Another way in which we perform outreach occurs when veterans are notified they have been awarded a service-connected disability rating by the VA. That notification is accompanied by an application for a vocational rehabilitation program, so veterans are immediately made aware of their eligibility for the program.
To be eligible for the program, active duty service members are expected to have a disability rated at 20% or higher and veterans are to have a disability already rated at 10% or higher. The entitlement for services extends up to 48 months and must be used within 12 years of the date of eligibility, but both of those can be extended and waived if the veteran or service member has a serious employment handicap or significant barriers to employment that must be overcome.
The process of benefits delivery includes the veteran or service member submitting an application, eligibility is determined, and then the veteran meets with a vocational rehabilitation counsellor to assess his or her vocational needs. That assessment includes testing of their interests, aptitudes, and abilities, and then looking at their vocational and educational history and determining their disability-related needs. Veterans who are not entitled to the program are referred to other community resources, such as state vocational rehabilitation organizations or Department of Labor programs.
We have five tracks to employment that can be provided and services within each track, depending on the veteran's unique needs.
The re-employment track is designed to help veterans who return from guard and reserves and are unable to return to their former employment. We help them to regain that previous employment, either with the same employer or with an alternate employer, and help to provide accommodation if they have disabilities.
The rapid access to employment track is for veterans who have the training and skills they need for employment but need help in bridging the gap from becoming a veteran to becoming an employed civilian. That includes assistance with developing a good resumé, transferring their military skills to civilian skills, learning interviewing skills, and helping to connect the veterans with employment opportunities.
The self-employment track is for individual veterans for whom self-employment is the most appropriate option, based on their disabilities, or who wish to pursue self-employment after completing a program of training with vocational rehabilitation employment.
The employment through the long-term services track, which is the most frequently used track, is for veterans with disabilities who can no longer perform the duties of occupations they used to be able to perform, so they need retraining in a new occupational category or a new skill to compete for employment that would be consistent with their disabilities, their interests, and their aptitudes. Through the long-term services track, we provide retraining at colleges, universities, on-the-job training locations, apprenticeship programs, and other such programs to enable the veteran to compete for employment.
The independent living program is for those veterans whose disabilities are so severe that they are unable to return to work at this time but need assistance to become more independent in their daily activities. We provide services to help them access the community, have complete access to their home, and have access to recreational activities or other daily living activities that they cannot access or cannot conduct because of the limitations of their disability; this prevents them from having to depend on others, such as family members, to conduct those daily living activities.
At the end of the program, when the veteran becomes employed in a suitable occupation, meaning that it's consistent with their interests, aptitudes, and abilities, the voc-rehab counsellor and employment coordinator ensure the stability of that employment for at least 60 days, but up to 18 months if necessary, to ensure they no longer need our services to continue that stable employment.
I will add some information about the types of results that our program produces. Most of the occupations that veterans are rehabilitated in are in the professional, technical, and managerial occupations, which speaks to the fact that they come to us a lot with managerial and leadership skills from their military occupations. We also have a smaller percentage that are in clerical services, machine trades, and structural trades.
Primarily, though, because our program is a career-focused program and not just about entry-level employment, most of the occupations are in the professional, managerial, or technical trades.
We rehabilitate approximately 10,000 veterans per year. At any given time, we have over 100,000 veterans who are at any stage in the process, including those who are in the applicant phase awaiting an eligibility determination.
That concludes my prepared statement. I'll take any questions.