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M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, Chapter 1, Section B – Memorandum Vocational Rehabilitation Ratings


In This Section
This section contains the following topics:
Topic Name

1.  Requests for Memorandum Vocational Rehabilitation Ratings


Change Date

February 27, 2019

IX.i.1.B.1.a.  Requests for Memorandum Ratings

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) may request a memorandum rating to determine whether the claimant’s service-connected (SC) disabilities meet the 10-percent or 20-percent eligibility requirements per M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 1.A.2, in any of the following situations:
Note:  A proposed rating decision prepared under the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) program may also serve to establish entitlement to vocational rehabilitation in lieu of a memorandum rating.  If one has already been completed, provide a copy to the requesting VR&E office.  For electronic rating decisions, inform the VR&E contact of its availability via the electronic claims folder (eFolder).
References:  For more information on

2.  Requesting Medical Evidence for Memorandum Ratings


This topic contains information on requesting medical evidence, including

Change Date

May 7, 2015

IX.i.1.B.2.a.  When to Request a Physical Examination for a Memorandum Rating

Consider requesting a physical examination or other development (including a hospital report) if a minimum 20-percent evaluation cannot be assigned on the evidence of record.
Note:  Before development, the evidence must demonstrate a reasonable probability of SC disability.

IX.i.1.B.2.b.  Requesting Additional STRs

The original application package should contain all service treatment records (STRs) available at the time of the Veteran’s or service member’s separation.
Do not request additional STRs unless service connection (SC) at a minimum of 10 percent for any of the disabilities claimed is not supported by available medical records and there is a clear indication in the folder that there are, in fact, additional records available.
  • In Transition Assistance Program/Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP) cases, STRs, a copy of DD Form 214Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and VA Form 28-1900 are sent directly to a regional office (RO).
  • If problems are found with record requests from any separation centers, resolve them through the Military Records Specialist or the Military Services Coordinator in the Veterans Service Center (VSC).

IX.i.1.B.2.c.  Requesting Other Records for a Memorandum Rating

If the folder indicates the existence of additional records in the Veteran’s custody that would be pertinent to the pending decision, request those records.


IX.i.1.B.2.d.  Evidence for Service Members Awaiting Discharge for Disability

Any VA Form 28-1900 filed by a service member who is awaiting discharge for disability is generally accompanied by all readily available service department medical records and, if available, a current hospital report.
If additional specific records are required, they should be requested from the applicable service department.
After a memorandum rating (or proposed IDES rating) is completed, make copies of all original records that must be returned.
Reference:  For more information on VR&E claims involving pre-discharge cases, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, 2.C.1.

3.  Rating Claims for Vocational Rehabilitation



This topic contains information on rating claims for vocational rehabilitation, including

Change Date

February 27, 2019

IX.i.1.B.3.a.  Preparing a Memorandum Rating Decision for Vocational Rehabilitation Purposes

Prepare a memorandum rating decision if VR&E requests one for a claim filed for vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31, or if the RO receives a VA Form 28-1900 from a Veteran, or a person
  • in active service awaiting discharge or retirement for disability, or
  • who believes he/she has a qualifying disability for DTAP, or
  • who has no current SC rating.
Exception:  A memorandum rating is not required when there is a proposed rating decision prepared under the IDES program.
Reference:  For more information on IDES ratings for VR&E, see VR&E Letter 28-10-09.

IX.i.1.B.3.b.  Memorandum Rating Codesheet

On the memorandum rating Codesheet, use a single diagnostic code representing the primary or most significant disability.  List any other disabilities in the DIAGNOSIS field.
Use the table below to verify the proper language is used in the rating decision.
If deciding that …
Then ensure that theCompensation/Vocational Rehability Purposes section of the Codesheetreflects …
eligibility to vocational rehabilitation is established because of a 20-percent or greater evaluation
Voc Rehab Purposes, SC 20 Percent or More.
SC for a Veteran is warranted at a rate of zero or 10 percent
  • Voc Rehab Purposes, SC 10 Percent, or
  • Voc Rehab Purposes, SC Not Compensable, as appropriate.
SC for a service member is warranted at a rate less than 20 percent
Voc Rehab Purposes, Active Duty – Less than 20 Percent.
eligibility to vocational rehabilitation cannot be established because no disabilities are subject to SC
Voc Rehab Purposes, NSC.

