The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced changes to the Vocational Rehabilitation & Education Program (VR&E) that make it easier for veterans to receive the training necessary for a post-service career.

Effective immediately, the VA will accept a typed signature on all forms related to the VR&E program. This includes application forms, as well as those used to request counseling and additional monthly benefits for veterans with qualifying dependents.

Previously, the VA would accept only completed forms that had the veteran’s actual signature on them. Now, it will accept emailed, faxed or mailed forms that have the veteran’s typed signature in the signature block.

This will make it easier for veterans to get their benefits in a timely manner without having to leave their homes to find a fax machine or make a trip to the post office just to apply for benefits, officials said.

In addition, the VA is directing VR&E field staff to communicate with participants electronically during this time of national emergency. This includes utilizing tele-counseling, which is accessible on any web-enabled device with a webcam and microphone (smartphone, tablet orĀ  laptop). This will allow veterans to meet with their counselor virtually through VA Video Connect.

Also, veterans currently enrolled in a VR&E program will continue to receive their benefits even if their school changes classes from on-campus to online. There is no action necessary on the veteran’s part to keep the benefits going.

The VA said that claims are still being processed normally and is predicting no delays in benefit payments at this time.