(a)General. A veteran requesting or being furnished assistance under Chapter 31 shall be provided professional counseling services by Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Service and other staff as necessary to:
(1) Carry out an initial evaluation in each case in which assistance is requested;
(2) Develop a rehabilitation plan or plan for employment services in each case in which the veteran is found during the initial evaluation to be eligible and entitled to services;
(3) Assist veterans found ineligible for services under Chapter 31 to the extent provided in § 21.82; and
(4) Try to overcome problems which arise during the course of the veteran's rehabilitation program or program of employment services.
(c)Qualifications. Counseling services may only be furnished by VA or other personnel who meet requirements established under provisions of § 21.380 and other policies of the VA pertaining to the qualifications of staff providing assistance under Chapter 31.
(1) If a veteran resides within a State, counseling services necessary to carry out the initial evaluation and the development of a rehabilitation plan or a program of employment services will be furnished by counseling psychologists in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Division;
(2) If a veteran does not reside in a State the counseling services necessary to carry out an initial evaluation may be accomplished in the same manner as for a veteran residing in a State or through other arrangements when deemed appropriate by the VR&E Division. These alternative arrangements include, but are not limited to:
(i) Use of counseling centers or individual qualified professionals under contract to VA; and
(ii) Professional staff of other Federal agencies located in the area in which the veteran resides.
(3) Alternative arrangements to provide counseling are subject to the following requirements:
(i) All arrangements must be consistent with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section regarding utilization of professionally qualified persons to provide counseling services during the initial evaluation;
(ii) All determinations of eligibility, entitlement and the development of a rehabilitation plan will continue to be made by counseling psychologists in the VR&E Division.
(4) If a counseling psychologist in the VR&E Division determines that the evidence of record is insufficient to carry out an initial evaluation in a case in which alternative arrangements were used, VA staff may authorize the veteran to travel to a VA facility to complete the evaluation.