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Senior Chief Petty Officer
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About Bonzai

  • Rank
    E-7 Chief Petty Officer
  • Birthday 05/08/1961

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  • Interests
    Staying current with news, Helping others and volunteering when I can, Avid reader of Science Fiction & Fantasy, NCAA Football, Cooking, and Spoiling my Grandson!

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service

Recent Profile Visitors

1,322 profile views
  1. A couple of weeks ago, I was informed by the Nashville VR&E Regional Office that I was finally assigned a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in Memphis. After calling and getting the wrong departments for an hour and a half, I finally was able to talk to him. From the beginning of the phone call he was extremely rude, because I must have interrupted his afternoon siesta. I explained that I was trying to re-enter the VR&E program to beome trained in a career that I could work in. He flat out lied and stated that the VR&E program is NOT for education, and I had to use GI B
  2. I have been in serious discussion with a mother of a professional photographer, and found out that there is a reason for all the closings of photography studios around the Country. The field is fairly well saturated, and most photographers freelance out of their own homes and have the developing done off-site. I support my wife’s dream of achieving her dream of being a freelance photojournalism photographer with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. However, I am now doubtful as to making a photography studio a success. So I am back to square one, and researching something that I can do s
  3. I really do appreciate the feedback. Yes, I used logic to find a self-employment career that I would find self-fulfilling. Although, the digital camera we have is "my wife's", I steal it quite often to take pictures. I have used Photoshop for over 20 years to edit photographs in many ways, but I am not as proficient as I would love to be. I am even trained in AutoCAD. I often mix media to create unique photos, of backgrounds, images inserted, and then overlay with parts of the background that I have copied and erased everything but desired foreground to give the pictures more depth. It i
  4. Tomas89031, Thank you for your suggestion. I was quite an active member on HadIt years ago, but I had to choose between here and devoting more time to a different board dealing with problems people encounter with the Social Security Disability Process that was in more need of my services. I chose the latter, and established a section for veterans. I am not the board's owner, but I am the main Administrator of the site now. I have been able to recruit a team consisting of a co-administrator (to cover for me, when I am not available) and four Moderators. The board now runs smoothly and
  5. Please pardon the length of my post, but I am looking for feedback. I haven’t been on the board for awhile, and already miss the critique that Carlie and Stretch would have offered. I am 100% service-connected Permanent and Total for Bipolar Disorder. I was awarded 100% in October 2009, backdated to September 2007. Initially, I was in the VA system from 1994 to mid-1997, before they finally successfully diagnosed me as having a Bipolar Disorder. I responded to medication treatment well for seven years (during which time I used the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)
  6. I bought ASI for my wife and have no complaints, and we have used it a lot.
  7. I really had to look for this post to update the status. After 17 months, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's denial and remanded my claim for another hearing with seven issues to address. Seven months later, I had a second hearing with the same ALJ, but this time the hearing took over 45 minutes. Seven weeks after the remanded hearing, I received a fully favorable decision in the mail. So boys and girls, it is worth appealing an ALJ's denial, provided your attorney knows what was done wrong in the hearing and how to write the brief to the Appeals Council.
  8. Bonzai


    Very good, I am on great terms with my lawyer - I am anticipating problems after I get my in-home assessment done.
  9. Bonzai


    Interesting, since I am running into the same thing through my VRC at the Memphis Voc-Rehab ILP. I had to fight for in-home assessment coming up on July 5th, as the VRC was trying to close my case without one. I am in the process of writing down the barriers that 'need' to be address to help me live more independently - after all, isn't that what the program is for?
  10. When I felt I got low-balled on my rating, I looked up a NOVA lawyer near me. I went to his office with my letter of award and some of my records. We immediately agreed he would represent me, and he wrote up my NOD and ordered my entire c-file for me. When I was awarded 100% six months later, he told me that there was no charge, as most of the work was done for him. I realize that the lawyer I have is really an exception, and not everyone would have done so. In the meanwhile, I have had him representing me in trying to obtain SSDI benefits, and we have had a battle that has been going on
  11. I just had my second ALJ hearing with a Vocational Expert sitting in via Video TeleConference (VTC), last week. I also requested a review of the first ALJ denial from the Appeals Council, and was granted it on seven issues that the ALJ has to address. I had my wife available to testify, but my lawyer felt that we didn't need her testimony. I would say that your odds on receiving Social Security Disability Insurance are really dependent upon the new ALJ you have. You should have a different ALJ, since you are in a different ODAR office, but then they can always VTC you with the old one (p
  12. Bonzai


    In the decision that I received regarding my claim being closed, the VRC wrote "if I don't hear from you by xx/xx/xx (30 days from date of letter being sent out), your case will be moved to discontinued status". I have ignored this, as I have an email sent to me earlier that same day, granting me an in-home assessment. I didn't wait to get the letter, and contacted Ms. Fanning's office, an a VRC there sent my complaint to Nashville RO, and then *poof* - action on my claim. I know I am going to have to fight tooth and nail, but that's OK by me.
  13. Bonzai


    I met with the Occupational Therapist on Monday, and this morning I received a call from the ILP counselor. She stated that since the OT said that I did not need bars on my bathtub or other necessities to move around with, there was nothing that ILP could do for me. She says that she KNOWS that I have mentioned hobbies in the previous meeting, but they just don't do that per Nashville. She then told me she was closing my case. I have called Ruth Fanning's office and am awaiting a call back. The Memphis VA ILP Voc-Rehab office seems to think that it can ignore VAOPGCPREC 34-97 completely
  14. This is just my opinion, but I would rather have something rather than nothing. I am currently in a battle with Social Security and have my second ALJ hearing with a very low approval rate Administrative Law Judge in three weeks. I met with my lawyer yesterday, and we are prepared for yet another denial and going forth to request a review from the Appeals Council. If that gets denied, then we will file in District Court - where my lawyer is sure we will win, and EAJA fees will then come into play. To answer the original question, EAJA fees are awarded when the claimant wins their case
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