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Stafford Loan


HolliGreen

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Hello, I will preface my post with an apology lest I unintentionally %*#@ anyone off. :)

First, I am thankful and grateful for the compensation and benefits the VA has seen fit to award me for my schedular 100% service-connected, T&P diseases of multiple sclerosis and asthma.

At this point in my life I would very much like to earn my Masters degree at my B.A. alma mater. I do not learn as well in an online environment, interaction with fellow classmates works best.

It appears I fit in no category for VA help with financing my Masters; I have spoken to the Voc Rehab rep and he told me I am not eligible. Independent Living? grab bars are already installed in my tub.

The bulk of my time has been spent searching for grants, scholarships, etc.

The Stafford loan appears to be my best and only option.

BTW-I am a peace-time era vet with two sets of active duty: 1st:Sept. 80-Sept. 84. Honorable Discharge. 2nd: Feb. 85 - Nov. 87- Honorable medical discharge for asthma.

The first symptom of MS appeared during the second enlistment while stationed in South Korea.

Any thoughts, information, suggestions will be so very, very much appreciated.

Also, I do not want to come off sounding like a spoiled brat because I know both personally and from Hadit, there are folks worse off than myself. Have a good day. Holli

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Holli:

Glad to see you back. I recommend that you pay a visit to the people at your school who help people with scholarships and student loans. If you lived in Texas your tuition would be free using Hazelwood Act if a State School.

Maybe your School or State offers some help. Grants are better than Loans.

Good Luck

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Holli:

Glad to see you back. I recommend that you pay a visit to the people at your school who help people with scholarships and student loans. If you lived in Texas your tuition would be free using Hazelwood Act if a State School.

Maybe your School or State offers some help. Grants are better than Loans.

Good Luck

Are you sure of this Pete? I have seen some fairly liberal education benefits for disabled vets, but I've never seen a program that covers any graduate work (not saying it isn't true; I've just never heard of it).

Holli,

Talk to the folks at your school (the VA folks in particular) and see what scholarships there are out there for you....given your status, you may have a leg up in qualifying for some of the grants available, but scholarships are a huge PITA, so you'll likely need help from someone qualified to direct you in that endeavor.

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Guest Dataman

Hg;

Be careful with Education and Age and SSA Disability. If you draw SSA Disability having higher degree will force you into different cat.

see www.severe.net

Grid

I know I also applied for Retraining when I applied for TDIU. They turned me down for Retraining.

Stay Well

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  • HadIt.com Elder
Are you sure of this Pete? I have seen some fairly liberal education benefits for disabled vets, but I've never seen a program that covers any graduate work (not saying it isn't true; I've just never heard of it).

Holli,

Talk to the folks at your school (the VA folks in particular) and see what scholarships there are out there for you....given your status, you may have a leg up in qualifying for some of the grants available, but scholarships are a huge PITA, so you'll likely need help from someone qualified to direct you in that endeavor.

That is true for Texas Veterans attending any State School including all the Jr Colleges that are not private. Its called the Hazelwood Act.

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Hg;

Be careful with Education and Age and SSA Disability. If you draw SSA Disability having higher degree will force you into different cat.

see www.severe.net

Grid

I know I also applied for Retraining when I applied for TDIU. They turned me down for Retraining.

Stay Well

...Thank you all for the information. Dataman: the Voc Rehab rep briefly addressed the higher education issue as it pertains to the VA...interesting about the SSA...my, they all are a tricky bunch :) As a matter of fact, I am a disability retired federal employee (under FERS) and anyone who has retired in that way knows the VA, SSA, and the disability retirement process must be in concert for the retirement to be approved. This new information sure throws a monkey wrench into this. Last question: if I somehow managed to win the lottery (mega-doubtful) and paid tuition outright how would this affect the SSA situation? It is really something else how the system operates, a person with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis is very unlikely to return to work. At this time there is no cure for MS (plenty of BIG PHARMA first generation injectible medicines though) and as any self-respecting neurologist knows, with MS you only go one way and that way is down. Anyway, I will explore that site. BTW my age is early forties. Thank you all again. H.G. P.S. It is good to be back, I have missed everyone.

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That is true for Texas Veterans attending any State School including all the Jr Colleges that are not private. Its called the Hazelwood Act.

