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Hello Everyone,

After being approved for Voc Rehab and driving 35 miles back and forth to the VR&E office, I was recently sent a letter denying me for these benefits. Overall, it was a TERRIBLE experience. I felt like she was patronizing me each time i walked into her office. Despite taking the tests, giving her my transcripts and everything going smoothly(i thought), it seemed like each time I met with her their were new reasons to string me along not give me an IWRP. One time it was the testing, the next time it was that she wasnt prepared. I almost felt as if the counselor Allison, Didn't want me to be a part of the program(despite being approved and being entitled for the VR&E benefits). I felt defeated and even went as far as calling the regional office in Philadelphia. That proved to not work as the associate VRO told me that "my counselor knows my situation and file best, she should be able to point me in the right direction."

Can anyone else share their experience (good, bad or ugly) and interactions with VOC Rehab getting(or TRYING TO get) the benefits we are entitled to in the VR&E program?

Thanks,

Pat

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Context: I voluntarily got out of the Army May 2018 after 11 years. I did tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar, Korea as rotational. I got pretty jacked up mentally on my Afghanistan tour and I started having really bad symptoms, alcohol abuse, depression, violent tendencies, angry insubordinate outbursts etc etc I left because it was only a matter of time before I snapped on some mouthy, inexperienced 2LT. PTSD and a bunch of pills later I found myself a civilian again. I worked 9 miserable months as a manager of a car rental place. Man, was that ever a bad idea, I could not stand the twatwaffles that came through that door and the ones above me either. I started becoming hostile toward them too customers and employees alike. I stayed with that company but began being a car washer for another 8 months. It was the same as being a manager, just with more stupid. I will give them credit though, they gave me A LOT of reasonable accommodations as a disabled vet. They tolerated a lot from me where others would have been fired. I am grateful for that but, that was no life. That's when I decided I needed to do something different. I applied for VR&E and was approved.     

On 14 August 2019, I had a meeting with my VR&E Counselor. I was accepted to my dream school and we finalized my training plan. She said she would get me a computer, printer, books, and take care of the tuition payments. I was so excited I could barely wait to start school! I asked how to get the books I needed on the 15th of august, she replied on the evening of the 16th with the process. Since it was late Friday by the time I got the info I sent her the list of books required on the 18th. She did respond to my email so I assumed everything was good to go. By the 23rd of August, a full week since I had last heard from her and three days prior to class start I had hadn’t heard anything from her so I emailed asking for an update. I received no response, nor would I ever again. On 26 August 2019, school began, but I still had no computer, no books, and tuition had not been paid. I called, my wife called, and emailed her again…no return call, no autoreply email, nothing.

Finally, it came to 29 August 2019. My VR&E counselor was still not responding to emails or phone calls. I was already late on assignments which would put me in a bad position to uphold my end of the contract and maintain satisfactory academic progress. I read several other stories online about VR&E counselors doing these kinds of things and shouldering student debt on veterans because the VR&E counselors failed to act. That was $8K in debt we could in no way afford. Based on this, I decided the only way to mitigate the damages the VR&E counselor was about to cause was to withdraw from school and I did. I was downright embarrassed to withdraw like that. All those people at a prominent school, my dream school, that put in so much effort to help me succeed and it was the one person that had an obligation to help me that destroyed me. Even if I can go back to school in the future, that withdraw will always be there on my transcript as a reminder of this ridiculous injustice. Can you blame me at all for feeling so betrayed?  We went to the Veteran Service Office (VSO) in my town for guidance, but they were closed every day except Tuesday. I was lost.

I’ve never, ever felt so cheated. I trusted her to keep her word, the word she put forth in what I perceived as a contractual since we had a formal agreement we both signed but, she hadn’t, I didn’t know what to do, but couldn’t afford the books or would have just got them myself. I could’ve borrowed my wifes computer, even though she still needed it for her own classes, but I couldn’t do the class work without the books. There was no way to take out a loan as I was already stretched to the breaking point financially after taking the pay cut at my last job for change changing positions. There was nobody I could borrow it from either since I don’t have friends and don’t speak with family. My wife took on more bills to give me a break when I switched roles at my work and she didn’t have the money either. Basically, I was hung out to dry in a hurricane kind of screwed over. I quit my job, albeit a crappy one, on her word that she would do as promised and I was counting on the stipend to make it through financially. Though that job sucked I did have income and they tolerated my issues. This meant my family stood to lose a lot, if not everything. I lost all self-control, I couldn’t bear that failure and shame. I called the veterans crisis line anonymously and they recommended I go in as a walk-in. I did that at my assigned clinic, hoping to maybe get my medications changed or updated, or some other manner of help stabilizing this destruction. My wife had an appointment there that day also and I was struggling bad with booze and substance abuse so she got me out of bed and dressed, then went together. They suggested inpatient treatment for substance abuse and PTSD. I believe they probably should have admitted me involuntarily at that very moment, but they let me go after I told them I had too much to live for and I would consider it and respond in a few days. I honestly left without anything much actually happening. I regret not being honest on the spot in hindsight because the depression just got way worse.

