Biggest Lies Voc Rehab Tells Disabled Veterans

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Vocational Rehabilitation

Benjamin KrauseMany veterans fight with VA Vocational Rehabilitation for years before figuring out that program administrators are straight up lying to them about what the program can do for any veteran.

Want to know what those lies are before you fall victim?

Thousands of disabled veterans apply for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation every year. Some are successful in getting the benefits they deserve and some are not.

In my time researching and writing on the subject, there seems to be a common theme arising: lies. Many veterans are misled about what Voc Rehab can do for them even though policies exist that contradict what counselor say.

This leads one to conclude that either there are guidelines to excuses somewhere that Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors live by, or there is an underlying discussion between offices as to what excuses can be used to keep deserving disabled veterans from their benefits.

It reminds me of a period of my life when I spent a great deal of my recreational time researching the Bible. Living in England at the time, I used the ESV Bible, the Cambridge Companion to the Bible, the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, and a copy of The Living Buddha, Living Christ that my grandmother sent me. Over the years, scholars have found there to be such commonality between the New Testament Gospels that they came to believe there existed a fifth text referred to as “Q.” Q is believed by many scholars to be the first written gospel that contained many of the quotes and anecdotes of Jesus’ time on Earth.

In a similar way, one cannot help but speculate that there is a similar text that creates a common set of lies Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors tell disabled veterans when denying claims. In my searches for it, I seem only to find regulations that support veterans’ claims for benefits -- strange.

VOC REHAB BACKGROUND

Background. The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (DVA OIG) ordered an audit of the VR&E program in 2007 and a subsequent survey sampling of 80,000 veterans to find out why so many disabled veterans never complete the program. While VR&E boasts a success rate of close to 75 percent to the U.S. Congress, the real number is much lower. According to the DVA OIG, the true success rate is closer to 18 percent. Most qualified veterans drop out of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) before developing an Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP). Many more drop out before finishing the program. VR&E has not been including these cases in their reported success rate.

In Corporate America, this is called “cooking the books,” for which people have gone to jail and been sued. Lucky for VR&E, the officials of this ENRON of the federal government are largely blanketed by sovereign immunity. The government has to agree to let you sue the government. Convenient.

TOP 5 VOC REHAB LIES

The following is a list of a few of most common fish stories given by Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to deny veterans access to Chapter 31 benefits:

1. Veterans with high disability ratings usually fail to complete their training.

2. You cannot use Vocational Rehabilitation if you are Individually Unemployable (IU).

3. Veterans with families have a harder time completing their programs.

4. Vocational Rehabilitation will not pay for graduate school.

5. If you have a job, you do not qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Lies - all lies. In a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Training Module Study Plan you can get plenty of valuable information about the program. Combined with the audit and survey linked above, the majority of truths to the lies can be found. So let’s raise the curtain a bit to reveal the great Oz.

Lie #1 - Veterans with high disability ratings usually fail to complete their training.

Truth – The survey states that veterans with a higher disability rating also have a higher likelihood of successfully completing their program. This includes veterans with VR&E ratings of “serious employment handicap.”

Lie #2 - You cannot use Vocational Rehabilitation if you are Individually Unemployable (IU).

Truth – According to the training module, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating can and do use VR&E for retraining purposes to obtain jobs, if possible. Additionally, veterans with an IU are also allowed to use the program. Further, finishing the training program does not automatically result in a reduction of IU. Supposedly, it cannot be reduced for a year following employment.

Lie #3 - Disabled veterans with families have a harder time completing their programs.

Truth – There is no significant effect on program success rates when comparing veterans with families to those without families. This includes a comparison between veterans relating to spouses and veterans with children.

Lie # 4 – Vocational Rehabilitation will not pay for graduate school.

Truth – I used VR&E for my undergrad and now have an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan stating I can attend law school in the program. ‘Nuff said. VR&E will send people to graduate school, to include law school, medical school, dental school, and airline pilot training. It can also pay for starting small businesses and allocating more than $100,000 for the start-up, according to participating SBA Veteran Business Counselors working with the program.