Thanks, it sounds like a good program and I did some digging on it to see what it's about:

Question 29: Can Hazlewood Act benefits be used for graduate school?

Answer: Yes. Hazlewood Act benefits may be used for graduate studies, including law school or any other program of study at public institutions (other than non-funded continuing education) if the veteran has not already accumulated 150 credit hours using Hazlewood Act benefits since fall 1995.

The only downside I can see is that it kinda screws guard members and doesn't extend benefits to spouses, but, other than that, it's a good bill. It sounds perfect for people who used Ch 35 for their BA and want to move on to a masters+......it appears that you have to exhaust your Ch 35 benefits before using the hazelwood act and there's a 150 credit limit, so it should be perfect in that instance.

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Holli,

What degree are you seeking? Many colleges have their own financial aid packages for Grad students. When I got my Master's in Communication - I had a grad assistanship - where I taught two under grad classes while going to grad school. I got free tuition and fees - and got paid for 20 hours a week employment. My husband got his degree in Sociology. He got a grad assistantship in which spent 10 hours a week "office hours" to help any undergrads that came by for assistance, or do some research for faculty members. He got free tuition and fees and was paid for 10 hours a week.

With these types of porgrams - you would talk to the department, not the financial aid office. Most departments have these types of programs to draw grad students to their programs.

A 10 hour a week position wouldn't pay much - but should also not be considered "employment" for SSD. It is considered more financial aid.

One thing to watch with a student loan is they DO have a forgiveness clause for student loans - based on total and permanent disability. But IF you take a loan out when you are already disabled - the forgiveness clause doesn't count - UNLESS your condition deteriorates.

To get the loan forgiven - you need a doctor's statement that you are not able to do ANY gainful employment. After that - you are given a conditional discharge (you don't have to pay but the loan is not forgiven) for 3 years. During this time (once you are in the condtional discharge period) you CAN work - but will be off the program if you earn over the federal poverty wage for a family of two.

After 3 years of conditional discharge - the loan can actually be forgiven - wiped out.

If you already disabled when you take the loan out - it might be hard to use this forgiveness program if you need it later - though it does say you can use it if your condition deteriorates.

SO I would think you could build a case that when you took out the loan you were seeking training to do a job you COULD do with your disbility. And if your condition got worse - where you could not do that job - you could have a case for loan forgiveness.

free

Hello, I will preface my post with an apology lest I unintentionally %*#@ anyone off. :)

First, I am thankful and grateful for the compensation and benefits the VA has seen fit to award me for my schedular 100% service-connected, T&P diseases of multiple sclerosis and asthma.

At this point in my life I would very much like to earn my Masters degree at my B.A. alma mater. I do not learn as well in an online environment, interaction with fellow classmates works best.

It appears I fit in no category for VA help with financing my Masters; I have spoken to the Voc Rehab rep and he told me I am not eligible. Independent Living? grab bars are already installed in my tub.

The bulk of my time has been spent searching for grants, scholarships, etc.

The Stafford loan appears to be my best and only option.

BTW-I am a peace-time era vet with two sets of active duty: 1st:Sept. 80-Sept. 84. Honorable Discharge. 2nd: Feb. 85 - Nov. 87- Honorable medical discharge for asthma.

The first symptom of MS appeared during the second enlistment while stationed in South Korea.

Any thoughts, information, suggestions will be so very, very much appreciated.

Also, I do not want to come off sounding like a spoiled brat because I know both personally and from Hadit, there are folks worse off than myself. Have a good day. Holli

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Holli,

What degree are you seeking? Many colleges have their own financial aid packages for Grad students. When I got my Master's in Communication - I had a grad assistanship - where I taught two under grad classes while going to grad school. I got free tuition and fees - and got paid for 20 hours a week employment. My husband got his degree in Sociology. He got a grad assistantship in which spent 10 hours a week "office hours" to help any undergrads that came by for assistance, or do some research for faculty members. He got free tuition and fees and was paid for 10 hours a week.

With these types of porgrams - you would talk to the department, not the financial aid office. Most departments have these types of programs to draw grad students to their programs.

A 10 hour a week position wouldn't pay much - but should also not be considered "employment" for SSD. It is considered more financial aid.

One thing to watch with a student loan is they DO have a forgiveness clause for student loans - based on total and permanent disability. But IF you take a loan out when you are already disabled - the forgiveness clause doesn't count - UNLESS your condition deteriorates.