After several days of never leaving the bed, I managed to start crawling out of my pit of depression only to fall right back into it. I spent several more days there again. I just didn’t want to be around for what was going to happen next, complete life collapse. I would lose everything and I had no damn idea how the hell to stop it. I think it was maybe the 9th of September, I woke up determined to get a damn answer for why the VR&E counselor failed me. My wife and I went down there together, unannounced. I took her with me because I was afraid of what I might do to that counselor if I went alone.  The counselor was there. The person that greeted us went into the counselors office to tell her we were there. That took an unusually long period of time, as if someone knew they screwed up. When we went in to speak with her, she behaved as if nothing was wrong at all. After explaining everything to her, all she said was that she was out all that week and never got any emails or calls from either of us. Like her email, phone, and voicemail mystically stopped working and they did not check up on students? What about the damn week before that? She didn’t so much as offer a genuine apology! I apologized to her in my email when I absolutely should not have. I wanted to hop over that desk and decimate her. How does a VR&E counselor go on vacation during the peak return-to-school time of the year with no failsafe in place? No transfer of work, no email to their clients to give other points of contact no NOTHING! “Oh, I would have paid for the classes Mr. X,” she says to me. That’s fine, but I have zero cause to believe a single word that comes out of her mouth after that. Besides which, that’s a moot point when I can’t do a class without the books you signed your name promising to provide me with. When was I supposed to get those, half way through the semester?

Over a month has passed. I finally let it all go, but I still can't find work, I am about to be out of money. I started selling off anything of value but it won't be enough to sustain my family much longer. Lesson learned is that if you do VR&E do not quit your job until you have books in hand prior to classes starting.

 

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On 9/27/2019 at 12:30 PM, VVAN27 said:

I was accepted to my dream school and we finalized my training plan.

there are some pieces missing in what you state. The school of your dreams, if accredited, is not going to accept you unless you have filled out a FAFSA and been approved.

That you get VocRehab money is irrelevant to that reality.

You apparently chose NOT to accept that student loan as you said because you could not afford the future 8K debt. Yet if this degree is that expensive then the income from it should more than cover the 8K if you had bothered to continue and fight with the VA to get your VocRehab situation addressed.

you cut off your nose to spite your face.

Secondly, you have your GI Bill, so why weren't you just going through the standard process instead of a VocRehab process? Your rating percentage has squat to do with you using your GI Bill. It is yours if you were honorably discharged. Period. Full Stop.

You don't need to have an IWRP done using regular GI Bill. The Government does not limit you to any career. The GI bill is yours even if you left the service with a Doctorate, you can use your GI bill for any other degree you want to get. it does not matter.

If the situation was that your school was too expensive for your GI Bill then take out a loan and apply for grants. The school is your choice to attend not the tax payer obligation to pay for an Ivy League education if the tuition is outside the normal payment scale. 

I have multiple advance degrees and my GI Bill was for crap. I paid for them all on my own. I never understand Americans who expect others to pay for their education. Anyone can get a student loan unless you are a felon or have burned the Dept of Ed on other loans. There is no credit requirement.

so even if you had bumps in the road getting the VocRehab money you had options.

Why did you chose to have a hissy fit and throw it all away?

 

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On 8/3/2015 at 7:43 AM, Buck52 said:

what do you mean high toilet's?

Buck they sell what is called "comfort height toilets" they are 17" - 19" high compared to the standard 15" high toilets. I have had them before and will get them again after I move, they are just easier to get up from when your joints bother you. There is not a big difference in cost for the higher toilets.

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I agree with GeekySquid. 

Each college campus has a Vet center, make a visit and tell them how you threw a hissy fit on voc reh, instead of the knowing GI bill. 

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 A lot here does not make sense-Voc Rehab is not the same thing as the GI Bill.

My husband did not have the GI Bill. He had a SC disability that fell into the Voc Rehab Criteria.

Although that as many years ago, the formal APP form was revised recently- but still basically like what he filled out:

https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-28-1900-ARE.pdf

Is that what the Voc Rehab person had you fill out?

Or Are you waiting for a SC claim to be processed?

This is a very concise rendition of this program, done by Ben Krause, who is an attorney:

https://www.disabledveterans.org/vocational-rehabilitation/

 

My husband applied in the late spring for this program, knowing it would take VA time to process his app, and etc etc, so that he was ready to enroll in Fall semester.

He was outside the deadline, but as the info at the link says, he was found to have a severe employment handicap due to his PTSD. The VA liaison at the college helped him get the books, etc etc, he needed in time for the classes.

This regards Voc Rehab, but maybe you mean you had  the GI Bill????

"Over a month has passed. I finally let it all go, but I still can't find work, I am about to be out of money. I started selling off anything of value but it won't be enough to sustain my family much longer. Lesson learned is that if you do VR&E do not quit your job until you have books in hand prior to classes starting."

I dont get that-my husband had no intention of quitting his job when he started Voc Rehab.

He worked for the VA. His career plan ( part of Voc Rehab process) was to get a better job, as 

he had been a former Nuclear Power Plant Operator, and also had a PHVAC license.

He quit the VA when he got hired by the power company here in NY. 

