VocRehab Conference St Paul RO

The Department of Veterans Affairs VocRehab Program invited Benjamin Krause to sit on its veterans panel before an audience of 80 vocational counselors next week.

All right, it is time for you to get a little ‘behind the scenes’ of what I have been working on for the five years until now that is starting to bear fruit. And, I am sure some of you reading this may be surprised by the invitation.

‘Aren’t you the guy who blasts VA almost daily?’

Yes, that is true; I do blast VA almost daily. As a result, it has opened some doors of communication within various programs, surprisingly.

Most certainly, VA is moving in a new direction to include discussion from veterans and advocates who may not be happy with what VA is doing or has done. The invitation is all about improving access to veterans while diminishing mistakes that cause in veterans being incorrectly denied access to VocRehab.

RELATED: Board Of Veterans Appeals Invites Krause To Speak On Veterans Panel

Some Background On VocRehab Policy

Since 2012, I have met with heads of VocRehab to help improve the program from a policy perspective. Through direct communications with Congress and VocRehab, we have been able to negotiate or modify policies on self-employment funding access, insurance coverage and health care access, informal hearings for denied veterans (upcoming), and new criteria for notice of appellate rights (upcoming).

Recently, I pressed VocRehab to include me in training for program counselors during annual conventions and other events. Some of the problems veterans experience have persisted over the past 8 years of my veterans rights work, leading me to believe the problem may exist within training materials or techniques used by the program.

And finally, after pushing for access, I was invited to participate.

RELATED: New Appeals Chief At VA Reaches Out To Blogger For Feedback

Next week, VocRehab is holding its annual education conference at St. Paul Regional Office. This facility was recently remodeled and is a great location for practically all veteran-centric events.

Part of that conference includes a veterans panel moderated by Director Jack Kammerer and Dorothy Williams. Last week, Kammerer extended an offer for me to participate on the panel, which is obviously a grand gesture given that I am one of the loudest dissenters about VA policy and practices in the country.

Input?

That said, I thought I would ask you what you might say if you were on the panel and asked about your experience using VocRehab?

What do you think?

Your Input… On Steriods

As an aside, I am working hard to create a database of VocRehab employees with a review feature to allow veterans an opportunity to review each employee and see what other veterans had to say about their customer service experience.

This is my contribution to the new MyVA iCare initiatives to ensure VA employees are provided the Disney customer service former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald espoused last year.

I am presently testing various directory plugins to find one that allows robust reviews but also ease of searching.

These negotiations and testing on WordPress is why I did not publish a few days this past month. Lots to do, and only two hands to do it.

cj

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cj

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Fred Rendon Jr

I never used the VA for school. I was working ona MS when I had sudden hearing loss. 1994. Now I want to finish my Masters in counseling and Voc Rehab denied my claim for Voc Rehab.

namnibor
“[…This is my contribution to the new MyVA iCare initiatives to ensure VA employees are provided the Disney customer service former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald espoused last year….]” When you go, do not be fooled by the cute Disney Characters, it may very-well be a trap. Kudos to being invited, but keep-in-mind that old wise saying that goes something along the lines of knowing whom your enemies are and enemy’s kept close, and bring some VA Kryptonite in… Read more »
namnibor

Stick of truth. Similar to Wonder Woman’s Lasso Of Truth, but Benjamin’s Stick Of Truth is made out of pure VA Kryptonite, which shines the disinfecting qualities of daylight on fraud and obstruction.

