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Can I Start Voc. Rehab. In Ilp And Then Move To Ojt Track?

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Sergeant G



I am receiving IU for bipolar disorder. I would like to know your thoughts about starting VR in the Independent Living Program (ILP) for six months and then switching to the On-the-job training (OJT) track. Here's the deal: I am an attorney who became licensed in 2002. I only worked as an attorney from 2003-2004 and have been out of the legal profession since then. I switched careers several times (because of my illness) until I stopped working and was awarded IU in 2009. Because I have not been active in my profession for a number of years, I am currently unemployable as an attorney (and unemployable in general). I haven't applied for VR yet, but have been trying to come up with a plan to propose for when I do. Before I can work as an attorney, I believe I will need to take at least six months to read up on the law. That's when I envision being in ILP. I am hoping the VA will purchase several law books for me (they are extremely expensive) as well as send me to a few Continuing Legal Education seminars. After that, I wanted to switch to the OJT track. From what I read on the VRE website, the OJT program is available only if the veteran works in a government position (federal, state, or local). I would like to work as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's office. Also, from what I understand, the VR program is generally a maximum of 48 months. How does VR determine when you are "rehabilitated?" I would like to take advantage of all four years in VR, but I'm not sure how much experience I need as a prosecutor to be formally hired if it's possible.

Thanks for input.

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Is your IU rating Permanent and total?

I am assuming that you already have A Bachelor's degree and completion of a three year program as juris doctor-

and wonder what a Voc Rehab counselor could really recommend

"Before I can work as an attorney, I believe I will need to take at least six months to read up on the law. That's when I envision being in ILP. I am hoping the VA will purchase several law books for me (they are extreme...."

Are you a member of the Bar now?

Once you apply for Voc Rehab the counselor will fill you in as to whether Voc Rehab s feasible for you or whether your SC disabilities could prevent rehabilitation.

One thing is for sure- prosecutors have VERY stressful jobs.

I commend you for wanting to return to the legal arena but am not sure how VA would handle your Voc Rehab application or if it would in fact be the best for thing for you to consider.

The ILS program can be searched for here at hait under independent living services.It isn't the same thing as Voc Rehab.

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying---Lewis Puller (Chesty's son USMC ) with PTSD and catastrophic physical disabilities from Vietnam worked as an attorney for the VA Central office in DC after the war. I dont know what his VA rating was or if he even had one but obviously it could have been 100% with SMC.

It took quite a toll on him-= and the results were horrible.

DO you get SSDI? If not you can apply on the Social Security Web site on line and your VA rating will help with that claim.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think the VA would try and help you transition to something in legal field so they don't have to re-educate a guy with a law degree. They want to get you into work as fast as they can so they can save money. Are you permanent and total? What they want to know is if it is feasible to spend money to rehabilitate you. They might ask "He was a lawyer before and he crashed and burned. If we spend more money on him to get him back to lawyering what is there to stop him from crashing and burning again"? I am playing devil's advocate. I think you are rehabilitated when you get a job and are off of TDIU. Do you get SSD as well? Most guys on IU never go back to work so they might be very happy to help you back to work if they think you are well enough. Maybe you could work as some kind of lawyer in the VA. That would be your best shot probably.

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Hi Berta,

Thanks for responding. I believe my rating is permanent and total. My rating decision says that no future exams have been scheduled, so I assume this means I am P&T. And yes, I do receive SSDI for the S/C bipolar as well.

I have a B.A. degree and J.D. as well. I am a member of the Massachusetts bar. My license is currently in "retired" status; however, I can revert to "active" status at any time. I know that being a prosecutor is stressful, but criminal law is the legal specialty I find most appealing (followed by VA and Social Security law). I do worry about too much stress aggravating my bipolar disorder; however my VA therapist has been on my case to start VR and go back to work. That's a whole other post.

Thanks again!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think that Voc Rehab will work with you if you have a plan and it sure looks like you do.

Good Luck

Try to keep as much stress out of this as you can.

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Hi John999,

Yes, I believe I am permanent and total, and I do worry about crashing and burning again. I also receive SSDI for the same disability. I would feel more secure staying on IU and SSDI; however, my VA therapist thinks I am ready for VR and eventual employment. I don't really agree at this time. I'm also worried that since she is presumably writing this in my treatment notes, the VBA may conclude that I am well enough to work right away and take away my IU. That would piss me off for sure. If I do start VR, I will want to extend it as long as possible to keep my IU benefits, so I guess I'll have to "pace" my recovery. :)

Thanks again.

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