Lie #5 - If you have a job, you do not qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Truth – Over 42 percent of all disabled veterans using VR&E services are employed at the time of admittance. Thirty-five percent hold jobs throughout the period of retraining. Of those, over half of them felt their current job was in line with their military and/or civilian training. So, 28,000 veterans who used VR&E for retraining were employed at the time they entered the program.

That’s the truth about the VA, according to the VA. The information is out there, but it’s not presented in a way that is readily accessible. Plus, it’s hard to pick your head up to do the research when your horns are locked with your Voc Rehab Counselor.

To the quality counselors out there, thank you for your diligent efforts to support disabled veterans in their quest for purpose and success outside of the green uniform. And to those who dish out fish stories, I for one have had it up to my eyeballs with you. There will be a day of reckoning, in this life or the next. Accountability will come for all the lives that have been hurt by the renegade behavior of some Voc Rehab Counselors. Many media outlets have begun to investigate the actions of the VA, including the actions of Voc Rehab officials. To you who do harm to vets, it’s time to be on the right side of this story.

Email questions to: [email protected]

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Lana
Lana

Go to the D.A.V., Congressman, senator, and get an advocate

Sharon
Sharon

First off, thank you for your time and great information.

My scenario is this; Marine Vet, I was out a few years and in the middle of radiology tech school before my disability rating of 20% was approved. I was using my GI bill while attending school at that time in 2002. I met with a Voc Rehab counselor who informed me of two things; It would be who’ve me to use the Voc rehab program instead of the GI Bill, yet in order to use the Voc Rehab, I had to repay the GI Bill that I had already used that year, which I did. The other issue he mentioned was that had I applied to Voc Rehab prior to the start of school, they would have NOT approved the Radiology Tech program due to my back condition which they would feel that it would aggravate my condition…. Fast forward 7 years and my condition has worsened and recently increased my disability to 40%. I currently have an appointment to reopen my Voc Rehab claim at the end of the month. I have been attending school (a bridge program for my B.S.) but had to stop due to unemployment and school is too expensive. I probably have another 2 semesters of school. I would like to go for a Physician Assistant program which requires me to get a BS then at least 2 years of additional schooling. Is there any advice you can give to me about attaining this goal through the VR Or any advice about what to expect they may tell me that I should fight them on. They are already stating that I have been rehabilitated in 2004. Ugh

Gerry
Gerry

I have a 10% disability. I have been searching for something better than my $8/hr job. My Voc Rehab counselor, who rarely responds to my emails or voicemails, insists that since I already have a Criminal Justice BA degree: KEEP looking on USA jobs website and KEEP making “cold calls” to get an internship! Now is that what Voc Rehab Counselors get paid to do?

Will
Will

They have a jobs coordinator at the office. If the Voc Rehab counselor is not mentioning this, then you need to tell him you want a new voc rehab counselor or that you want to see their supervisor. In addition to being disabled which gives you a 10 point veterans preference with federal employment (which pays back your student loans if you want a little extra cash, like i do), you should be placed on a “Select A” job listserv. Once again, the counselors are lazy and just need to be prodded. Threatening to need a new one is a good way to remind them that you aren’t going to take their shit.

Tim
Tim

I always knew Voc Rehab in both Oakland, CA. and Birmingham, AL. were full of — Horse Pucky! Yeah, I cleaned it up, but this information infuriates me! Where is this so called “Oath” they swore by?!? Or is that an illusion, too!

I received my B.A. in 1999, and though I had douche-bags for counselors, and was passed to several other Douche-bags along the way of finishing my B.A., I finally received it and was thankful. But then, due to VA doctor negligence for multiple years, which they’ll swear they knew nothing of, I lost my limb from misdiagnosis by VA doctors. That aside, I reapplied to Voc Rehab twice for grad school and denied each time being told I was “rehabilitated”.

They said this knowing I had just lost my limb! It’s hard for me to sit here and write this knowing I want to see each of them doing hard time in federal pens for these incredibly despicable crimes they’ve committed against me and far too many other veterans. Okay, why isn’t our government doing anything?? WAKE UP WASHINGTON, DC — TIME TO TAKE SOME ACTION!

