Thousands of Veterans who lost jobs due to pandemic eligible for new rapid retraining program

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic individuals in every profession lost jobs because of coronavirus closures, layoffs, or health complications. The most recent coronavirus relief plan passed by Congress included millions in funding for Veterans programs to help mitigate employment and health challenges related to the pandemic.

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for Veterans who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the measure was signed into law on March 11, 2021, applications were delayed until May 3, 2021, as the Department of Veterans Affairs coordinated with the Department of Labor to establish guidelines for schools and to identify high-demand occupations for Veterans.

Under the program approximately 17,000 Veterans will be eligible for the benefits, which offers education and training for high-demand jobs. To be eligible a Veteran must,

  • Be at least 22 years old, but not older than 66, and
  • Unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • Not eligible for GI Bill or VR&E benefits (or, if you’re eligible for the post-9/11 GI Bill, you’ve transferred all of your benefits to family members), and
  • Not rated as totally disabled because you can’t work, and
  • Not enrolled in a federal or state jobs program, and
  • Not receiving unemployment benefits (including CARES Act benefits)

The VRRAP covers education and training programs approved under the GI Bill and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) that result in high-demand jobs, as classified by the Department of Labor. Eligible Veterans can receive up to 12 months of tuition and fees and a monthly housing allowance based on post-9/11 GI Bill rates.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs the program will be available until December 11, 2022, when it will stop making payments – or when it reaches the $386 million funding limit or the 17,250 participant limit.

For information on what the Department of Labor classifies as high-demand jobs, please visit Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) High Demand Occupation (

For a list of VRRAP Approved Educational Institutions, please visit VRRAP Approved Educational Institutions (

To apply for the VRRAP program, please visit Apply for the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) | Veterans Affairs (