To get the loan forgiven - you need a doctor's statement that you are not able to do ANY gainful employment. After that - you are given a conditional discharge (you don't have to pay but the loan is not forgiven) for 3 years. During this time (once you are in the condtional discharge period) you CAN work - but will be off the program if you earn over the federal poverty wage for a family of two.

After 3 years of conditional discharge - the loan can actually be forgiven - wiped out.

If you already disabled when you take the loan out - it might be hard to use this forgiveness program if you need it later - though it does say you can use it if your condition deteriorates.

SO I would think you could build a case that when you took out the loan you were seeking training to do a job you COULD do with your disbility. And if your condition got worse - where you could not do that job - you could have a case for loan forgiveness.

free

Hello Free, many thanks for your informative post, I appreciate the time you took to explain the different options. I am seeking a M.A. in Psychology, my undergrad degree major is Social Science and a minor in Psych.

I retired from a federal civil service position a few years ago, applied for disability retirement which was approved and along with federal disability retirement, it is mandatory to apply for SSDI. As part of the FERS (Federal Employment Retirement System), the applicant must sign legal and binding documents to acknowledge awareness and the illegality of seeking other employment. If the retiree does not adhere to the terms of their retirement, $250,000.00 or a maximun of five years in federal prison will be imposed upon the offender.

The SSA says I can not make any money. My husband and I depend on this money. Also, as my dear husband reminds me (out of his concern) I am ill and must take care of myself lest I slip further down the slippery slope of unpredictable multiple sclerosis.

Again, I appreciate the time and effort you took with your post. Free Spirit, please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Holli

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  • HadIt.com Elder

HolliGreen,

I do not understand your post as I am a FERS retiree also.....I signed no document that said I woulld not seek other employment. I know that I could make up to 30k without a hassle from OPM, but the downside would be finding a job at this point and taking a chance with the VA and SS should things go wrong.

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As for the loan issue - then you might want to check that out - and know going into it whether or not your loan can be forgiven if your condition gets worse.

You can also check into grad programs that would give you the free tuition and fees with no work requirements.

Free

Hello Free, many thanks for your informative post, I appreciate the time you took to explain the different options. I am seeking a M.A. in Psychology, my undergrad degree major is Social Science and a minor in Psych.

I retired from a federal civil service position a few years ago, applied for disability retirement which was approved and along with federal disability retirement, it is mandatory to apply for SSDI. As part of the FERS (Federal Employment Retirement System), the applicant must sign legal and binding documents to acknowledge awareness and the illegality of seeking other employment. If the retiree does not adhere to the terms of their retirement, $250,000.00 or a maximun of five years in federal prison will be imposed upon the offender.

The SSA says I can not make any money. My husband and I depend on this money. Also, as my dear husband reminds me (out of his concern) I am ill and must take care of myself lest I slip further down the slippery slope of unpredictable multiple sclerosis.

Again, I appreciate the time and effort you took with your post. Free Spirit, please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Holli

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HolliGreen,

I do not understand your post as I am a FERS retiree also.....I signed no document that said I woulld not seek other employment. I know that I could make up to 30k without a hassle from OPM, but the downside would be finding a job at this point and taking a chance with the VA and SS should things go wrong.

Hi JR Reihs, I signed many documents, submitted many documents, requested many documents for and to OPM. Of particular note is your statement about the "downside"...exactly my point here, I can not and will not take a chance at jepordizing (sp?) my hard fought for VA and SS should anything go wrong. H.G.

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I'm also FERS disability retirement, SSDI and IU and was told that for FERS Disability Retirement that I could earn up to 80% of my previous income without penalty (similar to what Reihs said) but that would be disastrous for IU!

Steve

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Social Security has the limit for substantial gainful employment. You can earn a certain amount - but I sure wouldn't get close to the amount. I think if you earn over $500 a month - that is counted as a trial work month.

A 10 hour a week appointment for a school would be free tuition and maybe about $300 a month. I'm sure that could be offset for Social Security with impairment related work expenses.

Again, they might have programs for free tuition only - with no work requirements.

Free

I'm also FERS disability retirement, SSDI and IU and was told that for FERS Disability Retirement that I could earn up to 80% of my previous income without penalty (similar to what Reihs said) but that would be disastrous for IU!

Steve

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