But it doesn’t take away the fact that these scum-buckets already hurt many veterans and their families. Enough with threats of “days of reckoning”. It’s time our government held these “criminals”, yes CRIMINALS accountable. It may sound like ranting, but these are things needed to be said and by not only myself, but the thousands of veterans who’ve been hurt and those that are still being dismissed by these same JERKS!

Now I’m sitting on a mound of debts in school loans and the actions that my government should be taking to assist me with getting out from all these debts is far and away taking way too long and always held up by ridiculous actions in our legislature. Now I’m trying to contact the folks at the VA Loans Forgiveness dept and all I’m getting are fax ringings. Can anyone assist with a number to this place for me to actually speak with a representative? Thanks!

John
John

I have finished with my Bachelor’s Degree and have been looking for work. I was told there is a stipend paid out while looking for work. Is this true? If so, where do I find the pay table?

Lorraine
Lorraine

I am 100% disabled and I have all these school loans for a degree I’ll never have. I need these loans to be forgiven! Where do I turn?

Robert
Robert

https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/ if they are federal loans

john f rivero
john f rivero

Served nearly 28 years of military service.Was AN ENLISTED GRUNT MARINE,Thengot a bs/AFofficer COMMISSION.RETIRED 97..ALL IS WELL.Taught hs for nearly 10 YEARS.Then MY world CAME apart.Son killed in iraq doing the same thing i did in nam m-60 machine gunner.Istarted having the nightmares of combat in nam, and in south americadrug contridictionprogram.GOT really suicidal and sent to ptsd program it saved my life.Got 100%P/T did not want it wanted to get healed and go back to work.See work way the form of selfmedication i used to keep mares away.every job i ever had both military/civilian i worked without pay for an additional 20plus hrs per. weel life is good. Son dies I had major set back told i NEVER could work again NOT safe for any future employer.I got so many meds i hate.got regular va psyc.In addition got tbi and lost many cognitive skills i once had.Dclared not stable enough to handle my own funds.EVERY place the VA has sent me for rehab my mind they all said i was the hardest worker on my rehab they ever had.OK fast forward MY memory is improving i can now do most things for myself i help home/ptsd veterans get help.I find i have for helping others.My question is how do i request the VA to pay for me to go back to college for Rehab purposes I got a mba way back when but now i feel starting at a ba/bs or even as/as would help me rehab what little braen cells i got left i really want to do this but can not afford it What do you recommend.

Laadig
Laadig

To the person looking to get the student loans dismissed. Go online and look up disabled veteran discharge student loan. You can pull up the application and began the process.

P-Nice
P-Nice

Question ::: It states above that, “Additionally, veterans with an IU are also allowed to use the program. Further, finishing the training program does not automatically result in a reduction of IU. Supposedly, it cannot be reduced for a year following employment.”

My question is regarding IU. Where can I find out that IU will not be reduced for a year following employment?

Thank you in advance

Jacque
Jacque

Hello,

It is not just Vets that VR are discouraging to go to school. I am on SS disability and I have been trying to get into the VR program for over a year. They keep putting me off with excuses then no phone calls. This is even after I have had an advocacy person helping me. She did remember some very important issues in the meeting. VR is fibbing to me and even got medical records without my permission. I am furious and I do not know who I can contact to help me. I ma tired of going to mediation with these people as they only tell the mediator what they want to hear then they go back doing the very same thing, which is nothing. I would like to know who to contact to either sue them (I could have been in school and out by the length of time they have put my life on hold) or get the fire torching under their behinds. This is totally ridiculous! I need direction as do many other people. Who do we go to for help here?

Emily
Emily

I just had my second Voc rehab appointment today. I was denied. There was no doubt that I have a severe employment handicap. The problem was her opinion that I am not stable enough for employment to be feasable right now. She told me to come back in a year. She also said that I had to give up my non-service connected pension in order to be in the program. Then she started into some BS about the 48 months. My mental health professionals who are way more qualified as Doctors were the ones who suggested I apply for Voc rehab. She never even asked me what it was that I wanted to do! How can she say that I can’t be employable with proper training. I want to be a nurse and that takes 3 years in my circumstances. I am just confused. I thought the program was supposed to help veterans like me!

