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Volunteering And Ptsd


calnight

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I would just would like to hear from the members on there thoughts about volunteering with iu and ptsd. can i do anything i want as long as i dont get paid. or there things i should not do. i get nervous mowing my grass thinking some fed is taking pictures. Its been about 7 months now since i got my 70% and i.u. for ptsd. SOMETIMES I think my ptsd is getting worse becuase i have nothing to keep me busy. I have one thing i do workout alot. i have lost 20 pounds and added alot of muscle. but its my mind that is craving for something. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR STAY AT HOME MOTHERS. For over a year now i have been staying home with my 2 girls 2 and 8 while my wife works. very hard work. and yes ladies i do the cooking. and sometimes the dishes. i know my ptsd limits somethings i would like to do. like being around assholes. I am waiting for a letter from the va or ssd saying we saw you do this __________ and now we are cuttting your benifits. Or we are reviewing your claims. There is no medical evidence in my file that comes close to say i can work.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Unpaid Volunteer work is no problem. I would say you have a lot to do with two children with one at home unless you are using day care. If you live near a VA Hospital there is plenty of volunteer work available.

Another thing you can do is help Veterans with their claims.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

As I read your post, I really thought about years ago when I retired from my military careeer mostly **micromanaged and on rare occasion *macro-managed. When applying for unemployment, I worried about presenting my job search efforts in detail, duplicate with carbon paper and notorization. To this day, I work hard to get that micromanged monkey off my back and "grow up" from asking permission for simple choices like which side of the road to walk on. As of late, I feel old enough and choose to walk through the field avoiding the road entirely!

As a rule, I think that we disabled veterans are probably some of the most honest Americans that try to live by set laws. For instance, we work hard at validating our issues within the VA guidelines and experience paperwork trials to simply request approved care and compensation. So I return to macromanagement, trying to take care of big important issues, myself and family.

Like Pete said, volunteering is good too. I do and recieve immeasurable returns! Maybe you could check with a VSO or the VA, anyway, just being there, listening or talking to others is grand. Personally, I get inspired seeing parents and grandparents take on hard to fill cross walk or playground duty jobs ($7.00 to $9.00, for eight hours a week!) Good luck and great going on the workouts! cg

*macro-manage - taking care of big (important) issues, delegate and move forward

**micromange (nit-picking) details, extreme attention to small details

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I don't think the VA spys on disabled vets. Neither does SSA. Now with workers compensation it is a different story. They do spy on people out of work. They hire private dicks to use very tricky stuff to watch you.

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I would just would like to hear from the members on there thoughts about volunteering with iu and ptsd. can i do anything i want as long as i dont get paid. or there things i should not do. i get nervous mowing my grass thinking some fed is taking pictures. Its been about 7 months now since i got my 70% and i.u. for ptsd. SOMETIMES I think my ptsd is getting worse becuase i have nothing to keep me busy. I have one thing i do workout alot. i have lost 20 pounds and added alot of muscle. but its my mind that is craving for something. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR STAY AT HOME MOTHERS. For over a year now i have been staying home with my 2 girls 2 and 8 while my wife works. very hard work. and yes ladies i do the cooking. and sometimes the dishes. i know my ptsd limits somethings i would like to do. like being around assholes. I am waiting for a letter from the va or ssd saying we saw you do this __________ and now we are cuttting your benifits. Or we are reviewing your claims. There is no medical evidence in my file that comes close to say i can work.

My wife has very similar issues, but her PTSD doesn't allow her to do much of anything for more than a very brief period (she can become suicidal over the laundry). However, she feels much the same way you do and, in time, I think she may be able to volunteer somewhere even if it's only for a few hours per week.

With that said, you are TDIU which, oddly enough, seems better protected than someone who is 100% schedular for PTSD, so I think you can be fairly safe as long as you maintain a good medical history (don't stop seeing psychs and taking meds) and you do your volunteering somewhere that isn't linked to the government. Also, I probably wouldn't make a full time job out of it (IE - 30-40 hrs a week).

