Thank you for your feedback, your input and insight is greatly appreciated. Here is the vague details for a public posting.
Currently service connected for 20% on knee injuries. The injury has progressed and I am no longer able to do any heavy lifting which limits previous job. That is what Voc Rehab was approved for.
I left the limited work I was doing to go back to school originally with Voc Rehab. (And now lack the mental capacity and financial resources to back.)
The mental break has me in an outpatient treatment program with the VA. The situation was the final straw to make the load unmanageable. VA therapist supports that existing issues are service connected for a future claim. While the increase in mental health issues creates some limitations, I can work around these.
The food stamps included applications for SSDI which was recently denied because I am medically certified to work around specific limitations. I do want to get back to work and I do not have the desire to push through the limitations with self medication.
The college is VA approved. The GI Bill is not available since the time limit has passed. The college is quite helpful and financial aid is the only option. It would be much more difficult and I am not sure feasible to do just financial aid at this point. It would be much easier having tuition, books, stipend and a computer covered by Voc Rehab - it would also be less stressful.
Communication with VR&E has been email and snail mail, there has been no IRIS. At this point I suspect the IRIS would yield the same responses since it would come from the same person. Could be wrong on this.
The VSO that I have has is understaffed and suffers heavy rotation. 5 different service officers in the first 6 to 8 months so I stopped counting. Did call and they recommended speaking to a supervisor.
The VR&E proposed path is longer, more expensive, interferes with medical limitations and does not match my interests. Their attitude is take it or leave it and by their timeline I am sure school will be an option in August 2010.
My request is VA Approved program, cheaper, quicker to return me to work and matches my abilities, aptitudes and interests.
I was hoping to go in this week and speak with a supervisor. My biggest fear is getting another well take it or leave it. Even if they are willing to hear it out, starting in 30 days is fast in VA time.
Any suggestions or experience on dealing or getting the VA to help is greatly appreciated.