VA Vocational Rehabilitation Conference Holds First Veterans Panel

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VRE Conference

This year’s VA Vocational Rehabilitation conference was the first of its kind held at the newly remodeled St. Paul Regional Office, but that was not the only first.

The conference also held the first veterans panel for the benefit of conference attendees, which was made up of senior leadership within Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VRE or VocRehab). The veterans panel was made up of five veterans who previously used VocRehab, including Benjamin Krause (me).

The trip started off with a splash as I almost photo bombed the entire group of VRE Officers trying to take a group photo in the main regional office stairwell. VRE Officers are managers of the program in each regional office who came from across the country ranging from Seattle, WA to Togus, ME. Over 80 senior leaders were in attendance.

As for the panel, it consisted of 3 VA employees, one veteran service officer from DAV, and me. Surprisingly, despite being VA employees, the comments were genuine where little was held back. Though, in the future, I would like to see more non-VA employees on panels.

Veterans Panel Questions

Primarily, we were asked to explain our background first as for the first round. The second round question was to explain something positive about VocRehab. The first was to explain something negative about VocRehab that needs work. And last, they asked for any parting comments or takeaways.

The overall takeaway from everyone was that VocRehab needs to do a better job communicating program options and policy before the veteran attends the first meeting.

This is a longstanding area of weakness VocRehab has failed to address, and it is why I sell my guide, the VocRehab Survival Guide, which helps vets prepare for the first appointment or appeal. I have offered to work with VocRehab to create their own version, but the agency refuses to hire me for that purpose stating they cannot give my company preference.

LEARN MORE: The VocRehab Survival Guide

Meanwhile, they will hire other veteran owned companies for a similar purpose. Maybe they are just afraid of getting Ben cooties?

My VocRehab Challenge, ‘Put Me Out Of Business’

I should add that at the end of the panel, I challenged the VRE Officers listening to put my out of business by building a better VocRehab guide than what I have created. Or, they could ensure all their counselors follow the law and treat veterans with dignity and respect. Some counselors do this but many do not.

At the end of the day, I am in the cleanup business… cleaning up messy claims where veterans were wrongly denied by lazy or poorly trained counselors. My entire platform, DisabledVeterans.org and my law practice, Krause Law, is focused on help veterans get the benefits to which they are entitled. Benefits they earned.

If VocRehab did that, I would be out of a job, and gladly so, earning big bucks working in business law. But, here I am. Fighting in the trenches.

Again, if they wanted to, with their $1.5 billion budget, they could easy put me out of business or hire my company to create a guide for all veterans. And/or, hire my service-disabled veteran owned business to consult and repair VocRehab’s problems.

Such a guide would reduce dropout costs, which are around $4,000 per veteran who starts the process but does not complete it. Tens of thousands of veterans dropout each year. And, such consulting would help VocRehab stop violating the rights of veterans while wasting tens of millions each year in taxpayer funds on pushing veterans into the hampster wheel when wrongly denying claims.

One complaint from one of the panelists who present works inside VRE is that veterans commonly come into the program without a clue what it can do, and then those same veterans make requests that are not reasonable or possible.

Now, after almost a decade of me preaching that message, “You need to inform the veterans well in advance of the first meeting,” VRE still refuses to take a common sense approach to the problem of asymmetrical information and dysinfo.

Why is that?

Veterans Panel Answers

As for the three questions after sharing my biography…

1) The best thing about VocRehab is that the benefit can help a veteran radically change his or her life… so long as the program administrators function properly. A veteran can come from a blue-collar background like myself and wind up with a great career as a lawyer. That is an incredible turnaround.

2) Communication in the program needs improvement. Counselors withhold information from veterans and even mislead the veterans about their options at times. Veterans are also ill-informed about how the program works when applying. This results in a huge waste of resources… But VocRehab has continually failed to address the upfront education piece.

3) VocRehab counselors need to develop more cultural sensitivity to veterans; they need to conduct comprehensive vocational assessments; and, they need a deeper understanding of disabilities and how they impact employment.

One-Way Mirror

I still have had limited success really getting into the program to fix it from the inside out. Instead, I am stuck giving Jack Kammerer and his subordinates feedback like what you would expect when being interrogated by police in front of a one-way mirror.

It is not ideal, but better than nothing.

The main difference, at least, is that Kammerer is professional. However, there is a lot of material they do not want me to see.

How do I know this?

Because they have resisted my attempts at getting full access to VRE training materials since 2014. Even when I make requests via FOIA, I still get bizarre denials or the program gives me records that are difficult to make out.

But don’t you worry, I will get those records, come hell or high water.

Also, as an after-thought, I should point out that of all the panelists there, and participants in the audience, I was the only one not receiving a paycheck for my time. Everyone else is likely being paid a salary.

cj
cj

.

