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Help, I Can't Get Any Real Answers About Vr&e Answers From Vro Rep.


Hello everyone. I'm new to hadit.com and by luck stumbled upon this forum, but haven't been able to find the answers here on hadit.com to the questions about VR&E that I've been trying to get answered by reps from my local VRO. The V.A. reps just keep telling me that the answers to my questions are "above their pay grade." :D Let me explain my situation and if anyone has good advice, I'm very open to anything that will help me at this point.

I was discharged from the Army several years back and given a combined 70% rating from the V.A. 70% mental and 10% knee problems. It just so happens that V.A. math makes 70+10=70. Anyway...that's not what I have questions about. I'm 30 years old, married with a beautiful 6 month old girl. My family is the most important thing to me in my life(as they should be) and I'm trying to figure out the best route to take with the V.A. concerning improving my living and working situations. I have a bachelors degree in music(which is absolutely useless for getting a job in the U.S.), and was in the Army band, but I am now unable to play music anymore due to a NON SC wrist problem. I've been working 1 year contracted English teaching jobs overseas just to support my family for several years, and I think(and I think the V.A. would agree) that this is not "gainful employment." Teaching is making my knee condition worse from standing all day, and dealing with the responsibilities involved with dealing with students, teaching, and standing in front of large classes of students every day is making my mental condition worse. Teaching is stressful and teaching in a foreign country is EXTREMELY STRESSFUL. I can't find a job back home that I would be able to support my family doing(I've been looking and looking, and looking, and NADA). What I'm wondering is: If I apply for VR&E, being rated at 70%, and with the working situation I'm in making my SC conditions worse, would a counselor approve me for VR&E. I know what I would LIKE to do(electrical engineering) and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I would like to try to go back to school to get another bachelors degree in a field that is not only interesting to me, but will allow me to get gainful employment and stay off of Total disability due to unemployability(TDUI?). I'm not going to be able to continue doing what I'm doing for much longer(months, maybe weeks) before either my knee gives out on me or my mind snaps from stress related to my job. I want to work and support my family, but that's not going to be able to happen unless 1)I get approved for VR&E and 2)the V.A. works with me to find a field of work that I can mentally handle. I think that I would be able to do electrical engineering(I'm really interested in it, it's a lot lower stress than teaching), but I would need to start another 4 year degree just to break into this field and can't afford to pay for it myself(and maxed out most of my undergrad loan amounts already and still paying for them). Any ideas from folks experienced in dealing with the V.A., especially VR&E??? Any ideas on what they MIGHT do with my case or what I should be doing? Thanks in advance to anyone who can steer me in the right direction.

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You won't ever get straight answers about VR&E from anyone.. The reason is that it is completely up to one person, your VR&E counsler.

first, you only have 10 years from the date of your award to file for Vocrehab.

Second, they will help you figure out a career, though they will try and find you one that will not require going back to school.. The goal is for them to help you figure out a career, and if you need education to achieve that goal, that so be it.. They will test you and interview you to see if they are going to invest the money. ( Unlike the GI Bill, there is not $$$ limit for schooling in Vocrehab ).

They will give you aptitude test and psych tests, and they will review them with you. .they will suggest career paths. And they will advise you on which would interferre with your disabilities.

The issue you will run into is that you are 70%, and VR&E gets stuck with too many people getting close to a degree and then they file for IU. So they are very careful.

When you go to your first meeting, have a school selected, and even better apply to the school. Dress like it is a job interview and take it very seriously. The story you laid out in your posting is exactly what I would tell them. Getting or not getting Vocrehab has more to do with the person.. If you impress them, you will get it. The 70% and you filing for TDIU is what scares them.. You sound sincere and as long as you are.

I would actually tell them that you need a new career, you have a family to support, and the VA compensation is never going to be enough, even at 100%.. Tell them you want a career that won't get in the way of your medical problems, and you need their help.. ( they always like hearing that you need their help. )

The VA wants you to work, and they want to help you.. Even if you do Vocrehab you can still file for IU. They don't penalize you for trying to be productive.

