First Veterans Benefits Law Firm Funded By Veterans Affairs

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Veterans Law Firm

Minneapolis, MN – Krause Law, PLLC is proud to announce it is the first veterans benefits law firm to be funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) using a unique vocational program.

“The decision to support my work marks a significant shift in VA thinking from the recent past,” said VA watchdog and disabled veteran Benjamin Krause. “In just one year under Secretary McDonald, the agency is now encouraging higher levels of scrutiny that were previously discouraged.” He believes support for his start-up law firm is proof of that shift.

VA recently paid for systems designed to accommodate Krause’s disabilities while he represents veterans with medical malpractice and benefits claims against the agency. His firm received $25,000 in accommodative systems through VA’s Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program.

This ironic result to a year long appeals process was certainly a welcomed finale. The agency initially denied the request for self-employment approval and support, but VR&E eventually reversed its initial denial following legal maneuvering by Krause that he will write about in his next veterans benefits guide.

The set-up included a 12-core Mac Pro, a high-speed scanner, dual monitors over 30” in length, an ergonomic electric lift desk, a database system, and software necessary to operate a law firm in a home office setting.

Roughly 70,000 disabled veterans apply for VR&E benefits annually. Eighty percent of VR&E participants receive retraining while less than 1 percent are approved for self-employment. Krause was fortunate to be approved for both tracks.

Krause is an award winning activist, investigative journalist and attorney. He used his own brand of benefits hacking to maximize his vocational support from VR&E, starting in 2003. VR&E funded for his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University. The agency later funded his legal training at the University of Minnesota Law School before funding his start-up law firm that represents fellow disabled veterans.

While in law school, Krause was involved in veterans advocacy and created DisabledVeterans.org, the nation’s leading veteran-centric news and watchdog website. To fund the website and his advocacy on Capitol Hill with Veterans For Common Sense, he wrote and sold numerous guides using benefits hacking strategy including the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans.

In the Survival Guide, Krause uses benefits hacking to help veterans find shortcuts to achieving maximum success using VR&E benefits. The guide and others like it teach veterans about self-advocacy using free legal resources.

When he is not fighting for veterans, Krause plans to write another guide to teach disabled veterans strategies in winning claims for self-employment benefits from VR&E to help future veteran entrepreneurs including lawyers.

For those wondering about “benefits hacking,” it is a word Krause created. It follows the philosophy of the new buzz word “growth hacking” invented by entrepreneurs a couple years ago. Essentially, growth hacking is the process of analyzing what has been down before or what is a common place standard and tweaking it to increase efficiency and/or effectiveness. Start-ups and marketing companies tend to do this to increase sales or exposure of a product.

An example of benefits hacking could be the adoption of copywriting skills from marketers when writing your own claims appeal in a clearer and more simple manner. Or, changing the way you deliver information. Specifically, while in Portland, Krause learned that hand carrying his Notice of Disagreement from his VSO to VR&E four floors down in the Federal building would shave 3 months off appeals processing. There are numerous examples like this he intends to include in his next guide on self-employment.

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30 Comments

  1. Ben, CONGRATULATIONS.
    It could not have gone up a nicer guy.
    You have no idea how much you have helped me in ore ways than just knowledge but Empowerment.

  2. I am a 100% wounded vet and former R.N. I have a horrible story of what my country did to me after I got out of the service. I think the only way I will get help is if some media source (national) lets me blow the whistle. I will take a polygraph as needed. I have been partially crippled by a complete failure of the legal and medical system. I have millions in damages. I never paid a dime to all 4 of my atty’s because my cases were so solid but the federal judges are destroying our country like Pat Robertson said. Alabama has been listed as the 6th most corrupt state in the country.