Ronald Rytter
Ronald Rytter

Can’t have a Fox in the Hen House.

VA IS LYINF INC.

VA DC HQ ONE BIG BIG FEDERAL RICO CRIME RACKET SHUT IT ALL DOWN CONGRESS COWARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

Aaaamen, VA IS LYIN, I want to be in on the case where the bad guys go after the good guys, whooooooooeee I’ll do the whoopin’ lil cocks, not you, you will only roll down the hill after I knock you on yer ass……………………..

Lem
Lem

Following.

touchavet@gmail.com

Has anyone noticed that even with all the meetings by all the different organization claiming to represent veterans, nothing gets better or gets done. Just saying

Dennis
Dennis
@touchavet, Has anyone noticed? Well, I suppose that several thousand posts on this blog alone out of scores of blogs, several thousand newspaper stories written in english alone, hundreds of legislative acts by House Of Representatives and The Senate, and a POTUS that got elected but for a single reason AND IT WAS NOT a cute ass or his race (despite his inability to say “your fired” and make it stick…) – all add up to the equivelent of, “Yes,… Read more »
Windguy
Windguy

Ben Ben Ben. It’s the government. “Preference” does not come from the bottom up. It comes from the top down, and usually from outside the VA (insert “Lab, Agency, Administration, Department etc here). The other problem is that you actually want to provide a functional product, which, will inevitably dip into someone else’s budget if legitimately implemented to assist veteran clientele. Kinda like rolling boulders uphill.

Gots to admire a crusader.

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Great job, Big Ben; You must be like Jay Selkalow, subpoena those documents, they are not privileged or classified, and the person who decides to withhold those documents, let’s get together and get his/her ass fired. Ask the DAV, Am Legion, VFW for legal help and if they don’t agree to help then tell them that when you succeed, you will tell the whole world that they crapped on the idea. Or where are the records being held, I will… Read more »
Dina Padilla
Dina Padilla
BEN, HIGH FIVE! AND since you were there, they should have paid you as they did for everyone as the professional that you are, helping veterans only getting direction from you. As a matter of fact, you should run the program since you’ve been the only effective vocational rehabilitation professional for our veterans and a success story such as yourself. Otherwise what they tried to dish out, was getting a paid day away from the work they have failed to… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor
Great you were invited and able to attend, but those hens in that henhouse are only going to allow paid-off foxes guard their henhouse under VA’s Umbrella Corp. Public Affairs Troup, not Benjamin with an actual shard of VA kryptonite called accountability. That Federal Building, “Bishop Henry Whipple” makes me think of a new Baskin Robbins Ice Cream name. I wonder if Ben got to eat any VA conference room ice cream? Or did you just get the batch made… Read more »
Jo3n
@Ben,, as usual, you did great. But, now a certain group of selected, representatives are going into a closet and figure out a way to keep us off balance. There’s going to be a sentence or a few words, or even one word that will make sure EVERYONE gets something out of it. Hopefully not. They seem to be going to pay caregivers also. Also, pay for outside, (emergency care, and surgeries )? Of course, none of us will know… Read more »
Dennis
Dennis
So you are told to find something nice about the big picture and thentalk about it, then find something that VA can “work on” then talk about it. Wow! A VA problem solving methodology!!! Hmmmmm. Maybe I will try that with my VA PCP using secure messaging? I will sit naked on my scanner and make a copy, cheeks spread wide and flat like a mamagram squished down on the glass. Then I will attach that to a secure message… Read more »
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

Dennis, you must go to law school, I want to be in the courtroom when you argue your first case; DO IT!

Dennis
Dennis
I can’t go to law school! At times I get invited to North Idaho for a family reunion. I am told next reunion they are gonna put new seat planks into the outhouses and install a diaper changing station in there too. VERY COOL! I don’t want to miss it because those North Idaho cousins of mine are a rowdy good time, but they tend to shoot lawyers after their second case of beer (Henry Weinhards). I lost my virginity… Read more »
namnibor
namnibor

@Dennis- Now you have gone and done it and given the VA Gastro Specialists an even cheaper way to have Veterans utilize VA Telemedicine with their own scanners from home and give them your very best brown-eye snapshot of our poop canons.