Will
Will

You can’t stop at one person. Tell her you want to talk to her supervisor and plead your case. Most of the time the people are just lazy and don’t want to the extra paperwork. Which sounds like BS, but they really try to defer more people than they accept. You should get a letter of recommendation from your mental health professionals or not even bring it up in the first place. The program is designed to help veterans but you have to play their game, but once you understand their game, its quite easy to manage. You just need evidence, and logic. Get those letters of recommendation, and settle for no. You’ll get on their nerves, but you’ll get what you want.

JJ
JJ

I am currently employed as a Facilities Engineer and make a pretty good wage, but have deteriorated over the last couple of years and increased my rating from 20-30%. I am hoping to utilize voc rehab to be more competitive in my field or another field in which will decrease degree of labor intensity. What is the feasibility that my claim will be denied due to currently being employed?

John Gibbons
John Gibbons

I had my first meeting with my V.R.& E. Case Mgr. last week, I am interested in the A.G.I. Gunsmithing course. She reviewed my paper work & files & said that I was entitled under the Chapter 31 Program. She also said that I could do anything I wanted except gunsmithing, when I asked her why not she said it was because I have P.T.S.D.

I am rated @ 50% P.T.S.D., however it seems funny to me that I can pass an FBI background check to purchase a gun, get a C.H.L. & even get a F.F.L., but I can’t study gunsmithing because I have P.T.S.D. Personally I don’t think the Lady like guns very much by a couple of remarks she made.

My questions are: 1) Is she telling me the truth? 2) How can I get another Case Mgr. without creating more problems? 3) I applied on line initially, should I go through the DAV & let them handle it now?

Thanks in advance for you help in this matter!

John

flo
flo

I am going to undergradute school. I was interested in studying aboard; however my Voc Rehab Counselor told me I couldn’t because the program wasn’t covered under chapter 21. Well another veternan using his GI bill was allowed to study aboard!? I told the counselor what I found out and she told me it was different coverages between us both? I thought Voc Rehab was using our GI Bill to cover for our classes therefore we should be able to use Voc Rab to study aboard! What do you all think?

Herr Uhren
Herr Uhren

My understanding is that when using the GI Bill, that if the program of choice includes a necessary component of studying abroad, the VA will cover it. Here is a helpfull link;

http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/foreign_schools.html

I will complete my Undergraduate degree this spring, and start studying in the Winter semester 2013 in Berlin Germany, at a Graduate Uni (Using VR&E benifits)

Rick P
Rick P

i am currently working with voc rehab , im in school now tryining to transfer to a 4 year college but im being told that va will not pay for a bachelors they will only pay for an associates but i live in san diego and there are no jobs under voc rehab guidlines that except only associates degrees. so they are going to deny me any way just on that alone . they want you to put together a program for your success then they say they wont pay for that so yes you fall through the cracks because they will say that im the one who failed to adhere to the program

Christy
Christy

They are lying to you. I am currently a senior in my bachelor’s degree program through the VA Voc Rehab program. I had problems with my first VA Counselor, so I went their office and insisted on being assigned a new counselor. The first one told me that I couldn’t go to an online school unless it was for a business degree. My 2nd counselor (in the same office) approved an online program for a degree in Psychology and Christian Counseling. Don’t take just one person’s answer! You have to fight for your rights with the VA so keep at it and you will get what you need. You can always write to your Congressman as well…they usually get things to happen quite quickly. Good luck.

Herr Uhren
Herr Uhren

That is not exactly true… When you apply for VR&E benifits, part of the intiial application is an apptitude test, if you do not score well enough they will not pay to send you to a 4yr or graduate college. It would not be in the VA’s or the Veteran’s best interest to send someone to school, when they are not capable of understanding and thus completing the degree requirements. I am in the VR&E program currently, I scored well enough that my individual program plan is worded to include Undergraduate/Graduate/Ph.D./Clinical Certifications, it is all in there. The right thing to do is be honest and firm with your counselor and tell them what you want up front, it can be very difficult to change the plan later on.

