June 19, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can provide free vocational and educational counseling services for transitioning service members and individuals eligible for GI Bill benefits (Montgomery, VR&E, Post-9/11, etc.). Counseling can take place at a Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office or outbased location, training facility, or military installation. After receipt of an application, a counseling appointment will be set for eligible service members and veterans. Counseling services may include the following:

Interest and aptitude testing

Occupational exploration

Assistance with setting occupational goals

Assistance with locating an appropriate academic or training program

Academic or adjustment counseling during training to help overcome problems or barriers during school

Services to help prepare for a new career

Getting advice for any or all of those can help guide a veteran to eventual employment goals. A transitioning service member is defined as a service member within six months of discharge from active duty or a veteran within one year following discharge from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions. Service members and veterans eligible for any VA education benefit may also apply. A service connected disability is not a requirement in order to be eligible for free counseling services.

To apply for counseling benefits, transitioning service members or veterans should fill out VA Form 28-8832, Application for Vocational Educational Counseling, or download the application at www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/28-8832.pdf.  Counseling services are provided by the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program’s staff or by contract counselors. For more information visit http://www.gibill.va.gov/support/counseling_services/index.html.