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Just granted 100% P & T for PTSD and approved last summer for VR&E...Need Advice


Firewalker

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Hello All! So, I was initially 50% for PTSD and during my appeal I applied to VR&E as my therapist convinced me I should persue it and thought I would be a great candidate. I told her I wanted to become a therapist and she thought I would be great at it. She has worked with me for 2 years in both individual and group counseling and feels I have alot of wisdom and insight in trauma. Anyway, I saw VRE counselor last summer he said I definitely qualified as I had a severe work handicap and he said they would in no way pay for me to work in the psychology field due to my mental health history. I attempted to convince him, but he said it was a no go. Instead, he approved me for working with plants in horticulture. So I was approved to begin courses for this spring. While I do enjoy gardening and being outside, pragmatically, I really don't see this as some great employment outcome. After doing research, it seems that even with a degree in the field essentially, you will be making just above minimum wage....at best, 12 bucks an hour. So just last week, I received a call from my lawyer that my appeal was complete and the DRO called her personally to report that I was granted 100% P and T for PTSD. My current dilemma is this. I am not very passionate about the horticulture pursuit as a career path. I only wanted to go to school if there was an actual economic benefit that made sense and for something I was really interested in. I don't know what to do. I am also scared if I pursue this that my rating could one day be jeopardized. I have been homeless 2 out of the last 3 years so the money is a big deal. I dont want to go through that again. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Don't get stressed, being in a VA Voc Rehab program won't affect your IU Status or Comp. When you finally get your Award Letter, the VA tells you your eligible for Voc Rehab, so stay in it and try to find something you might enjoy.

Keep in mind, IU itself is never actually Permanent, unless you hold the Rating for 20 Yrs. Each yr (within 60 days of your IU Anniversay Date) your required to file a VA Earned Income Verification Form. If you have 12 consecutive months of above (SGI $12,400 under 65) income, you could find yourself up for an IU Reduction Review.

Think about it, completing a couple yr VA Voc Rehab Program, then finding a job and working (12 Consecutive) months, we're talking 3 - 5 years down range. Just completing the Voc Rehab Program itself, is not grounds for losing your IU.

It's all about the (12) Months of "Uninterrupted Earned Income," reported on your Mandatory Yearly Earned Income Filing, triggering the possible IU Reduction Review.

Semper Fi

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That is good advice from Gastone.  Apparently, you were rated for PTSD and not necessarily TDIU.  Of course, 100% PTSD is "total occupational impairment", so I see the dilema.  Most of the time, PTSD victims have a hard time with other people.  

Maybe if you got a degree in horticulture, you could work with corn, and not people, such as on yours or a family farm.  There is a specific allowance for working in such conditions if you read the regs.  

I grew up on a family farm, and can appreciate the peacefulnuss of agriculture/farming/ranching.  Some farmers are very reclusive and have little to do with people.  

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Definitely in the same dilemna. I'm 100% schedular Permanent and Total for PTSD/Bi-Polar/ADHD plus special monthly compensation S and . See though, I still have the symptoms that qualify me for Total Occupational and Social Impairment, but I figure I work at the VA and they can accomodate me as a nurse. I'm using voc rehab as well. I don't know if they'll take it away, but my VSO swears up and down that if I'm Permanent and Total and I use voc rehab, they won't take it away. I pray he's right. If he's not, I'll have to really look at my other disabilities and get those bumped up if I qualify of course! This is the problem that a lot of veterans run into. We get paid more to not work and stay sick than to actually get better and find a job. I wrote my congressmen about this and came up with a couple of resolutions to resolve this, but to no avail. He just said that's how it is. I just wish once you got a rating, you can't lose it. I get trying to save taxpayers money and not to get something you don't deserve, but after being on disability for so long and getting use to an income lifestyle it could really suck to lose your benefits. 

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On 11/19/2016 at 2:28 PM, Firewalker said:

I really don't see this as some great employment outcome.

The old saying goes "Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life". Getting pushed into something you don't have much passion for doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

 

2 hours ago, Anthony333777 said:

but my VSO swears up and down that if I'm Permanent and Total and I use voc rehab, they won't take it away. I pray he's right.

How about instead of trusting a VSO, who I imagine will lose nothing if your P&T is taken away, researching to find out for yourself. You should be able to find things to do to occupy your time. Find out about local volunteer opportunity's. 

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