 Can you scan and attach here the denial? Cover your C file # name, address prior to scanning it

 

Edited by Berta
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      Dear Mr. Hess,
      Thank you for your recent reply. Again, my questions have not been answered. Again, I cite the regulation for the authorization for a second semester. I m fully aware of what the regulations say, because I cited it for you and I will again. This was why I wanted an administrative review. I want the second semester put in my IEEP and Ii have supplied the justification for it. Again, your office has failed to cite a regulation that counters this regulation. Also, your last correspondence failed to address the subsistence allowance that I am eligible for because I AM IN AN IEEP! These two things should have been in my plan and need to be added.  It was these two missing items from my IEEP that give justification for an administrative review that I asked for weeks ago.
      I would like to have this semester reimbursed since I am still in an IEEP. As long as it is not for academic feasibility, which my grades have more than proven that I am not, then I am allowed to have the second semester while still in the IEEP.  Per M28R, Part IV, Section C, Chapter 3, states “… however, one additional academic term may be approved if the reason for the additional term is not solely for the purpose of determining academic potential. When considering if an additional academic term is appropriate, the VRC must:
       
            • Determine that additional diagnostic and/or evaluative services are needed
                        The panel has recommended more diagnostic testing, the psychiatric neurological meets this requirement
      • Ensure that the second academic term is authorized in conjunction with these additional diagnostic and/or evaluative services
                  This speaks for itself.
      • Address all feasibility concerns during the second academic term
                  Has not been done.
      • Submit written documentation regarding the need for additional services that specifies how the additional services will assist in the determination of feasibility
                  This is your offices job.
      • Obtain concurrence from the VR&E Officer
                  This is your offices job.
      I have more than met this requirement. I would also request my monthly subsistence be restored, with back pay, since I am still in an IEEP, I should still be receiving my monthly subsistence and I am still in school full time.
      Per 38 CFR 21.266, a Veteran participating in an extended evaluation program can receive a subsistence allowance. The allowance is paid in accordance with 38 CFR 21.260.
      A Veteran in a program of extended evaluation or an Independent Living (IL) program may be paid a subsistence allowance for full, three-quarter, or half-time participation at the rate specified for institutional training in accordance with 38 CFR 21.260. The procedures for processing an original or amended award found in M28R.V.B.8 should be followed when processing subsistence allowance for Veterans participating in an extended evaluation or IL program.
      I am asking for this to be reviewed and answered for. I cannot ask in a more direct way than this, so there is no ambiguity or reason for it to not be addressed or understood. I have met the requirements for these two items. If not, please advise why and cite your source so I can find the corresponding regulations. I do not believe there is a counter to these regulations.
      Sincerely,
    • By john3mary
      I have a 50% rating from the VA.  I will have my first meeting with my Voc Rehab counselor in 4 days.  I already have a job, but I plan to argue underemployed but it might be a stretch.  I need to get some technical certificates to stay competitive and try to get a remote job (work from home) where I can control my work environment like a standing desk, etc....  I work in the IT industry.
      Does anyone have a sample PPT or word document plan to present to the VA counselor?   I read Ben Krause's site and he suggests that you go in prepared with a PPT or Word plan that shows your reasoning and your proposed plan.  Anyone out there have an example?
      Thanks,
      John
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    • Precedent Setting CAVC cases cited in the M21-1
      A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing.  That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran. 

      One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing.  I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down.  I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters.  I think raters should have some kind of legal background.  They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.

      There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989.  Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.

      The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1.   Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims.  Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why.  Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.

      It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed.  I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve

      M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx
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    • Any one heard of this , I filed a claim for this secondary to hypertension, I had a echo cardiogram, that stated the diagnosis was this heart disease. my question is what is the rating for this. attached is the Echo.

      doc00580220191213082945.pdf
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    • Need your support - T-shirts Available - Please buy a mug or a membership
      if you have been thinking about subscribing to an ad-free forum or buying a mug now would a very helpful time to do that.

      Thank you for your support
      • 18 replies
    • OK everyone thanks for all the advice I need your help I called VSO complained about length of time on Wednesday of this week today I checked my E benefits and my ratings are in for my ankles that they were denying me 10% for each bilateral which makes 21% I was originally 80% now they’re still saying I’m 80% 

      I’m 50% pes planus 30% migraine headaches 20% lumbar 10% tinnitus and now bilateral 21% so 10% left and right ankle Can someone else please do the math because I come up with 86% which makes me 90 what am I missing please help and thank you
    • I was denied SC for IBS and GERD IN 2011. In 2019 I was awarded SC for GERD. This CUE  is for 2011, both GERD and IBS. There are some odd aspects regarding the 2011 decision, the way it was written and the C&P report and the way it was written. I've tried to present this as clearly as I can. Note: the decision contradicts itself. the decision also contradicts the C&P Report. Honestly, I think the rater just got confused because the C&P was so poorly written. *THIS CUE HAS NOT YET BEEN SUBMITTED*Please let me know what you think. Appreciate all comments and suggestions. Thanks.

       

      VA RATING DECISION MARCH 23 2011 GERD IBS.pdf C P REPORT 7312010 GERD IBS.pdf GERD IBS CUE 2011(1).pdf

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