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 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.
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:
[quote style="1"]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.[/quote]
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.