VA Voc Rehab Buys Disabled Veterans iPads and More

Ever wonder why your buddy was approved for a Mac while you got a PC? Or why you were denied an iPad? Well, this post will help answer those questions.

Here’s the square deal on why the Department of Veterans Affairs publishes little if anything about its purchasing program for high tech items for veterans. Well, no one can really answer why, but we’ll hopefully dispel a myth or two and help some disabled veterans get the equipment they need to succeed.

In reality, there are many different programs the VA manages within the Health Administration and Benefits Administration. Different rules apply to the VBA and VHA, but the VA is not clear about specifics as to how to qualify.

To combat this, we created this post to be a non-exhaustive list of items. We will add different items as more information comes from the readers. Please feel free to comment below if you have an experience you believe will help fellow veterans get the equipment they need.

Veterans Benefits Administration – Vocational Rehabilitation

  • iPad 2 – 64 GB WiFi with 3G           $850
  • 15” MacBook Pro                                 $1800
  • LifeScribe Smart Pen                          $200
  • Vehicle Modifications                        $20,000+
  • Home Modifications                           $25,000+
  • Business Equipment                           $100,000+
  • Manufacturing Equipment                $100,000+
  • Camera and Film Equipment            $25,000+
  • Ergonomic Chairs and Desks           $1,000+
  • Private Educational Assessments    $3,000+
  • Cable Internet                                        $50 per month
  • Accessories required for training     $XX

Known VA Benefits Justifications

VA Voc Rehab Counselors can authorize numerous tablets including iPads, LifeScribe Smart Pens and MacBook Pros for many veterans with head injuries leading to memory loss. The justification is that the items help veterans keep track of tasks and appointments, among other things. Veterans can request this by speaking with their counselor.

Equipment for Self-Employment

Photography equipment, tractors, industrial and manufacturing equipment and others can be approved for veterans in Vocational Rehabilitation approved for Self Employment. The VA is authorized by Congress to approve business plans greater than $100,000. But don’t get your hopes up. Most counselors try to push veterans to keep funding under $20,000 despite the impact on the success of the company.

Ergonomic Equipment

Ergonomic desks and chairs are also approved for certain veterans with back injuries. Desks rang from typical desks to desks with hydraulic lifts. Chairs can be standard or top brands like Herman Miller.

Vehicle Modifications

Voc Rehab Independent Living and the Health Administration can equip qualified veterans with retrofitted vehicles through Independent Living. The purpose of Independent Living is to provide extremely disabled veterans with the maximum amount of freedom in day to day living. This is not limited to minivans. VA has been known to also approve grants for trucks, according to the Facebook Group: Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab, one disabled veteran wrote:

Time to RIDE CLYDE! A mobility Vehicle does NOT MEAN a MINI VAN! Here is a 2011 Chevy 2500HD with a 6.6L Turbo Duramax Z71 4×4 Crew Cab. Set up with a Wheel Chair lift in the bed. A transfer seat mounted UNDER the drivers door. Hand Controls and Electric Parking Brake! All installed via grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Memory Loss Assessments

If you don’t know what a Psycho-educational Assessment is, you’re not alone. I had no idea what it was until we realized my Traumatic Brain Injury may have caused permanent memory loss affecting Foreign Language learning. These assessments allow veterans to diagnose the impact of their learning disability on college academic performance. Cost can range from $1,000 to $3,500. Once diagnosed by the civilian, there are two benefits. First, the veterans with a learning disability can get extended time on academic testing. For example, veterans can qualify for one and one half time on their LSAT, GMAT or SAT for admission. Extended time on the LSAT means the veteran would get 7.5 hours to complete it instead of the allocated 5 hours.

Increase Your Disability Rating

Second, veterans can further use the results to increase their disability rating through Compensation and Pension. Veterans with head injuries in service could be entitled to further benefits once the condition is diagnosed, increases up to 70 percent if the person has a moderate cognitive impact or 40 percent for mild impact with memory loss. I personally had to fight for an increase from 10 percent to 40 percent despite having permanent brain scarring. The VA’s Comp & Pension team tried to claim it was the result of Multiple Sclerosis or Lymes Disease. However, the DVA Health Administration reevaluated the claim and concluded the scarring was due to the head injury.

This helped me receive a fair disability rating and is an illustration how Vocational Rehabilitation evaluations and Health Administration evaluations can increase your disability compensation rating.

Again, this post lays out many of the top items reported by veterans from the Facebook Group Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31. Check it out.

 

 

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Comments

  1. I served in the 80s, after Viet nam, but before desert storm, which is concidered peace time. do I qualify for anything. Everything ive been reading has been for war vets only. Why doesnt our service time count for anything? We volunteered for our service, there was no more draft. So are we less a veteran than the other guys?

  2. How would I be able to get these? I haven’t even applied for a disability rating yet.. I’m having the hardest time staying focused and planning my time accordingly. Three fractured lumbar, patella femoral in both knees, tinitus ptsd and SEVERE mood swings..

    • Les Dingfield. Vietnam Veteran 67-68 says:

      You need to go to a VA hospital and ask to apply for disability or go to a Veterans service center in your county!

  3. There is also a Clothing Allowance Check for Veterans who require a prosthetic appliance. I for instance need a knee brace so I qualify for a check once a year. You have to go to your Prosthetic Clinic and ask to fill out a quick claim form and they will process it for you.

    • Liisa,
      I am in voc rehab entering my senior year toward a degree in Emergency Management. I am rated at 30% for my left knee. I will need a knee replacement fairly soon. Currently I am required to wear a custom made carbon fiber knee brace. It does wear a hole in my jeans as well as the edge of shorts. Would I qualify for this clothing allowance you speak of?
      How much will I receive IF approved? When does it come?

  4. Hi everyone, just found this site…. good info Ben, thank you.

    Question: I am getting ready to start an Internship in Social Work. The drive is about 30 miles roundtrip. Does the VA Voc program help with travel and clothes as I also have to buy new attire?

    thanks for your help.

  5. Ms. Brudett,

    You go through Voc Rehab, again-independent living is part of their domain of influence.

  6. Chigozie Stephens says:

    Could Matthew Zeller please give more details on how to properly write a request for the equipments (PC/Smart Pen) so that it does not get rejected? Thank you in advance.

  7. I am sitting in the V.A. hospital right nowwith a knee replacement.l have also had 8 spinal fusions.I am rated at 20% and have been tryin for a increase,I also have central apnea, along with T.B.I.
    I cannot remember much short term and get very confused with dealing with these issues.
    Is there anyone that will sit down and go over everything with you.
    brian_rgn@yahoo.com. Semper Fi

  8. Matthew Zeller says:

    VHA bought me a smart pen which is a very cool tool. Voc rehab has made many purchase for me to pursue my educational goals. I received an HP laptop computer with printer/scanner combo, iPad 2, as well as an iPhone. The only down fall was I first had to pay out of pocket for the iPhone and iPad and they then reimbursed me. They will also buy iPod touches. If you can write a justification letter with a little bit of effort put into it they will give you just about anything. They just don’t tell you about it. I was even able to get my counselor to approve me for a dual MBA/MHA program after I finish my undergraduate degree this summer.

  9. Richard Emelio says:

    Does this cover desktop PC’s too?

  10. donna p burdett says:

    I went through Vic Rehab in Indiana and have now moved to Florida, I am 80% but paid at 100% ,and have been rated unimployable,I have a TBI, and numerous orthopedic problems, I live in bay county,Florida who do I contact to be placed back in the independant living program? Any help would be helpful. Thank-you.

So what do you think?