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Why do you have to go back to school for four years? You already have a four year degree and going back to school and retake classes you've already passed is crazy. All you would need is to select a field and take specific courses you need for your second bachelor's degree. The goal of the VA Voc Rehab was changing around the time when I graduated in 2005. They are trying not to approve four year degrees but to simply find a veteran a job, that's it. They want to put you to work as soon as possible, They will pay for a four year degree but they don't want to. I agree try to have a school and field in mind when you file the claim and have the interview but I don't think you need to retake all the courses over again. I maybe wrong but this may sound better to a Voc Rehab Rep. then taking classes you really don't need. I was getting worst around my graduating time but I did graduate and after I graduated I was required to look for employment but I kept getting sick and was physically hurting. The VA rep. told me he wanted to see a log of everywhere I went to apply for a job, since my degree is in Business Administration I gave him a log of websites I applied to. He stated to me that he gave me $xxxxx to get a degree and I didn't want to work and I said to him you didn't give me anything I earned it, but eventually I was awarded 100% P & T scheduler. Voc Rehab has a twelve year window once notified of award.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Program Services


What is the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program?

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program is authorized by Congress under Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 31. It is sometimes referred to as the Chapter 31 program. The mission of VR&E is to help veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. For veterans with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.

Services that may be provided by VR&E include:

  • comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine abilities, skills, interests, and needs
  • vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning
  • employment services such as job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance
  • assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives
  • if needed, training such as On the Job Training (OJT), apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
  • if needed, post-secondary training at a college, vocational, technical or business school
  • supportive rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and referral
  • independent living services


    APPLY NOW ON-LINE for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefit Programs.

    Click on "VONAPP" Button.


    Who is Eligible for VR&E Services?

    To receive an evaluation for VR&E services, a veteran must:

    • have received, or will receive, a discharge that is other than dishonorable
    • have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10%
    • submit a completed application for VR&E services

    The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E services may be used is 12 years from the latter of the following:

    [*]date of separation from active military service, or

    [*]date the veteran was first notified by VA of a service-connected disability rating.

Edited by pete992

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great posting.. I could have sworn my letter said 10 years.. My daughter is starting college next year for Electrical Engineering, and except for a few core requirements, he will basically have to redo his courses.. The math is intense, along with the other courses.. Most engineering schools have a very specific academic track they have to take.

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Only about 10 credit hours from my Bachelors in MUSIC will carry over to a BACHELORS OF SCIENCE. It's not crazy, the programs are just THAT DIFFERENT. I genuinely DO want to work, but I don't have ANY job skills that would get me a job that could pay enough to support my family. That's why I need a totally different career path. The math stuff is intense for engineering, you're right. I'm studying math by myself right now. I bought Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, and lots of calculus self teaching books. If I take an aptitude test with a VocReh. Counselor, I want to show them that I'm not only serious about being committed to doing the program that I want to do, but have already been trying to improve myself to get ready for the aptitude test so I can score high enough in math that i CAN study engineering. And besides, my current short term jobs are making my condition worse, and I've researched it enough to know that electrical/electronic engineering will fit me well and won't make my conditions worse(no standing, not dealing with large groups of people, etc) Anyway, thanks for everyone that's posted. Please keep the posts and ideas coming. Thanks a million.

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Oh, and I already have a school picked out, but once again, have to get the math skills up to take the SAT's over again(at age 29, almost 30). That's what the school I want to go to requires. Getting accepted is a completely different thing being that it is one of the top 25 engineering schools in the world, but it would be in-state tuition rates for me, therefore costing the V.A. a lot less, plus I think I'd qualify for some academic scholarships after a few semesters of study. This is something that I'm 100% committed to(besides, my wife wouldn't let me be any less than 100% committed). Got myself a good woman that won't let me quit which is just a total blessing. She sees the pain and suffering I'm going through with my current work situation and totally supports me going back to school. As long as I can physically and mentally work, I am going to! I want the best for my wife and even more importantly, that 6 month old baby that I watch sleeping every night before I go to bed!! Thanks again folks.

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