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

Let’s do it like the big corporations did it; Send notices of dismissal to the existing employees and hire veterans to replace them and make the soon to be dismissed employees train the veterans, hmmmmmm?

namnibor
namnibor

That would also be the current Disney Model, fitting right into whatever legacy McDonald has stained the VA with intact.

namnibor
namnibor

Benjamin- In your own inserted photo in today’s ‘Bad VA Art’, you have either a somewhat concealed shit-eating grin or being that close to that many VA Swamp Masters made you indeed filled with the urge to relive yourself. Priceless grin.

namnibor
namnibor

Relieve. Damn spell Czech.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Great Job Ben

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Fricken VA!!! “Veterans Affairs official files FOIA request to spy on whistle-blower” by Pete Kasperowicz | Jun 20, 2017 Washington Examiner “A Department of Veterans Affairs official has taken the novel step of filing a Freedom of Information Act request against her own VA department in order to learn what a whistleblower has been saying about her. The whistleblower is Scott Davis, a well-known VA official who has testified in Congress and has made several TV appearances about the troubled… Read more »
cj
cj

@Seymore Klearly: Seymore, absolutely perfect timing with the last comment I posted!!!!!

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

We can stomp her into the dust if we organize; find out all the things she has done via FOIA or subpoena and wage an info war upon her, and via this info find out how many and which vets were screwed by her and then file a class action lawsuit against her or 500 single lawsuits; Bad girl, Bad Girl you go down, Bad Girl.

namnibor
namnibor
@Seymore Klearly- I wonder if that works the other way when I Veteran steps foot in the anal halls of the VA property, does that Veteran now through osmosis of the engorged purple team, become a Federal Employee and offered all protections by the AFLCIO/AFGE Rats? Or do we Veterans lose even more rights as soon as we step on that slab housing VA corruption? Similarly, cats have the unique ability of always landing on their feet if taking a… Read more »
Jo3n

@SeymoreKlearly, are you saying that when not at work, VA employees are private citizens? As private citizens, are they no longer protected by VA? They can’t have it both ways…..can they? This confuses Jo3n.

OLDMARINE
OLDMARINE

following

Ex va
Ex va

@Jo3n, i think that is the point always…confusion.

OLDMARINE
OLDMARINE

.

OLDMARINE
OLDMARINE

As our government (V.A.) has matured and gained power, it has turned against the veterans and has become more concerned with its own wealth and power than service to the VET’S…and thank you for your service..Yea,right…otherwise they would have given you the material you asked for BEN. nothing but P.R. bullshit

OLDMARINE
OLDMARINE

Ken O’Keefe my HERO telling it like it is, old jar-head LOL…. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGkxkEVshr0″……we need more people like him to run for office sharp as usual

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Ben, is this “conference” being recorded, both audio and video? If not, why?
The reason I’m asking is, with all the “questions and answers” being given, these parasites could say, “I never said that!” Or, “I don’t remember!” Or, “You never asked that!”

See, just another form of bullshit to keep you down! And, of course, the “M/O of VA!”

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

Absolutely recorded, there is no legitimate reason for it not being videod

ANutterVet
ANutterVet

An A/V recording would be beneficial to BENEFICIARY’s (Veterans). No damages for loss of sales since VA isn’t interesting in selling, excuse me, offering this information. See no other for not recording besides corruption. What gives?

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

They just didn’t have the right guys shoving court orders in their faces, Big Ben needed some help from others of us……………. this is war and you can’t win the war with just one guy, (Ben) punching them in the mouth, according to Marine tactics 101, they need to have a second punch coming out of nowhere usually to the back of the head, just to get their attention.

cj
cj

@Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve: Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your specialty? Area’s you practice in?

js
js

The thin crust of reality is that they have a moral obligation to properly inform veterans of what is and what is not afforded to them by law; what they can and what they cannot provide to the veteran to accomplish the rehabilitation goal, and this should be done in writing with a signed acknowledgement of receipt for every vet that they speak to.

Jo3n
Off topic: Does anyone know what happened to the Cathy McMorris Rodgers bill? Couple years ago I thought it was good, and I thought it became law. I may have lost it, but, I was reading today that the same bill is before Senate again? If anyone knows what I’m talking about,,,, would appreciate it. This bill, I thought, has stuff we need. What I remember is the words that said, if you choose this, you may have to opt… Read more »
ANutterVet
ANutterVet

@Jo3n – – – And, when you find out what all this stuff is that you’ve started, please post what all this means. Our research indicates that there is less clarification on subject topic nature to those posts that’re Off Topic. Even though I’ve not upheld to updating subjects or topics that I post as “Off Topic.”

May be I need to remind myself as well. Sort of a mental note, detected upon appearance. – – – Nutter.

Jo3n

@ANutterVet, I thought it was discussed here. Perhaps two years ago. I will check it out more. Apologize for breaking protocol.

Ex va
Ex va
If an agency is well aware of crime, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer monies are they not obligated to fix these abuses? Does it make them more legally bond to correct these deficiencies? If the agency such as the va continue to allow this abuse or help cover up these crimes against Veterans when does it stop? This new whistleblower legislation is suppose to protect the whistleblower, how is that protection given? My understanding is that the office of special… Read more »
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