The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) recently began the process of reducing the average counselor-to-caseload ratio, to one to 125 or below, through the hiring of 172 vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs).
The hiring effort, which began early this summer, will help improve service to Veterans with service-connected disabilities and employment barriers, as well as help provide them with expedited services to improve their ability to transition to the civilian workforce.
“The VR&E program is much more than a benefits program,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It’s a vital support network, where VA’s expert counselors work closely with Veterans on their personalized vocational rehabilitation goals. Congressional funding enables us to expand our team of counselors who are on the ground across the country working tirelessly for Veterans, and we appreciate their support.”
VA is committed to ensuring its counselors have manageable caseloads and the resources needed to ensure Veterans are receiving thorough, quality services.
Currently, 941 counselors are working across VA’s 56 regional offices, as well as in out-based and satellite locations.
Once hiring is complete for the additional 172 counselors, a total of 1,113 VRCs will be deployed in the field to serve Veterans. This includes 905 VRCs at regional and out-based offices, 132 Integrated Disability Evaluation System counselors at 71 military installations and 76 Veteran Success on Campus counselors at 105 institutions of higher learning.
Since 2014, over 56,000 Veterans have either completed a rehabilitation plan, are employed or have achieved a greater independence in living through VR&E assistance. The VR&E program currently has more than 123,000 participants. For more information about VR&E, visit www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/.