VA Vocational Rehabilitation has long hidden behind a unknown shield where counselors approve and deny veterans in secret.
What I mean by secret is that veterans were unable to generally find the justification VA would use when denying their claim for benefits in this arena. Recently, Voc Rehab published a new set of manual guidelines called the M28R that spells it out, but it’s impossible to search as VA published it.
View VA’s hot garbage version of the M28R here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/M28R.asp
Go figure, right? $150 billion every year and they still post resources like the M28R in a way that makes them impossible to search without spending days digging.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Veterans Affairs new M28R is the guide all Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors must use when making decisions. In fact, they are not allowed to make a decision that runs contrary to it. Instead, Voc Rehab Counselors are now turned into rehab legal monkeys that merely approve and disapprove claims without adding much thought to the claim.
Generally, the M28R is almost impossible to search because VA turned it into literally more than 100 different downloadable PDF’s and Word docs. In total, the document is over 1,100 pages. When VA uses the M28R to deny a veteran, the veteran would need to download numerous files to fact check VA for a period of many hours.
If VA was trustworthy, I would say ‘fine.’ However, what we have instead is a huge agency with employees who are either too lazy or too removed to perform the hard task of applying the law or guidance materials the right way. That is why it is important to search the manual on your own – they may not do the job the right way the first time, or the second time, or the third time…
To throw a monkey wrench in their game, I decided to use a scraping software program to pull down the manual and then put it back together using Acrobat. You’re welcome 🙂
Here is the full, 1,371 page M28R. Press Cont+F to search the document quickly.
UPDATED 2/5/14 – Check VA’s WARMS page for more recent updates.