IX.i.1.B.3.c.  No Current Examination Used in the Memorandum Rating Decision

When preparing a memorandum rating decision, if entitlement is established without a current examination, note that fact for the benefit of the vocational rehabilitation counselor or counseling psychologist.

IX.i.1.B.3.d.  Forwarding the Memorandum Rating Decision to VR&E

See the table below for providing VR&E with a copy of the memorandum rating decision.
If there is …
Then …
a paper claims folder
  • send VA Form 28-1900 and a copy of the decision to VR&E at the local RO, and
  • file down
    • a copy of VA Form 28-1900 on the right flap of the claims folder, and
    • the memorandum rating decision in the center section of the claims folder.
an eFolder
  • upload the decision and VA Form 28-1900 into the eFolder (if not previously uploaded)
  • attach a copy of the decision to an e-mail
  • send the encrypted e-mail to the VR&E mailbox of the local RO, and
  • upload a copy of the e-mail into the eFolder.
Exception:  If the local VR&E office has access to the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), an encrypted e-mail with the claimant’s name, claim number, and date of the rating decision should be sufficient notification. This will alert VR&E personnel to retrieve the document from the eFolder.
  • VR&E will work with the VSC at each RO to determine the proper mailbox to receive rating notifications.
  • VR&E will be responsible for notifying the VSC any time there is a change in the mailbox designation for such rating notifications.

IX.i.1.B.3.e.  Reevaluation on the Basis of Medical Infeasibility

If the Vocational Rehabilitation Panel determines temporary or permanent medical infeasibility for rehabilitation of a Veteran rated less than 100-percent disabled, VR&E will refer the case with a statement of the facts to the rating activity for reevaluation.
Note:  The determination of infeasibility constitutes an adequate basis for rating activity consideration of the case.

IX.i.1.B.3.f.  Reevaluation When Rehabilitation Becomes Medically Feasible

If the decision of medical infeasibility was temporary and resulted in an increased rating, VR&E will refer the case for reevaluation to the rating activity if the Veteran becomes medically feasible for rehabilitation.
Reference:  For more information on medical feasibility, see M28R, Part 4, Section B, Chapter 2.13.

IX.i.1.B.3.g.  Notifying VR&E of Changes to the Veteran’s SC Evaluation

Per M28-2, Part II, Change 3, Chapter 1, 1.06, in all instances for a Veteran currently participating in a VR&E evaluation or program, when there is a change in the evaluation of the Veteran’s SC disability, provide a copy of the changed rating to VR&E Service.
Important:  This includes any changes in a final rating that differ from the memorandum rating that was issued for vocational rehabilitation purposes.
To help prevent improper payments and ensure a more timely notification to VR&E, the table below provides guidance on steps to take.
Who Is Responsible
rating activity
Searches the Share corporate record to determine if the Veteran has an active Chapter 31 flash.
rating activity
Upon discovery of such a flash, alerts authorization activity of the existence of an active Chapter 31 flash according to locally defined procedures  (such as a special notation on the rating or an e-mail).
authorization activity
Provides a copy of the pertinent rating decision to the appropriate VR&E mailbox or sends an encrypted e-mail to VR&E to inform them of the new rating decision in an eFolder.
Note:  The e-mail must include the
  • name and claim number of the Veteran or service member, and
  • date of the new rating decision.
authorization activity
Enters a note in Modern Awards Processing-Development or VBMS documenting the action and the date it was taken.
  • VR&E will work with the VSC at each RO to determine the proper mailbox to receive rating notifications.
  • VR&E will establish internal procedures to route the notifications to the appropriate VR&E case worker.
Historical_M21-1IX_i_1_SecB_12-7-18.docx May 19, 2019 54 KB
Historical_M21-1IX_i_1_SecB_5-7-15.doc May 19, 2019 111 KB
12-7-18_Key-Changes_M21-1IX_i_1_SecB.docx May 19, 2019 46 KB
2-27-19_Key-Changes_M21-1IX_i_1_SecB.docx May 19, 2019 47 KB
Change-May-7-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1_IX_i_1_SecB_TS_5-7-15.docx May 19, 2019 40 KB
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