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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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humiliari

Voc Rehab Eligibility Question

Question

I was in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) program for about two years and I was placed in a job by the VRE employment coordinator that I worked for about 3 years. I was determined to be rehabilitated by VRE. I was medically retired from the job due directly to my service connected conditions. This is well documented as the reason I could no longer work at my job. Because of the 5 years spent preparing for and working at this job, I am over my 12 year eligibility period from my first rating of disability making me eligible. I am in the process of a Serious Employment Handicap (SEH) determination to make me eligible for extended services, but I found something that makes me wonder if this SEH determination is even necessary:

§21.284   Reentrance into a rehabilitation program.

(a) Reentrance into rehabilitation to the point of employability following a determination of rehabilitation. A veteran who has been found rehabilitated under provisions of §21.283 may be provided an additional period of training or services only if the following conditions are met:

(1) The veteran has a compensable service-connected disability and either;

(2) Current facts, including any relevant medical findings, establish that the veteran's service-connected disability has worsened to the extent that the effects of the service-connected disability considered in relation to other facts precludes him or her from performing the duties of the occupation for which the veteran previously was found rehabilitated; or

(3) The occupation for which the veteran previously was found rehabilitated under Chapter 31 is found to be unsuitable on the basis of the veteran's specific employment handicap and capabilities.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(a))

(b) Reentrance into a program of independent living services following a determination of rehabilitation. A finding of rehabilitation following a program of independent living services may only be set aside, and an additional period of independent living services provided, if the following conditions are met:

(1) Either:

(i) The veteran's condition has worsened and as a result the veteran has sustained a substantial loss of independence; or

(ii) Other changes in the veteran's circumstances have caused a substantial loss of independence; and

(2) The provisions of §21.162 pertaining to participation in a program of independent living services are met.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3109)

(c) Reentrance into rehabilitation to the point of employability during a period of employment services. A finding of rehabilitation to the point of employability by VA may be set aside during a period of employment services and an additional period of training and related services provided, if any of the following conditions are met:

(1) The conditions for setting aside a finding of rehabilitation under paragraph (a) of this section are found;

(2) The rehabilitation services originally given to the veteran are now inadequate to make the veteran employable in the occupation for which he or she pursued rehabilitation;

(3) Experience during the period of employment services has demonstrated that employment in the objective or field for which the veteran was rehabilitated to the point of employability should not reasonably have been expected at the time the program was originally developed; or

(4) The veteran, because of technological change which occurred subsequent to the declaration of rehabilitation to the point of employability, is no longer able:

(i) To perform the duties of the occupation for which he or she trained, or in a related occupation; or

(ii) To secure employment in the occupation for which he or she trained, or in a related occupation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 58 FR 68769, Dec. 29, 1993]

Is a SEH determination necessary? I was once in the program and now I just want to reenter because my service connected conditions caused me to lose my job. Does this regulation require that I am in my basic 12 year eligibility period, or since I was once in, I can get back in without worrying about anything other than showing that this regulation applies to me? I greatly would appreciate help in this matter. Thank you!

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Good questions.  

With respect to a somewhat similar program, DEA chapter 35, I  may be able to offer my 2 cents.  

When you have a dependent eligible for Ch. 35, he needs to be between 18 and 26 years old if I recall.  

However, if he begins a 4 year education program at his age 24, he is allowed to complete the program.  

So, if you "start" the program before age 26, you may complete it.  

I will speculate the same thing happens here, with Voc rehab.

You "began" the program before your 12 year eligibity was over, so you are "in", and allowed to complete it.  

In other words, once you meet the eligibility requirements, you dont have to keep meeting them over and over again every year.  You are already in Voc rehab, so you should be able to continue.  

You should verify that, tho.  Go to ebenefits and you may be able to find it.  I found mine.    

I have a VBM and may be able to find it, if its there, but it takes a while and Im going to bed.  

Of course, you could always ask your voc rehab guy.  

You see, once VA determines you are "eligible" and puts you in, that is a "factual determination"..sort of like a decision.  A decision becomes final after a year, and cant be reversed either by the Veteran or by VA absent CUE.  You got a "decision" from Voc rehab..a factual deterimination that you are eligible.  

Now, you have xx months to complete the program.  With my Voc rehab, I was "eligible" for 12 years, but that did not mean I got 12 years of benefits..I think it was 40 or 48 months, no more.  

Hope this helps.  

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If you lost your last job due to your SC conditions, have you filed for SSDI? Are you Scheduler 100% SC?

As to the Voc Rehab Program, I was in it back in 2011, had to drop out. As I recall, eligibility was an SC Rating of min 30% and within 12 years of your (Last?) SC award. When I received my 2014 IU award, a separate page recommending the Voc Rehab Program was included. i haven't really reviewed the Chpt 35 program recently, however, you may want to look into the Chapter 31 Independent Living (IL) program.

Semper Fi

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Thank you, I contacted my VRE, but I will also follow up with my service organization, and more research. I would like to be gainfully employed again, so no SSDI. I am 100% PT, but I want to contribute to society in my own way if I can (not that anyone on ANY disability doesn't) , but I need help from VRE to get back to being as productive as possible considering my service connected conditions. I feel that I should be given that chance considering my circumstances. I fought as hard as possible to keep my last job, but I lost that fight. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to help their brother. I hope to help others the same way in the future... I plan on updating this post as I find out more concrete information in hopes of doing just that.

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When you hit the 100% P&T wall, VR&E is hesitant about expending any monies towards a Voc Rehab program into any field. I  presume your rating is a true 100% schedular rating as opposed to a TDIU equivalent. 

VA tends to insert you into the Independent Living Program and try to pawn off cordless phones, grab bars near toilets and showers, can grabbers, sock puller uppers and the like to facilitate Independence. I asked for a computer and all the peripherals in 2011 and had to fight to get it on an administrative review back to DC. I had a great reason-asknod.org. It worked. You could also say you wish to be in communication with the Veterans Community at large and the computer will facilitate that. You do not need a true "vocational" use for a computer.  I also asked for a greenhouse and finally won that on appeal to the BVA after four years.

With a 100% P&T, VA is going to be deaf to a new rehab retraining program as there is much competition for the $. On the other hand, the ILP program only has 2,700 slots per year with a max expenditure of $180,000.00 per Vet over the 3-year life span of an ILP rehab. plan. My greenhouse  ate most of that up.  Go in and file. See if they show you the door on a standard job rehab grant. If so, demand the ILP and sharpen up your pencil. How about a woodworking shop with all the saws, sanders and planers? Make wood crafts and sell them at street fairs. Read up on 38 CFR 21.16o and .162, 38 USC 3120 and 3104. I've written about one hundred blogs on the ILP subject and published all my NODs, VA 9s etc. to give Vets a feel for the path to a win. The trick is simple. Refuse to lose. Best of luck.

https://asknod.wordpress.com/category/independent-living-program/

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I agree with asknod that the Independent Living Program will be your best bet. I got 100% P&T years after I attended a VA Voc Rehab program. I don't think they will do much more for me other than try and reduce my benefit if they get a chance. I think once you are 100% P&T it is best to lay low and not make any waves. I did try hard to rehabilitate myself but my disabilities finally got the best of me.

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