(a)Time limit for eligibility to receive vocational rehabilitation.
(1) For purposes of §§ 21.41 through 21.46, the term basic period of eligibility means the 12-year period beginning on the date of a veteran's discharge or release from his or her last period of active military, naval, or air service, and ending on the date that is 12 years from the veteran's discharge or release date, but the beginning date may be deferred or the ending date extended under the sections referred to in paragraph (b) of this section. (See§§ 21.70 through 21.79 concerning duration of rehabilitation programs.)
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, the period during which an individual may receive a program of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 is limited to his or her basic period of eligibility.
(b)Deferral and extension of the basic period of eligibility. VA may defer the beginning date of a veteran's basic period of eligibility under § 21.42. VA may extend the ending date of a veteran's basic period of eligibility under § 21.42 (extension due to medical condition); § 21.44 (extension for a veteran with a serious employment handicap), § 21.45 (extension during a program of independent living services and assistance), and § 21.46 (extension for a veteran recalled to active duty).
(c)Servicemember entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance before discharge. The basic period of eligibility for a servicemember who is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 for a period before discharge does not run while the servicemember remains on active duty, but begins on the date of discharge from the active military, naval, or air service. The period of eligibility requirements of this section are not applicable to provision of vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under chapter 31 during active duty.