BTW, I feel your pain....I raised my 3 kids while the wife was in the AF (while going to school at night) and I currently work from home to take care of the kids & the wife. It's mind-numbing work that very few people seem to respect (especially when it's the father). I know I would MUCH rather do my 40 hrs in a job in which I was paid outside of the home:-)

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:D

My wife has very similar issues, but her PTSD doesn't allow her to do much of anything for more than a very brief period (she can become suicidal over the laundry). However, she feels much the same way you do and, in time, I think she may be able to volunteer somewhere even if it's only for a few hours per week.

With that said, you are TDIU which, oddly enough, seems better protected than someone who is 100% schedular for PTSD, so I think you can be fairly safe as long as you maintain a good medical history (don't stop seeing psychs and taking meds) and you do your volunteering somewhere that isn't linked to the government. Also, I probably wouldn't make a full time job out of it (IE - 30-40 hrs a week).

BTW, I feel your pain....I raised my 3 kids while the wife was in the AF (while going to school at night) and I currently work from home to take care of the kids & the wife. It's mind-numbing work that very few people seem to respect (especially when it's the father). I know I would MUCH rather do my 40 hrs in a job in which I was paid outside of the home:-)

:rolleyes: Alright, wake up out there. If you have PTSD and you need something to do go to Vocational rehab and ask for independent living. You have to play the game but stick to your guns and tell them you are only interested in "independent living". Then tell them what you like to do, cook, work on cars, take pictures, etc. Something you are interested in personnally and they will provide you with the means to control your interests by providing you with the tools you need. I like to take pictures and they bought me a camera and then got me some education at the local community college on how to use the camera and take pictures etc. Some guys I know are mechanics and like to toodle around the house working on their car or some other guys car and they bought them some tools to work with. Some got a computer to do some projects at home, in other words they have to provide you something to help you cope with PTSD, and take your mind of the PTSD by allowing you to do whatever you like to do as a hobby say. Make sure VOC Rehab knows you are NOT seeking employment only "independent lving". Works for me and the vets I counsel. Good luck

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Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name

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Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships

How is ANY of this conducive to seeking ANY sort of program the VA has to offer? If you want to gamble your benefits away then so be it, but everyone else should be cautious when using ANY VA program when you are 100% (or tdiu) with PTSD...the ratings criteria is ridiculous and even the slightest hint of anything even remotely resembling a social life can mean a reduction in one's rating.

P.S. - If you can do the things you've said than you do not qualify for your benefits under current VA criteria....you can argue the criteria, but it's the law as of today.

Edited by Jay Johnson
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  • HadIt.com Elder

I don't agree with Jay. If a 100% Veteran wants to Volunteer even the VA would consider it therapy. A Volunteer can select their hours and if they are not up to it not go. Having something to do is a big help to me. At the same time I know there is not a chance in hell I could do a 8 hour and five day a week gig.

Since I have been disabled I have helped over 40 people do the paper work and encouraged to get their benefits. I am pretty specific about what I do but the first thing is I meet them and go over their disability and work history and than if I think that they have a chance I offer to help. I help them fill out the paper work. I talk to them almost every day and try to encourage them.

Almost all of the people I have helped offered to pay me and I always give them the same answer. I am paid by the government and I do this with no intention of being paid by you. At the same time I will do my best but this is your claim and you will have to make the decisions of how to handle stuff.

There are many days I never even get out of the house but when my Brother was sick in the Hospital I was out every day riding to many places with my brothers and sisters. We had 4 adult guests who stayed in our house for a week and although I was very worried about my brother I enjoyed having my family close again.

So if a 100% Veteran wants to Volunteer I think it is a good thing. If they want to work and be paid I think Jay is right about that. Since I get SSD and VA Disability I am not going to risk it on a minimum wage job. I consider myself retired and that is all anyone needs to know.