(Benjamin’s dauntless cape is still in alpha development, being an USAF guy, naturally he wishes to soar)

namnibor

And Wonder Woman has that USAF Invisible Jet kind of taken at the moment, room only for 1)

frances l beard
“why it’s too much to ask for them all to be on the same page and educated on providing educational benefits and training for Veterans? same question for most ppl. Although I am using Ch 31 now, it took raising holy jihad to get it approved. Appeal and raise hell when others can walkin in with a 20 per cent and get approved? A lt. col can ask for a schedule A letter and get it emailed in 5 minutes,… Read more »
MIFNP
Hi Ben, I am in Voc Rehab for my doctorate of nursing practice degree. My Voc Rehab counselor never responds to any of my desperate pleas to contact me regarding administrative issues in my program. I had to email Mr. John Riskovich 10 times, leave three voice messages, contact his co-worker who resides in the office next to his, and finally email the Regional Director just to compel this guy to contact me. I have been told the VA will… Read more »
Brandon Coleman
Proud of you Ben and your efforts. Even prouder to call you a friend. Gosh if they are including you on panels to help fix the VA, maybe they will continue to get all wild and crazy and actually acknowledge whistleblowers and being noted whistleblowers to the table to make sure the mess of the last three years stops happening? As I have said many times…. the only ones who have faced real punishment from the VA are the brave… Read more »
VAISLYING INC

MR KRAUSE WATCH YOUR 6 VA TRATS WILL STAB YO IN THE BACK INA HERTBEAT JUST FREE ADVICE THE AFGE UNION OWN VA THATS A LEGAL FACT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James Clement

Following.

Windguy

All of a sudden I started humming “Onward Christian Soldiers”….

namnibor

🙂 🙂

K.T.
I just wonder why it is that counselors fail to inform veterans, when creating one’s initial plan, that one can in fact obtain a graduate degree? I think it should be mandatory that counselors inform the veteran of all of his or her opportunities, not keep one in the dark, purposely and when the veteran finds out that one is being cut-off from reaching one’s full potential, to then hit one over the head with the regulations. It’s wrong and… Read more »
LP
Off topic THE VA HAS A NEW WAIT TIME SCAM Utilizing sub contractors to get c&p appointments done the va is able to say their wait times have all but disappeared. With me, they have intentionally used a company called QTC to schedule appointments FOR me, well out of my range of travel and without my consent or knowledge. Then when I don’t show up, they send me a letter stating that my claims are denied since I Refused to… Read more »
Angela
@Benjamin, this invitation is absolutely outstanding. I hope change in the positive direction can soon start taking hold in the Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation program. Benjamin, with you breaking through the barrier made of steel maybe they will facilitate changes in the best interest of the veteran based on your recommendations and from your deep insight that you gained from your own experience while participating in the program yourself. Benjamin, I am getting back into the workforce via internships and… Read more »
Angela
@Benjamin, I am back to finish my comments for the topics of Voc Rehab, medications, and optometry in the VA. As for Chapter 31, Benjamin, more types of testing should be applied. Many years ago VBA had actual Psychologists testing the veterans but now all they have is the Career Scope Test. This test only offers a snap shot of the veterans capabilities. As for the Voc Rehab Counselor that I had in the extended evaluation, she was lazy. Benjamin,… Read more »
namnibor

Benjamin, by the way, that is a really ominous VAMC in your “Bad VA Art” today. That could be any building in Buffalo, N.Y. or Batman’s Gotham.

CorpsmanUp!
Kudos to getting invited, but still someone has to address that illegal DBC shit that goes on in VA. Shulkin ir no one has addressed many civil cases that have merit in which DOJ and VA have covered up over the last 3 years. Meghan Flanz is now in charge , for the moment of OGC. That new hotline is only to gather information about who is calling in. The dude on the line asked me for my last 4… Read more »
Jane
Congrats Ben!!!!, Yes @CorpsmanUp! the DBC illegal Kangaroo courts need to stop ASAP! When vets have to travel overnight be it to another VA or out in town provider vets and their caregiver reimbursement was changed Oct 1 2016 from 50% down to 25% cant even get reimbursement for coffee! URGH even worse for hotel lodging of 50% of Govt Rate try doing that in Winter Prime Time for Tamp Bay! NOT disabled vets 50%-100%+ loss every time 🙁 we… Read more »
Jo3n
@Ben, congratulations….. This is why you do what you do. Now, after many years of…..experience dealing with some of the most crooked folks in our country, you’ve been invited to ????. Share your common sense, with those who are not interested in common sense. Make sure it gets recorded…, don’t take notes. Remember Ben, what’s important to you, is important to all of us. You’ve earned all the good things that come to you. You have more knowledge of the… Read more »
David Curry

