by similarly circumstanced nonveterans in meeting course or thesis requirements.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(f) Responsibility for authorization of supplies. The case manager is responsible for the authorization of supplies, subject to requirements for prior approval contained in § 21.258 and other instructions governing payment of program charges.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(e))

§ 21.214 Furnishing supplies for special programs.

(a) General. A veteran pursuing one of the following types of vocational rehabilitation programs is eligible for any types of supplies listed in § 21.212. The following paragraphs clarify the applicability of the general provisions of § 21.212 to these special situations.

(b) Supplies furnished to veterans pursuing training in the home. VA may furnish to veterans training in the home:

(1) Books, tools, and supplies which schools or training establishments that train individuals outside the home for the objective the veteran is pursuing at home ordinarily require all students and trainees to personally possess;

(2) Supplies and equipment which are essential to the prescribed course of training because the veteran is pursuing the course at home. Equipment in this category consists of items which ordinarily are not required by a school or training establishment;

(3) Special equipment, such as a vise or drafting table;

(4) Supplies needed to enable the veteran to function more independently in his or her home and community.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(c) Supplies furnished to a veteran in farm cooperative training. The books and related training supplies which VA may furnish a veteran in farm cooperative training depend upon the type of instruction he or she is receiving:

(1) When organized, group instruction is part of a veteran's course, VA will furnish those books and supplies which the school requires all students in the school portion of the course to own personally or on a rental basis;

(2) When all instruction is given on the veteran's farm by an individual instructor, VA will furnish to a student only those textbooks and other supplies which would ordinarily be required by a school.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(d) Obtaining and maintaining employment. A veteran being furnished employment services may receive supplies which:

(1) The employer requires similarly circumstanced nonveterans to own upon begining employment to the extent that the items were not furnished during the period in which the veteran was training for the objective, or the items that were furnished for training purposes are not adequate for employment;

(2) VA determines that special equipment is necessary for the veteran to perform his or her duties, subject to the obligation of the employer to make reasonable accommodation to the disabling effects of the veteran's condition.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a), 4212)

(e) Self-employment. The supplies and related assistance which may be furnished, subject to the requirements prescribed under §§ 21.257 and 21.258, to a veteran for whom self-employment has been approved as the occupational objective, are generally limited to those necessary to begin operations:

(1) Minimum stocks of materials, e.g., inventory of saleable merchandise or goods, expendable items required for day-to-day operations, and items which are consumed on the premises;

(2) Essential equipment, including machinery, occupational fixtures, accessories, and appliances; and

(3) Other related assistance such as business license fees.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(12))

(f) Supplies and related assistance which may not be furnished for self-employment. VA may not authorize assistance for:

(1) Purchase of, or part payment for, land and buildings;

(2) Making full or part payment of leases or rentals;