S Hernandez
S Hernandez

I am 80% disabled veteran and I have applied for Voc Rehab to get my BA. they aprove, I also still have my GI bill .Question : where can I find out if VA will reduce or cancel my disability after finish my school program, somebody told me, they will and I worry about it.

Thank for your attention,

Will
Will

Your risk of losing your ability has nothing to do with school. Whenever you go above 70% in disability, the VA reserves the right to have a follow-up visit to make sure you are still 80% disabled, unfortunately that is just the way it is. If you get down to 70% you never have to have a checkup visit again, but it makes sense. If you were to be 80%, improved, and then they were just throwing money away, they would look pretty foolish.

Armand
Armand

I’m an 84 year old veteran with a 70% service related disbaility. I have started several manuscripts for stories and books and need help with transcription and typing. I was told that there is electronic equipment available that uses voice recognition and can be used with Ipad or computer . I’m wondering if my veteran’s status would qualify me to receive aid in the purchase of this equipment . Who to see and where to buy??? Thanks.

mstaiadair
mstaiadair

get a doctors order….and it is tax deductible
 

kazmax
kazmax

I recently graduate and my sorry counselor have not made contact with me overr a year. My degree was supposed to been in high school English, but I did not pass the state teachers  exam. Therefore, I could not finish the education program and graduate with an BA in english. I cannot find suitable employment. I requested to go to school to get a MPP or MBA so I can work at the the college level with students and I was told they do not pay for a master degree. Please help with advice.

Jeremy
Jeremy

I’m rated at 80% with 70% for PTSD I’ve had lots of difficulty including Voc Rehab sending me to truck school. My current counselor seems cool she actually looked at my situation and overturned the rehabilitated status and now I’m in. When I spoke with her she assumes that I can’t handle nursing school as this was my top choice because its stressful for most people. She had me look into other healthcare positions and the one that seems the best for me is Veterinary Medicine. I currently have a bachelors degree and would need 24 credits of prereqs before being able to apply. My concern is that she said she doesn’t think I can handle nursing school and veterinary school is harder. I’m good with sciences, I’m a total nerd that studies biological science chem and physics for fun. For me animals nature and science are theraputic. These things help me unwind from stress and that is why Ive become more focused on DVM. How can I convince her of this fact, and to get to go to vet school? I know myself, my family thinks its a good idea, but I have this person who doesn’t know me or my abilities in control of my future. Please give me some ideas. Thanks

Sarah
Sarah

Jeremy,
I am in the same position as you are. I have a BA in Biology and I want to be a veterinarian. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a vet. However, I have super low self-esteem and self-confidence and I’ve been telling myself for the past few years (because of what I read and heard from other people about how difficult it is to get in) that I would never be accepted into vet school. Due to this fear of rejection, I began looking for alternative medical jobs and requested to use voc rehab for a physician assistant degree (masters). I was denied because they said my PTSD disabilities would hinder me from attaining my goals as a PA. Nice way to boost my already low self-esteem. If the VA thinks that of me, what would they think if I asked to go to vet school?? my goodness, they would probably laugh at me. Anyway, after reading this article and others by Ben, I think I want to pursue my dream with a career in vet medicine. It’s probably gonna be a fight, but I think I need to do this. I don’t want you to give up either. Let me know if you get any advice from anyone and I will do the same.
Good luck!
Sarah

David
David

It took me just shy of two years to receive my disability rating. I am 50% disabled and I have already been attending under graduate school. My plan A is to apply to medical school. Plan B is to go all the way to earn a PhD in biology and do research and teach at a university. I have just been approved for the voc rehab but they said they probably won’t pay for anything above a bachelors. I am already classified as a junior. I am very glad I came across this article. Thanks for the valuable info and I will make sure that I am able to receive benefits to attend medical school and or grad school.

playball
playball

i used voc rehab to get a bachelors degree. however i was told that they would not pay for my masters which i had to pay for myself. wish i knew now what i didnt know then. i am unable to work in my degree field. i have recently recieved an increase in my disability from 30 to 80% percent. so my question is this. can i use voc rehab again.