If I could give one suggestion it would be to ensure that ALL job postings for Voc Rehab counselors are open to all special hiring authority’s like VEOA and VRA. Way too many job postings are only open to Current Permanent VA employees which is a legal work-around for skirting Veterans preference and special hiring authority laws. Further many hiring managers seemingly have no desire to use special hiring authorities despite the VA’s public EEO and veteran hiring initiative stance.

Rich B
Many jobs are only open to employees for two reasons, one is that employees get new jobs which result in a higher grade, almost like getting a promotion, that they otherwise can’t get in their previous job. The other reason is to limit government employees, often times new jobs filled by current employees result in the old job never being filled or eliminated completely which always happens anytime they talk about downsizing. It is not a way to skirt laws… Read more »
Rich B
Let me add , to use special hiring authorities requires special justification paperwork , that is why a lot of supervisor won’t use it, others just don’t think veterans should get preference. In 1988, when I applied to work for the Post office, and was interviewed in Killeen Texas, I was told by the Post Master that he was concerned my service connected back disability would prevent me from doing the job… and he used that as his reason for… Read more »
Crazy elf

Ben, as namnibor says, “Kudos for the invite!”

Only, because it’s “former Secretary of VA”, Robert McDonald’s “Disney type of confab”, I’d be careful.

Remember, “Disney’s land” is a “Fantasyland full of all kinds of imaginary characters!” Some good, yet, many can be very deceptive in nature!

namnibor

Especially deceptive in nature are those underfoot seven dwarves and that greedy wretch snow white. Seek-out the evil twin sisters, Graves and Helman travel in order to follow the path of fraud you seek.

Oh, also avoid entirely Minnie Mouse. Once in her sadistic ratty claws you will awake after the roofy, to find yourself ass-up trapped her in torture chamber inside a mouse trap right next to Mickey.

John Cianci
In September 2016, as a disabled Veteran , per ADA, I asked the VA counselor if OK to use my tape recorder for our next counseling. (1) I was in recovery from a TBI ( being seen at VA Boston), (2) had new haring aides, which I was not comfortable wearing. (3) sleep disorder and other physical ailments results in confusion at times ( if I don’t get sleep ) She denied it. I asked approval from her Voc Rehab… Read more »
Rich B

Just a note, I recorded my conversations with counselor in Georgia.. when I went to his supervisor with the recording which clearly indicated a run around, his boss said too bad, I don’t tell them how to do their job.

Haikii

Congratulations, as always your efforts, a job well done.

T
Great news! My time was in the eighties so of no use today. Talking to a guy last year about his life and going for a Masters, Human Services, Dope Counselor. Same as my time was the really long waiting time to see someone while sitting in an empty waiting room with multiple VR staff. Always. Then he said he had to cease school for a while due to red tape, paper work, and getting benefits due him back into… Read more »
Shannon Ketchersid

Are you trying to come up with a “Rate My VRC” like “Rate My Professor?” I think that’s a fabulous idea! I’m also proud of you!!

Dina Padilla

WHERE does the VA get its Voc Rehab counselors and what schools did they get their degrees. (in a bubble gum wrapper or cracker jack box still doesn’t qualify!
How is that Vic Rehab money allocated?
Why do so many vets NOT get rehab approved?
OR would these ?’s be asking too much for VA oversight to answer?
Does the VA Voc Rehab program have any oversight oris just another money sieve for Kiaser?

Dennis

Ben,

Is this a brunch affair? Are they serving chicken?… One point of clarification, is this panel conducted by VA folks pushing each other around on a gym floor to gather balls up off the ground? It takes a lot of balls to do that sort of thing I guess and Trump promises efficiency so maybe he took their balls away? Please report back if VA has been left with any balls, ok?