    • It’s SO utterly astonishing that the DOD gets most of the U,S. budget every year & then some……. but always cutting corners with the vets. Being an Injured Worker, from kaiser back in the latter 80;s & early 90’s, this has kaiser’s ugly paw prints all over this. Bring in the &&&&&& & then cut corners. Just for assurance, to let you now that kaiser is into many state & federal agencies & letting them know how to cut costs, especially when it comes out to mete out medical care & benefits. Kaiser is also an insurance company where they hire actuaries Bean counters)who know how to cut corners The other, is, to not recognize diseases such as Lyme disease & many others. Again, it’s all about raking in the dough but not use the dough on what is it supposed to be used for. Kaiser IS the military & right next door to the CIA..LANGLEY/FAIRFAX.
      OUT OF ALMOST 1 TRILLION PLUS EVER YEAR & the DOD can’t take care of its & our vets????? SO, if the DOD can do this, then everybody else is fair game to, to the insurers like Kaiser, DoD, SSA/Medicare,etc. BTW, there are millions of injured workers here in the states. who get no real benefits either than .SSA/Medicare, just like wat’s going on with you vets….

      • It is a high crime to deny our severely wounded vets due process under the law, over and over and over. After knowing what a severely wounded vet has given up to keep us free then be brutalized to the point of being in some state of shock with no help at all destroys our disabled vets, confidence, self esteem and wrecks his future. I have trouble holding my head up and really hesitate to say the pledge of allegiance because my country forgotten about me. There are no statute of limitations for justice for our severely wounded vets. This story is worthy of national news coverage, If someone will let me blow the whistle
        I will get help and possibly not have to live in such a 24/7 survival mode. I was there for my country to deter a nuclear strike and the end of civilization as we know it when the doomsday clock was 3 min until midnight but no one cares enough to lift a finger to help this vet! I have funded our vets all my life off and on as well as children in other countries, it is so disappointing to see so many Many Americans turn their back! or are they Americans? 31 years later today the doomsday clock is back at 3 min until midnight and all 6 of the governments intelligence agencies are preparing for WWIII within 6 months. My book has been out almost 3 years and no one has tried to file suit against me because I speak the truth. Could you help me get national media coverage?

        Thank you
        Greg Hardin
        http://www.greghardin.com
        Gofundme.com

      • @Greg-

        I will be purchasing your book on Amazon within the next week or so with other items in my cart…I too am working on a book of my story that really needs to be told as well…USAF as well, similar field, very different set of circumstances but with PTSD and a couple infectious diseases given to me from military substandard surgical/medical environment or perhaps even a bit of ‘biological warfare testing’ on our very own during the ‘Cold War’…my civilian infectious disease specialists believes the latter and fact the VA did not even fight my 100% claim for Service Connection P&T…almost as if they were expecting me eventually to join the ‘party’. Anyway, visited your website and will look forward to reading your book (104 pgs. an easy read), and also supporting you in process.
        Thanks for your service and sincerely pray you are doing well.

  3. Ben,

    This is wonderful! You deserve it! Thanks for helping us veterans trust and believe someone can make a difference.

  4. Ben, could you elaborate on how this all relates to yesterday’s (4/14/15) topic about the VA’s new rules that now consider ALL attorneys as “VA Contractors” if representing Veterans privately?
    I ask because I wonder with you being a rare recipient of these great tools to do your work, granted by the VA, if now the VA has “open access” to all of your database/computer since the VA now may consider you some kind of “sub-contractor of the VA”…you know, kind of the VA playing “Passive-Aggressive” in keeping their adversaries on a leash of sorts?
    Today’s news topic gets my congrats of course, but on the back-end of yesterday’s disturbing new rules the VA has announced, I just wonder how many “strings came attached” or even now, “strings that perhaps you are not yet aware related to yesterday’s topic”?
    Basically, just wanting to know if the VA whipped-up those new “Private VA Attorney’s are now considered Contractors” to perhaps underhandedly “keep a better eye on you” and perhaps retain ability to implode your progress when you may be getting too aggressively on the dysfunctional VA System?
    I guess I am asking if this could be a ‘Trojan Horse of a Gift from VA’, if you know what I am thinking in relation to “The Art of War”?

    No, I do not trust the VA…move forward with an air of trepidation.