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:huh: Alright, wake up out there. If you have PTSD and you need something to do go to Vocational rehab and ask for independent living. You have to play the game but stick to your guns and tell them you are only interested in "independent living". Then tell them what you like to do, cook, work on cars, take pictures, etc. Something you are interested in personnally and they will provide you with the means to control your interests by providing you with the tools you need. I like to take pictures and they bought me a camera and then got me some education at the local community college on how to use the camera and take pictures etc. Some guys I know are mechanics and like to toodle around the house working on their car or some other guys car and they bought them some tools to work with. Some got a computer to do some projects at home, in other words they have to provide you something to help you cope with PTSD, and take your mind of the PTSD by allowing you to do whatever you like to do as a hobby say. Make sure VOC Rehab knows you are NOT seeking employment only "independent lving". Works for me and the vets I counsel. Good luck

VOC REHAB? YOU NEED TO WAKE UP. FIRST I WENT TO VOC REHAB AND GOT TURNED DOWN. WHEN YOU PUT YOUR HANDS ON A SUPERVISOR AT WORK NOBODY WANTS TO DEAL WITH YOU. BELIEVE ME IF I COULD HANDLE A 8 HOUR A DAY JOB I CALL THE VA AND SSD AND TELL THEM TO STOP PAYING ME. I CARE LESS ABOUT THE MONEY ITS TRUE IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY YES IT MIGHT MAKE YOUR LIFE ALITTLE EASIER. BUT WHEN YOUR 34 YEARS OLD AND YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOME KIND OF HOBBY TO KEEP YOU MIND FROM BECOMING JELLO. I UNDERSTAND IF I WAS IN MY 50s OR 60s +. I HATE HAVING PTSD I WISH I COULD TAKE A MAGIC PILL TO MAKE IT GO AWAY. I HAVE TOLD MY FRIENDS WHO WERE AND STILL ARE IN IRAQ AND WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM PTSD TO GET HELP NOW. SOME REFUSE BECUASE THEY ARE AFRAID OF WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THERE CAREER. AND THE ONES WHO ARE OUT I EXPLAIN THAT BEING I.U. HAS A DOUBLE EDGE SWORD. YES YOU WILL GET PAID BUT SOME OF THE THINGS YOU WANTED TO DO JOBS AND CAREERS CAN NOT BE DONE.FOR EXAMPLE ALOT OF MY FRIENDS WANT TO GO INTO LAW ENFORCMENT. BEING MARINES THEY FEEL ITS A GREAT CAREER. I SAY GREAT BUT IF YOU ARE GETTING VA COMP FOR PTSD I DONT CARE IF ITS ONLY 30% THEY WILL NOT TAKE YOU. NO LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIE WILL TAKE SOME ONE WITH A MENTALL HEALTH ISSUE. SOME OF MY FRIENDS SAY THEY WILL KEEP THERE MOUTHS SHUT AND DEAL WITH THERE NIGHTMARES BY THEM SELVES.

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calnight,

Volunteer work is a gray area when it comes to TDIU vets, but if you really want to volunteer, go do it. See how it works out for you.

Although the concensus in the assorted online veterans forums re: volunteering is NOT to do it as it MAY jeopardize your 100% TDIU rating -- especially if it's keeping regular hours as someone has already mentioned -- I have never seen any posts where a vet actually reported he/she was doing volunteer work, the VA found out (most likely due to someone reporting him/her because of questioning his/her 100% unemployable status if he/she could keep such regular hours and do such productive work) and called in by the VA for an explanation.

There MAY BE some posts on one of these vet forums where this actually DID happen to a vet, but I do not recall ever seeing one. And although I haven't researched the archive posts for any such cases, not having seen any in normal reading of these assorted vet forums -- for a few years now -- suggests there may be none to find. I just can't say for sure.

So go ahead and do it.

After all, you don't have to argue your case here with us for doing volunteer work, you'll only have to argue it with the VA if you are ever questioned about it.

