(c)Optional counseling. VA shall provide counseling as needed for the purposes identified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section upon request of the individual. VA shall take appropriate steps (including individual notification where feasible) to acquaint all participants with the availability and advantages of counseling services.
(1) In any case in which VA has rated the veteran as being incompetent, VA must provide counseling as described in 38 U.S.C. 3697A prior to selection of a program of education or training. The counseling will follow the veteran's initial application for benefits or any communication from the veteran or guardian indicating that the veteran wishes to change his or her program. This requirement that counseling be provided is met when—
(i) The veteran has had one or more personal interviews with the counselor;
(ii) The counselor has jointly developed with the veteran recommendations for selecting a program;
(iii) These recommendations have been reviewed with the veteran.
(2) The veteran may follow the recommendations developed in the course of counseling, but is not required to do so.
(3) VA will take no further action on a veteran's application for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 32 unless he or she—
(i) Reports for counseling;
(ii) Cooperates in the counseling process; and
(iii) Completes counseling to the extent required under paragraph (d)(1) of this section.