Disabled Veterans: From Disability to a Square Deal

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What’s the Square Deal all about with Voc Rehab?

Oh the elusive Square Deal for disabled veterans. Some of you have asked me to explain what it is. Well, it’s a lot of different things for a lot of different veterans. The idea is based on the quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have.”

That’s really the gist of the Square Deal and why this site was developed. Many disabled veterans are returning from the Middle East with no clear direction relating to their benefits. The government in charge of ensuring veterans and disabled veterans are cared for following their tours seems to have continually failed it’s own audits of the system in place. While we have fulfilled our end of the deal after raising our right hands, to swear to protect this great country from all enemies, foreign and domestic, our own government has failed to uphold its end of the Deal in taking care of us after we bare the brunt of the sacrifices.

Now, disabled veterans, such as myself, have taken up the fight in this great era of cyber journalism to help fellow veterans get the benefits they deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s that simple. This site is here to help you get your VA benefits, and more. Why the hand? The hand is the symbol of the fight many of you will undertake in getting the benefits you deserve. To enlist, we raised our right hands. To get our benefits, you’ll need to aggressively take what you’re entitled to. Thus, the hand is open and ready for anything.

Over the coming months, disabled veterans will be able to gain insight and strategy in their pursuit for what is rightfully theirs, their Square Deal. Now go get yours and good luck.

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ABOUT FOUNDER

Benjamin Krause is a lawyer, investigative reporter and award-winning veterans advocate. He is author of the guide Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans and chief editor of DisabledVeterans.org.

He received his Bachelors from Northwestern University and Law Degree from the University of Minnesota, both using VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.

He is also featured regularly in national publications as an authority on Department of Veterans Affairs policy such as Bloomberg News, Foreign Policy Magazine, Washington Times, Fox News, CBS, NBC, Star Tribune and more.
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Charles
Charles

Stipend for Online classes?
I have PTSD, where I cannot be enclosed in a class room.
I wish to study online, does the VA pay a stipend for this?

Thanks

Ben Krause
Ben Krause

I know there was a move to allow stipend payments, but I’m not sure if that was included in the last GI Bill update.

Thomas P McDonough Sr.
Thomas P McDonough Sr.

I’ve been going back and forth with the VA for nearly eight years, they granted me 10% two years ago and when I finally got a face to face meeting at the local goverment Bld,The JFK Bld, downtown boston. I was told by my DAV rep. that I was Quote(Golden) so then the meeting moved into a room set up with microphones and speakers and such, the thing was that 5 min. prior I was just told that I had my case in hand .you can imagine the joy that came over me. Not to get into my case but this is not me I have not made eye contact with to many people in so many years I cant remember. So right off the bat this offical Traveling VA Judge gets the wrong Idea of me! So two years have gone by since that meeting and I’am told my case is in remand!!! Please can anyone help!!! SEMPER FI

George Kimball
George Kimball

Good for you. I am a VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) who is frustrated of the continuing lack of congressional movement on the CH31 program, Vocational Rehabilitation that forces our disabled young veterans from taking advantage of a program that provides individual help to aid them in training (schooling, OJT, apprenticeships). There are two problems facing veterans interested in using VR&E: 1) The incredible monthly stipend difference between the two programs. Under Ch33, Post 911 GI Bill, the monthly amount is at least $1500 or more depending on where you live. The Ch31 program has one set amount for all. An individual veteran going to school full time earns $547 and change. The only time it could be more is for additional money given for dependents. This is an outrage. 2) Staffing. The average VRC has a caseload of 150. As an individual VRC, I have a caseload that has now gone over 250. There is no way I can provide the care I want to provide.

More disabled veterans need to complain to their congressman about this horrible situation. I have been with VA more than 25 years and this is the first time that I am contemplating getting out because the support for case managers is not there and VR&E does not have the resources to help our neediest veterans.

Please help. Our OIF/OEF veterans are worthy and deserve better.

Dan Burkhart
Dan Burkhart

I am a disabled Vietnam Vet. My 40% PTSD disability was diagnosed September of 2004. At that time I was given the application for VocRehab; I completed it, turned it in within the 1 year period and was denied. At that time I had asked for assistance with re-education towards an accounting degree or a law degree. The counselor’s argument was that I was unfit for either of those career choices and she denied the request. I had previously used the GI Bill for a Bachelor’s Degree in 1972, so my eligibility has run out.

My question is this, am I eligible to reapply under chapter 31 now? I have gone back to college on my own nickel and improved my grade point average to 4.0 from the prior 2.27. I have taken the LSAT and I am ready to apply to law school. I don’t even want to deal with the government due to the the night-mare bureaucracy, unless there is a glimmer of a positive result.
What are your thoughts?