BTW, bobbyq was talking about Independent Living (IL), not Vocational Rehailitation (VR). Maybe VR oversees IL (I don't know) -- and so that's why you would have to go to the VR office -- but he was not saying to go see VR to get trained for some type of regular job or anything. You defnitely WOULD get denied VR services if they thought you weren't a suitable candidate...but then again, this VR denial often helps vets get TDIU.

Good luck,

-- John D.

P.S. The VA can be intimidating. I mean legally-speaking, you can actually WORK regular hours each month and earn additional income, IF, that is, you do not make more than the poverty-level cut-off each year (I forget the current exact amount). This is considered "marginal employment" and is perfectly legal -- on paper anyway. In real-life application? I don't know...I've never tried it. Regardless, most TDIU vets won't even risk doing something that's legal (in the VA regs) like marginally working for fear of getting "inappropriate" VA attention. Rightly or wrongly, they feel the same way about volunteering.

-- JD

Edited by cloudcroft
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Volunteer and see how it works out. Plenty of places to answer the phone, pound nails (Habitat), Delivery Food to needy (Foodbanks), Help Kids (Schools).

I Answer Phones for 3 hrs on Monday, 1st Tue of the Month Helps Vets at Nursing Home (On Trips), Going to start at Local High School in Photo Class soon (as they get out of classroom).

I just try to do enough to make life fun. Sometimes too much (I hurt from Back Problems and Such).

U got to get out of the House. Hobbies etc. I actually look forward to Snow Blowing (when it happens). The Pain part I don't.

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I don't agree with Jay. If a 100% Veteran wants to Volunteer even the VA would consider it therapy. A Volunteer can select their hours and if they are not up to it not go. Having something to do is a big help to me. At the same time I know there is not a chance in hell I could do a 8 hour and five day a week gig.

Since I have been disabled I have helped over 40 people do the paper work and encouraged to get their benefits. I am pretty specific about what I do but the first thing is I meet them and go over their disability and work history and than if I think that they have a chance I offer to help. I help them fill out the paper work. I talk to them almost every day and try to encourage them.

Almost all of the people I have helped offered to pay me and I always give them the same answer. I am paid by the government and I do this with no intention of being paid by you. At the same time I will do my best but this is your claim and you will have to make the decisions of how to handle stuff.

There are many days I never even get out of the house but when my Brother was sick in the Hospital I was out every day riding to many places with my brothers and sisters. We had 4 adult guests who stayed in our house for a week and although I was very worried about my brother I enjoyed having my family close again.

So if a 100% Veteran wants to Volunteer I think it is a good thing. If they want to work and be paid I think Jay is right about that. Since I get SSD and VA Disability I am not going to risk it on a minimum wage job. I consider myself retired and that is all anyone needs to know.

I didn't say a 100% vet shouldn't volunteer; I said they shouldn't do it through the VA. The regs are quite clear and if you are volunteering (and they catch you) you are NOT 100% by the VA criteria.

I think's it's a real grey area, but if you're going to risk it then do so wisely.......getting the VA involved in the process is just a horrible idea though!

Just because the law is in the veteran's favor, in the end, it doesn't mean the RO won't make your life hell until you can get the BVA to follow doctrine on this topic....I've had an RO try to drop my wife from 100% A&A/P&T to 50% based on a note from a PA that said she could handle her finances. We were just lucky in that we got it "fixed" at the DRO level; we could have been in poverty and lost everything until the BVA process took place.

PTSD is VERY, VERY subjective and it is VERY hard to argue the whole medical evidence issue (how they weight it), so getting caught having an even remotely normal life can cost you your benefits in the short term....is just depends on how big of an Ahole your rater happens to be.

So, again, volunteer if you want, but keep the VA out of it....there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that do not involve the VA in some official capacity.

P.S. - TDIU is a slightly different beast BTW; even if the RO tried to lower someone based on rating's criteria,due to volunteer work, the TDIU status would trump it because it does not express an ability to hold gainful employment.....50% TDIU is the same pay rate as 70% TDIU, so there's no point in messing with the claim.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I swear my local Regional Office has a sign out front for compensated work therapy. How would that work for someone who is TDIU?

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