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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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    • How to get your questions answered...


      All VA Claims questions should be posted on our forums. Read the forums without registering, to post you must register it’s free. Register for a free account.

      Tips on posting on the forums.

      Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery” instead of ‘I have a question’.


      Knowledgable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title. I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.


      Use paragraphs instead of one huge, rambling introduction or story. Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.


      Leading to:

      Post clear questions and then give background info on them.

      Examples:

      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?


      I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine but claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?



      B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?

      I was involved in traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?



      This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial from your claim?” etc.

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      Your firsts posts on the board may be delayed before they show up, as they are reviewed, this process does not take long and the review requirement will be removed usually by the 6th post, though we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.

      This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before they hit the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims and this helps us do that.
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    • Mere speculation in your VA C and P exam

      M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 3, Section D – Examination Reports III.iv.3.D.2.r. Examiner Statements that an Opinion Would be Speculative Pay careful attention to any conclusion by the examiner that an opinion could not be provided without resorting to mere speculation (or any similar language to that effect). VA may only accept a medical examiner’s … Continue reading
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hemipepsis5p

Will applying for Voc Rehab because I feel well enough to go to school again cost me my 100% non-P&T non-TDIU rating?

Question

Hi everyone! 

So I have bipolar disorder, and I've made massive progress in my wellbeing in the last 6 months from diet/exercise and tons of self-help books and a Bipolar Life Skills program. Anyway, I feel great, and have for months and months now, and I feel like I'm ready to go back to school and finish my degree (in psychology) and try to get higher education so I can help other Veterans out of depression (I want to be a psychologist, the Psy.D route).

Anyway I'm at 100% right now for my bipolar disorder, and I'm getting re-rated in like 2 years. I have 1 month left on my 9/11 GI Bill, which isn't enough for me to finish my degree (I have 2 years left). I'm aware that I have to put in for Voc Rehab before using my last month of benefits in order to get the higher Voc Rehab BAH rate.

So my question is, if I call up Voc Rehab and say "Hey I'm feeling well enough to do school again and work and I want to be a psychologist and help other Veterans get their lives together" will the Voc Rehab people immediately schedule me for a re-evaluation? Don't get me wrong I want to get off of this disability stuff but if Voc Rehab is going to pay me only the BAH for the school's zip code, that is not enough for me to live on without a roommate (I'm 30) or some other source of income, not even close, like, the BAH is 3k per month, and the cheapest studios around the school (within a 45-minute drive one way) are $1200, and there are so many people applying for the apartments that unless you can show you bring home an income that is 3x your rent (in this case $3600 per month), they won't rent to you. I already tried to move there on my current monthly income (3k) and I got no responses.

Living on campus is possible but would be a nightmare as I would have to spend 4 months out of the year living with my 62 year old mom and my stepdad in a cramped little house. It's just not realistic. I know for a fact they wouldn't let me live with them for 4 months out of the year. Even when I was homeless they were only going to let me stay there for 1 week until I got into a VA housing program. It especially wouldn't work if I wanted to take summer courses because the dorms are closed during the summer and my family lives in another state. I also wouldn't be able to maintain my current extremely-healthy diet because no cooking is allowed in the dorms (no hot plates or toaster ovens). I eat very specific health-food recipes and mealprep 3-4 days at a time. The dining facility at the college is okay but is incompatible with my superfood diet. I checked to see if the school has off-campus school-sponsored housing but they don't have any.

Anyway, I could absolutely make it work even if I'm bumped down to 50%, but if they put me at 10% or something I'm going to have to get a job when I'm going to school which would be too hard for me to do while getting the grades I need to get into a Psy.D program. Transferring schools to a cheaper area isn't much of an option because my transcript is so awful right now that no one else will take me.

Will Voc Rehab set my BAH to 3x the studio rent for the area so I can get an apartment? I can hear you laughing now, I've dealt with the VA, I know the answer is probably "Yeah sure, when pigs fly."

Thanks for any help!

Edited by hemipepsis5p
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It may be a challenge to get a VR&E counselor to sign on to your plan.  The reason is that since you are rated at 100% for your condition, the medical professional(s) and VBA folks involved in rating your claim have said that your bipolar disorder is so severe that you are prevented from getting/keeping Significant Gainful Employment.  I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just warning you not to be surprised if you encounter resistance.

Have you talked with your treating psych doctor and/or your support group about this plan?  If not, there's a good chance that VR&E can't sign on.  They're not going to refuse you because they're mean and nasty, it would be because your rating and your medical records make you not a likely candidate to be successfully rehabilitated, and they have to be choosy about how they spend the taxpayer dollars in their budget.

Yes, a 100% MH rating can be kind of a "Catch 22" situation.  To achieve it, it has to be established that you're prevented from any occupation because of your SC disability,  Now you're going to have to convince them that your rating is no longer the correct one.  It might be just as hard to walk away from a 100% rating as it was to have it granted in the first place.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying you should give up.  Just know that if you (and hopefully, your doctor too) are certain that you are capable of returning to the workforce, it may still be tricky to get VR&E backing.  They don't have unlimited funding.  If it gets tough, it is definitely going to test your ability to handle adversity.

I sincerely hope that everything works out in whatever way is best FOR YOU.  Good luck!

Edited by acesup

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"To achieve it, it has to be established that you're prevented from any occupation because of your SC disability"

I thought that was just for TDIU, which I don't have.

What if my psychiatrist says I can be rehabilitated? What if I get an IMO to boost that? I'm fine with trading the 100% rating for Voc Rehab if that has to happen, I'm not meant to live on this shit because my goal in life is to help other Veterans. I'm also 30...

Thanks everyone for the responses so far.

Edited by hemipepsis5p

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The reason I made the statement about being unable to perform any occupation is because if you are evaluated as meeting the 100% mental health  criteria, you have TOTAL occupational and social impairment.  If that isn't the case, then somebody goofed in your favor, but I'd think if you get a doctor to say that you're now able to function in school, you might be able to get VR&E to give you a shot.  They probably can't even consider putting you in a program unless you do have medical evidence that your condition has changed to make employment possible.  However, at the end of the day, nothing that I have to say about that will have any effect on whether or not you succeed.  You just need to sell your rehab plan to the people that can make it happen.  I honestly hope you get what is best for you!

100% Mental Health Rating Criteria:
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.

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      I have been having a hard time simply getting email from my voc rehab counselor. After reminding the counselor multiple times I got the email for orientation and exploration phase. When I got the email the attached documents had errors. On the functional test document for my doctor the numbers were wrong(order went 1,2,3,5,4) and my gender was wrong. On another document a page was blank when it was supposed to have text on it.
       
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    • How to get your questions answered...


      All VA Claims questions should be posted on our forums. Read the forums without registering, to post you must register it’s free. Register for a free account.

      Tips on posting on the forums.

      Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery” instead of ‘I have a question’.


      Knowledgable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title. I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.


      Use paragraphs instead of one huge, rambling introduction or story. Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.


      Leading to:

      Post clear questions and then give background info on them.

      Examples:

      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?


      I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine but claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?



      B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?

      I was involved in traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?



      This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial from your claim?” etc.

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      Your firsts posts on the board may be delayed before they show up, as they are reviewed, this process does not take long and the review requirement will be removed usually by the 6th post, though we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.

      This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before they hit the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims and this helps us do that.
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