Ben Krause
Ben Krause

Hey Dan, if you get this, I think you should still try to reapply based on “new information”. It’s important to give it a shot. I do have an appeal case a guy one a few years back. He wanted a law degree. Voc Rehab turned him down but he appealed the denial and won. Chapter 31 was forced to retroactively induce him. This means the judge ruled that the VA had to pay for his education after he completed the degree because he was wrongfully denied.

For specific questions, email me at [email protected].

Scott Percey
Scott Percey

Go Mr. Kimball! Go! Most veterans who are disabled and have a family can not survive on the Ch 31 allowance. Most of us want to be gainfully employed, providing for the needs of our family.

Raymond Rivera
Raymond Rivera

I am a veteran and have a 70% disability rating from the V.A. I received Chapter 31 benefits 5 years ago when I was 20% disabled to go to school for a Drug and Alcohol Counseling Certification. I completed my case plan and received my certificate. I have since left that field of work because there is no growth and jobs became difficult to find. Due to my disabilities i have not had steady employment for any retirement and will be working for the rest of my life. Can I apply again for Chapter 31 benefits due to the increase of my disability rating last year and the need for further education? Thanks to anyone who has any input.

Ben Krause
Ben Krause

Yes, you can always re-apply for the benefit later. What will matter is how much time has passed since your initial rating. 12 years is the cut-off in most situations, unless you have a Serious Employment Handicap. A 70% may get you there. Give it a shot. Apply on the VA.Gov website.

P. SISCO
P. SISCO

I am a 90% SC disabled veteran. I applied for Independent Living services under Voc-Rehab, I was approved I think? I received a letter putting my Voc-Rehab on suspension on 10/9/09. I don’t understand how the VA can suspend something I never knew was approved. And when I called they told me to disregard the letter she just needed to hear from me since it had been a year. Now I’m confused, no care plan, rehabilitation plan has ever been done. I did go to the RO for the admin hearing so I don’t understand and no one can seem to help me. My other situation for all the other veterans who may read this is although I am 90% I am no SC in any one disability over 60%. My highest rating is 50% for PTSD. My PTSD is for sexual assault on active duty 3 times, but yet and still no one will rate a claim for any injuries concerning the physical injuries resulting from the sexual assault. For those of you who don’t understand I mean, for the injuries to my body i.e. breast, broken ribs, and all the internal injures to my uterus, vagina, and rectum. I’m being specific because women are being pimped on active duty and then kicked to the curb by the VA. No one will stand up and fight for us because they don’t have what we have. Why is assault/battery a more serious offense than rape? Why are male veterans receiving compensation for PTSD at 70% and female veterans don’t get the same rating if there PTSD is due to sexual assault. I have an analysis of this situation, in order for female veterans to get equitable compensation, the military and VA would have to admit we were RAPED on active duty. If they were to admit this, that would have an effect on recruiting. Because no real mother would allow their daughters to serve a country knowing they will be raped and violated and then cast out by the military with no compensation! So my question to you out there, are you willing to send you daughters to die for their country without firing a single shot. They have more of a chance of being raped before they ever get to battle and the truth is, THEY DON’T TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN! And they will leave your daughters on the battlefield. Resolution: Admit I was raped/sexually assaulted, evaluate my injuries like any other rape victim, and compensate me fairly. Stop denying claims based on the degree of embarrasment the military will face when the world finds out that we’ve been hiding behind DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL So people won’t ask questions about women being raped/sexually assaulted on active duty.

Shawn Dunbar
Shawn Dunbar

I am 25 years old. I have PTSD, TBI, etc. I need help learning the Gi bill because the college was no help. Can someone point me in the right direction so i can start in the fall semester.

Shawn Dunbar
Shawn Dunbar

I am also 80% disabled.

Maria Martinez
Maria Martinez

Can I get Vocational rehab for a foreign School? I started a Masters for teachers in Spain last year that lasts two summers. Unfortunately, I was one of the many teachers that were let go for budget reasons last year and need to go back to Spain this summer to finish but can’t afford it. I am currently in Voca Rehab for another masters stateside I started about 3 years ago and will I will finish this summer before the one in Spain begins. According to my councelor (who is not the most helping person) I can’t only be approved for one program which is the one I am in right now. She told me that she would not approve the one in Spain. Does Vocat. Rehab pay for foreign school?

Stephanea H.
Stephanea H.

Just wondering if you ever figured anything out about voc. rehab paying for foreign school?