Rich B
Would be nice if some things could be changed, especially since I applied for an Independent Living Program thru 3 different regional offices ( Waco, Georgia, Houston) between 2004 and 2011 and never got pass the initial discussions. In fact one regional office ( Georgia) strung me along for 2 years before telling me to screw off. As I have mentioned previously, in 2004 I purchased your you book about Vocational rehabilitation, it did not have one thing in it… Read more »
Lem
Truth is Rehab counselors just don’t understand what they are dealing with in TBIs. I remember one asking what I wanted to do. And I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know what I could do. And I couldn’t even think to say that I didn’t know what I could do with some effectivity. I think if I could have gotten that across there wouldn’t have been much help. but I remember the tests going in to the Navy as identifying… Read more »
Rich B

Lem,

Its not just people with TBI’s that they don’t know how to deal with.. it is everyone in general

Lem

What I tried to say is the Rehab counselors do not know how to help a person find a vocation that they are competent at.

OLDMARINE

Good morning fellow prisoners

Dennis

Bubba, is that you? Turn the lights on man.

Crazy elf
I’m going to go off topic. Only, in my opinion, y’all need to read this article! From: “Military.com/Daily News” Dated: 8 June 2017 Titled: “Some Vets With PTSD Are Scamming the VA: Testimony” By Richard Sisk (Military.com reporter) I’m not sure how to respond to this “issue”. The only thing I can agree with this soldier on is, “YES!” There are scammers out there wanting something for nothing! Whenever monies is involved, the “rats come out to play!” Look at… Read more »
Crazy elf

P.S.
If the Secretary of VA, Shulkin, really was interested in stopping the scammers. He would start with Rubens, Graves, Helman and a whole host of other high profile VA SES’rs, Directors, Contractors and others “Scamming the system”! Instead of trying to take away our benefits, ie: Individual Unemployablity!
Make these “Scammers” pay back the taxpayers monies they stole!

That’s all I have to say about this bullshit! RANT OVER FOR NOW!

Windguy
It’s not just the VA. The whole of government and our commerce is now focused on “taking”. “I got mine, eff you”. Healthcare seems to be one of the more lucrative troughs from which to feed and engorge. We wouldn’t need the VA if we had a functional single payer system – NOT MEDICARE. Every system we have has been financially engineered and lobbied to perfection allowing thieves unbridled access to everyone’s pockets. I just spoke with my brother in… Read more »
namnibor
@Windguy- Speaking of Australia, and keep-in-mind the inflated $$$ conversion: A name brand, no generic infectious disease RX I have to take to stay alive that has 3 drugs in the cocktail costs retail here in the USA $ 3,200. for -30- TABLETS, ONE MONTH SUPPLY. That EXACT SAME DRUG is marketed under an entirely different name brand, same company, and Australians get this same RX for USD equiv. of $75. a MONTH. Guess who is still paying research and… Read more »
cj

@namnibor: nam, I too am on an expensive med, I get mine for free. Most expensive drugs, you can go to their website and print out a drug assistance program form, you fill out your part, the doc fills out their part, you double check to make sure doc filled it correctly, including refill amounts. You may already know all this, just throwing out there for others as well.

cj

Later Gators. Have a great day.

namnibor
@CJ- I was kicked off of any Drug Assistance Programs once I started receiving VA Comp. 100% Svc. Connected, along with my SSDI, and use Medicare. NONE of those drug co’s assistance programs count towards one’s Medicare Pt. D Drug Plan’s out of pocket expenses, meaning I would still continue to pay outrageous Medicare Copays as if I never went though the Donut Hole onto to Catastrophic Coverage by April, as I do each and every year. If I utilized… Read more »
cj

@namnibor, Geez, you can’t win sometimes, they do make it tough at times. Wish it wasn’t so.

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