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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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Question

Hello,

I hope everyone is well. Does anyone have any experience or knowledge regarding Federal Government Title 38 employees (Professional Healthcare worker such as RN, Physician, etc.)?  Has any veteran experienced difficulty in obtaining employment at the MEDVAMC in Houston, Texas or any VA facility? If yes, do they feel that veteran status had a negative impact? Who else should I contact in order to file a grievance against the Title 38 veterans preference exemption?

I have a Masters Degree as a Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) and I am interested in seeking employment at the MEDVAMC in Houston, Texas. I have applied at the facility for more than 8 years without success.  I am greater than 50% Service Connected.  Registered Nurses and other healthcare professionals are considered "Title 38" employees which means that we cannot use Veterans Preference when applying for jobs at the VA. I am board certified as an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Critical Care and Wound Ostomy and Continence.

I wrote the Secretary of VA and inquired as to why Title 38 employees are exempt from veterans preference and my letter was forwarded to the Director of HR in Houston, TX. I asked her to explain the reason military veteran RNs and other health care professionals cannot use veteran preference.....Her answer because the VA only wants the best qualified candidates. My question to her was that if a veteran is qualified to be a commissioned officer in the military as a Registered Nurse why are they not considered among the best qualified to work in a Veterans Hospital? I also asked to know the qualifications of Nurses and Advance Practice Nurses that were chosen instead of me. Her answer was that hiring was strictly up to the hiring manager.  

I have nothing against foreigners (several of my in-laws are foreigners) but all of the hiring managers that I interviewed with were foreigners--Filipino, East Indian, and/or African. The staff nurse interview panels were always completely homogenous either all Filipino, East Indian, or African.  I feel that by exempting Veterans from preference there is a possibility that Veterans may be inadvertently discriminated against due to their Veteran Status. The reason I say this is because at every interview the hiring manager or panel come across as 'skittish' or 'unsure' when my military service is illuminated. I asked the HR Director how many nurses at the facility were military veterans? Her answer was approximately 6%. She could not provide any information on how many of the 6% were in leadership positions or hiring managers. 

I wrote both of my Senators this past summer (Ted Cruz and John Cornyn) regarding the Title 38 exemption for Veterans Preference. I feel that RNs, Physicians, and other healthcare workers should be entitled to Veterans Preference. I received no response from Ted Cruz. John Cornyn's office thanked me for my service and gave some generic response on how they supported veterans. Congressional Veterans House and Senate members, the ones that make laws, do not provide responses. 

I know illuminating race/country of origin is a sensitive subject for some people. If my letter is coming across as brash, abrasive, or offensive that is not my intention. I am primarily concerned about the possibility of being discriminated against due to my veteran status not race or natural born citizenship. 

 

 

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I would read over their EEOC ADA criteria if I were you. It is probably on line as well as at the VA facility and the same for every VAMC.

They must have some sort of criteria for doctor and nurses, exempt maybe from Title 38, but not exempt from potential discrimination.

The only way my husband got hired by the VA is because we raised a lot of hell.

OPM statement said he was fully qualified for an open  VA Fireman's position.He never even got an intevierw.

(He was also 30% SC for PTSD at that time)

The VA fire department however gave the open position to a relative of the chief fireman.

We went over to personnel and the personnel director got loud and very upset and  told him he didnt get an interview because ( she shoved her OPM copy  at me-his file was on her desk') saying "OPM said he wasn't qualified,"and I shoved the same OPM statement I  had at her and I said you are not qualified to be a personnel director because you cant read..we went right over to the director';s office and he gave my husband a job a VA (not what he wanted) but the good part is that by week's end the personnel director was gone.

The director  didnt want an EEOC case filed on this because VA would have lost it.

EEOC/ADA covered employers often try to appear not to discriminate against disabled people- vets or non vets... but they DO. My husband won the first ADA case here in NY. Discrimination due to his PTSD.

I also asked to know the qualifications of Nurses and Advance Practice Nurses that were chosen instead of me. Her answer was that hiring was strictly up to the hiring manager. "

You could send them a FOIA for that info and see what you get.

 

VA sent me a wealth of info once under FOIA and violated the privacy act...because they sent me actual complete copies of applications for jobs there, with SSNs and all personal info..nothing blacked out and the apps contained the qualifications they had and if they knew anyone who already worked there.

They had hired a non vet, non disabled person for a full time job that many vets there were already qualified for, and stuck in Part time positions, ....... but the applicant, as I perused the applications they sent to me, said she  knew the head cook there at VA well.   That is why she was hired. Outrageous.

 

 

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Thanks for the response and the information. I will take your advice and request information under the FOIA. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a lot of nepotism/cronyism at this particular VA. I just believe that by not extending Veterans Preference to ALL veterans increases the chance of Veterans being discriminated against due to Veteran status. Most Military Veterans are often unfairly negatively stereo-typed for simply being a veteran--PTSD, Depression, Too Rigid, Too Formal, Too Crazy, Too mean. I've just about heard it all.

The HR representative stated that it appears that I am over-qualified for most of the positions that I applied for but ultimately it is the hiring managers decision. I have two other Masters prepared RN colleagues both military veterans (one was an Air Force Captain) who have given up on trying to gain employment at the facility. Thanks again for the response.

 

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@Berta Thanks for your excellent advice. I completed a FOIA request and discovered the VA has been hiring nonveterans without service connection with less experience.  I also learned that the VA has the authority to do this due to a union claus which states current  employees have preference over nonveterans.

The FOIA request also proved what a Veterans Recruitment Authority had been telling me for years and that is that the VA has a habit of employing Veterans in Food Service and Janitorial positions in an effort to inflate their numbers of veterans employed. Most veterans are completely shut out of leadership and senior leadership positions.  The MEDVAMC currently employs 26% veterans short of the 33% goal of veterans employed. (Has been this way for the past 5 years.) In addition, the MEDVAMC has not hired any Registered Nurse or Physician Assistants that are military Veterans in the past 5 years either. I have written my congressman and the Secretary of VA. The current Medical Director at the MEDVAMC informed me that he is aware of the issue and is currently addressing.  Again thank you so much for the great advice. 

http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/17/only-va-jobs-reserved-specifically-for-vets-janitor/?print=1

http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/14/va-labor-contract-favors-union-bureaucrats-over-vets-for-jobs/

http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/05/va-employs-few-veterans-in-top-medical-management-jobs/

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Guest L

Missy1974 - Good info and links - I worked at the VA in Texas, as a new employee felt "bullied" by this union crap. I did not join. 

No offense meant, just my opinion. 

Edited by L

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