Veterans sometimes find school and Vocational Rehabilitation overwhelming for a lot of reasons. When the stress gets too high, consider requesting an Interruption.
Traditionally, Voc Rehab Counselors use the threat of Interruption to bully a veteran into making a decision they do not agree with. However, an Interruption is not always a bad thing.
I recently came across a question as to how to slow down a bully Voc Rehab Counselor pushing a veteran in a direction they did not understand.
The solution was to request an Interruption, but there are actually a couple solutions. Veterans can request the following for a break of some kind:
- Request for Interruption
- Request for Leave of Absence
For the purpose of this post, I cover Interruptions.
According to the M28R Voc Rehab Manual, a veteran can request a temporary interruption of services for a “valid” reason. M28R, Part V, Section A, Chapter 6.04. The M28R sets out a few examples where the interruption would run from 1 to 6 months:
- Major health issues
- Family emergencies
- Legal issues
- Financial issues
The list M28R provided is not exclusive, meaning you may have a situation outside of these that requires you to take some time off. So long as it is a valid reason, the counselor should consider and grant your request.
And, if they refuse, you can file a Request for Reconsideration or Administrative Review, during which time you should be allowed to review relevant documents within your file. 38 CFR Part 21.420. This will give you an opportunity to not only review the documents, but you will also have a chance to ensure your counselor exercised due diligence in considering your request.
Take a look through your file to find any documentation wherein your request was considered and the reason for the denial was explained. If there is no such document or if the document is incomplete or contains false information, you may have grounds to take your claim to the next level – file an ethics complaint.
If the Voc Rehab Counselor failed to consider your request, you may have cause to file an ethics complaint. Any Voc Rehab Counselor’s failure to consider your wishes while participating in your plan could be cause enough to file the complaint. Joint participation is mandatory, and if your counselor ignores your reasonable requests, ie if they fail to allow you to participate in your plan’s progress (including a request for Interruption), the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor ethics board would like to know.
If you would like to know more about how to deal with an obstinate VR&E Counselor, there are numerous appeals templates in our guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans. Check it out.