FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
They Facebook group called Disabled Veterans - Chapter 31 VocRehab was founded by me, Benjamin Krause, in 2009.
I created the group after filing my first appeal with VocRehab when Disabled American Veterans refused to publish a story about it.
As a direct result of the group, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric exposed massive problems within the program. VocRehab Counselors were misleading veterans about the program, and Couric's team exposed the scandal on national TV in 2010.
READ IT: VocRehab Exposed By CBS Evening News
Yes. While in law school, I decided I wanted to become a veterans rights attorney rather than work in business law. VocRehab basically said, "Hell no!" and it took another two years to get it approved after VocRehab destroyed evidence and made fraudulent misrepresentations about my claim.
I only bring this up to highlight how hard it can be to get approval for self-employment after an education.
VocRehab paid around $315,000 for my education overall. The program paid another $35,000 for my start-up law firm.
VocRehab paid for me to attend law school after I exposed the program for lying to veterans. Katie Couric and her team exposed it on CBS in 2010. Immediately after CBS contacted VR&E about my claim, they approved my IWRP request to attend law school.
To get it done, I used some unique strategies to push the ball forward. I cover this and some perspectives about my own law school experience in the VocRehab Survival Guide.
The minimum rating required for a veteran to be deemed entitled to Voc Rehab services is 10%. Voc Rehab generally requires that whatever condition results in the 10% rating causing a "serious employment handicap." Without this handicap, the veteran must have a 20% rating with a regular "employment handicap."
I cover this more in the VocRehab Survival Guide.
The easy way to do this is to apply on eBenefits.va.gov. In the alternative, you can fill out the VA Form 21-1900 and fax it in.
After many years, I was able to secure contact information for two individuals VocRehab selected to answer general questions about the program.
While these two individuals are unable to answer specific claims questions, they can answer hypothetical questions about policies possibly affecting your claim.
To use this resource effectively, ask general questions affecting your claim such as, "Are there instances where VocRehab will approve medical school for qualified veterans?" Or, "Does VocRehab provide financial support for veterans seeking self-employment?"
Questions like these are a good place to start. You can then drill down into those questions to help give you insight into whether your local counselor may be deceiving you.
The identities and names of these individuals may change over time. I encourage you to ping me in our Facebook group if you have a difficult time reaching either of the following.
Both individuals, called ombusdmen, can be reached at the VRE Central Office call center number 202-461-9600. You can email either of the following:
Some veterans will be able to get into the program after being deemed "rehabilitated" but the process is not easy. And, the legal requirements are rather restrictive.
So yes, you can get approved, but the process is not easy. The VocRehab Survival Guide has an appeals template on how to make this happen.
The first meeting is a mixed bag. Some veterans have an easy time. Most veterans do not.
The biggest thing you need to realize is that the first meeting is a forensic examination where the counselor is making note of legal facts to decide whether you qualify for benefits or not. This is not a meeting with a buddy, so be ready to be asked specific questions that could be used against your request for benefits later.
My section on Seven Essentials To A VocRehab Win cover this and help veterans get prepared.
Presently, VRE offers numerous forms of review for veterans seeking to challenge an adverse decision about their claim.
- You can request reconsideration of new evidence or argument so long as you are within the 1 month notice period before the decision becomes final.
- After that point, you can request a "review" to change your training track or an "administrative review" of an adverse entitlement decision.
- You can also file a Notice of Disagreement using either the standard form for disability benefits or by a normal letter to your counselor. This last option precludes a chance for an administrative review.
These are covered in-depth in the second half of the VocRehab Survival Guide.
You can get more than 48 months of schooling if it is warranted by your kind of rehabilitation plan and if you have a "serious employment handicap." There are some other technical workarounds, supposedly, but having a "serious employment handicap" is the only one I have familiarity with.
I received services through VocRehab from 2003 to 2016, which is over 156 months. Many of the strategies I used are within the VocRehab Survival Guide.
The correct answer is, "It depends."
Each claim is different. The easy answer for veterans with a "serious employment handicap" is that you can get an extension. The 12-year limit goes away.
For other veterans, the answer to the question depends on when you first qualified for Voc Rehab benefits. This answer is the date of the disability rating that now is implicated by your employment handicap.
Yes, CBS Evening News With Katie Couric did investigate VocRehab in 2010. She and her team worked with me and my Facebook group members at Disabled Veterans - Chapter 31 Voc Rehab to expose a scandal in VocRehab.
The big scandal at the time was that counselors were knowingly misleading veterans about the program.
There are a lot of new people on here, and I want you to see the important role this Facebook forum plays not only in educating veterans about VocRehab but also exposing scandals. In 2010, I exposed that VocRehab counselors were lying to veterans about the program via CBS.
The first link is the NEWS VIDEO of the report that aired on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in 2010:
This “notebook” explains how I was involved in the investigation toward the end (just search for “Krause”):
- Speak your mind but do not be abusive or rude to other members.
- Avoid posting topics not directly related to VocRehab without permission from the moderators (me or Gretchen).
- Look out for the best interests of your brothers and sisters in the veteran community to the best of your ability.
- No porn or overtly political comments.
We reserve the right to delete any members or posts as we see fit without explanation. No Facebook group members have any rights conferred or implied in the DisabledVeterans.org website or its content in any manner. Likewise, the same holds for the Facebook group.
Vocational Rehabilitation is many things to many people. To some, it’s not worth the headache. For others, it’s a chance of a lifetime. The program is flawed, like many other programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are many layers to the process that, if completed, can result in a win for any veteran. […]Read More