Will
Will

Of course you can. You simply need to tell them of a career choice that requires a degree. Whichever job you choose that requires more work, is usually the safer bet. I had to fight tooth and nail to get my master’s in international affairs because the first counselor said that an undergrad degree was enough. However, if you say you want to be a lawyer, then how can you be a lawyer without a law degree, or a doctor without a medical degree. If the first lady says no, then speak to her boss. Don’t ever give up. The VA is just lazy and needs to be prodded in order to get what you what.

Miller
Miller

Thank a lot people, I have learned a lot from you and the website… Much appreciated and God bless all the Vet..

Akuin
Akuin

I’m not a Veteran, but I am disabled. They do this test thing for the government I scored 4 out of 5, meaning I’m extremely disabled, but not enough for the government to put me on disability, I’m just -EXTREMELY- unlikely to find work on my own. Voc Rehab offered to pay for graduate training to make me more desirable, as long as I completed it in -ONE YEAR- yeah, you heard me right, do four years of college in a -single year-. Because of my disabilities it took me -10- years to get an AA. That’s a two year degree in 10 years. And despite the fact I have Advanced Access Training, they won’t get me the means to keep my skills from rusting but hey they will help me get a McDonald’s job even though they -know- that it puts me at risk of a fatal mental break down. They need a serious overhaul of the system. I’m not even working with a local agent because the only guy ‘allowed’ to work for them in my town caused me to explode in public (something that doesn’t happen) due to his constant lies and horrible treatment of me.

MonaLisa
MonaLisa

My Vocational Rehab counselor told me that I had seven months left in the program. I enrolled in school to complete my Master’s degree in education. I will complete this program in one year. I have been in school since September. I plan to start teaching in the 2013 school year. Recently I spoke with my counselor. Now she says that her supervisor has denied my Vocational Rehab because of my disability. She states that because I have Fibromyalgia, I will not be able to teach school. However recent tests have indicated that this diagnosis in incorrect and I am within normal limits medically. Can she make this decision? Who can I appeal to?

Sgt Roberts
Sgt Roberts

Mona, I do not think they can deny your benefits like that. Get the denial in writing and then just appeal it. You have the right to appeal ANY decision that the VA makes. The last time I saw a Voc Rehab counselor, she asked too many questions about my disabilities. It got really annoying because I do not think she’s qualified to assist me with my conditions. I felt she really overstepped her bounds..

Sgt. Ernest Simmons Jr
Sgt. Ernest Simmons Jr

Hello Everyone I’m Ernest Simmons Jr. Vietnam Vet 1969 – 1970 191st AHC Dung Tam and Can Toe Airfield. my first 14 days in country we went thru three rocket mortar attacks I was hurt jumping off top of the bunker hitting my back and head on the door and was knocked out I was pulled into of the connex that was use for the bunker, I was given doavon for pain and sent back to work the second attack a round hit so close to me that the blast threw me and my entire right side of my body seem to be on fire and the pain went thru me, I was just 18 years volunteered for service and Vietnam at 17 years at NYC times square recruiting. none of this new about keeping records none of us though about how we would feel thirty fourty years later we were just glad as hell to be alive. it took 33 years for VA to finally find my records even though several request were made by myself and others, VA borrowed my records from St Louis in 1979. when I received them more than half my records were missing including the records of the wounds during those two attacks, no one can find them and believe me I have search. all of those years that I did not have my records I was denied and there reasons for denying my claims was NO MEDICAL evidence, those when I received them some of the medical conditions I told them about was there. I’m still fighting with VA about some of the conditions concerning my back and head and now Peripheral Neuropathy, I have just been given 70% rating PTSD and I was recently given 100% temporary for Cancer. in the pass I have tried to take my life for many reasons and most of those reasons come from my military service 6 years 4 months. It is a all up hill fight for your rights and your benefits but do not do what I use to do GIVE UP fight until you die.

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