    • Ben, I forgot to add something. Having a bit of a background in writing/composition, I have to wonder if the term utilized in today’s news, “Benefits Hacking”, if it’s actually a term you may-well want to re-engineer or re-think just to prevent that term being used to describe the excellent work you do with the negative connotations ANYTIME the word “hack”, “hacking”, is utilized today…and namely, “benefits hacking”…I can potentially see this term akin to a rattlesnake just waiting to bite when the VA needs to find ways to try to erode at your integrity?
      I mention this in this new “Information Technology Age”, and the word “Hack” could be used by opponents (the DOD/VA) to try to ‘paint the picture’ of Veterans getting benefits through (in their minds) unscrupulous means. We that support you KNOW what you mean, but am jus suggesting to reconsider choice of words considering whom you are up against and those that would like the VA to remain dysfunctional by means of discrediting. Cove thy ass.
      This quote supports the above: “Language is a virus from outer space”- Wm. S. Burroughs.

      • As for “benefits hacking”, I just included a brief explanation of what it means above. I just invented the term to explain the process I used to win my VR&E claim while in Appeal and my 13 year disability compensation claim where I went from 10% to 100% PT. It is based on the term “growth hacking” which I explain above. Growth hacking simply means analyzing what went on before and tweaking it to increase success for entrepreneurs and marketers. I experienced a great deal of success using marketing and sales techniques when writing my appeals claims. My next set of guides will incorporate this philosophy.

      • Hello Sir,

        I as part of the youngerish (made up word) generation of Vets really appreciate the idea of benifits hacking. Youtube life hacking. tns of wonderful and amazing ideas. I think Ben is very much so onto some great marketing ideas!

    • Great questions namnibor. First, I am merely a disabled veteran receiving benefits. VR&E owes me a fiduciary responsibility to ensure whatever ‘vocational counseling’ and assistance they provide is to my benefit and not harmful. It does not create a relationship where I owe them any fiduciary tie. However, I see and appreciate your point. Rumor has it, after I published the article yesterday, VA is considering reversing its position on the “Rules of Behavior for VA Contractors” document language.

      • Thank you Ben, for that explanation and GREAT NEWS that the VA is considering changing their language regarding contractors, as well-reported in yesterday’s disturbing news (disturbing for many reasons)!!!

        I still think the word “hacking” just has negative connotations that are unavoidable grammatically and would hate for that to become an issue of contention to bite you later on down the road.

        Do know that I was NOT questioning your integrity rather, as I mentioned, wondering how yesterday’s news would affect your use of said tools to help Veterans without hindrance or intrusion of the “VA’s eyes”.

        Please keep on the rears of the VA and ensure they just do not let these new rules slide under the radar…hold them accountable to indeed the U.S. Constitution. Keep-up the great work! Will continue to give your website info out to fellow Veterans without hesitation and thank you for taking the time to answer to my germane concerns, as we that have indeed wrestled with the VA system, our trust has indeed waned for very good reasons.

      • I applaud you for all of your efforts for our vets, Ben,

        I just wish we had some civilian attorneys with you tenacity & courage & legal expertise to go up against corporations. as you do with the DOD. But at least, our vets have you.
        That’s what it takes to get justice.
        God bless you sir.

    • That a great deal of veterans understand what BEN is saying first of all $25,000 is just a drop in the bucket when you start to think about the enormous road in front of him and what he wants to do. Up until now we have had access to lawyers but I challenge anyone of you define one that will treat you with respect and dignity you deserve. In Atlanta Georgia there is a school that allows their students that are learning veteran’s laws to take on clients but even that is a windstorm when you start to get into it. What normally happens this they pass you off to a law you that says he will take you want and a lower cost that normally starts off at about $5000 I’ll know about you but that’s pretty high I’ve been trying to two years to get someone to represent me with no luck. Ben knows about this and instead of going into law practice in making tons of money after passing the bar he didn’t desert us he went on to fight so he can represent us knowing what a true veteran goes through it’s a win-win situation. When you’re awarded vocational rehabilitation and you go through the steps and jump through the hoops that they want you to, they must give you working capital for your business and this is why I say $25,000 is not a lot of money considering the road ahead. If he’s done for you what he’s done for number of people now’s the time to step up and give him a hand we can make the Veterans Administration standup and listen this is the first step in a well earned journey come on guys step up we can do this.

  5. Sorry Ben, but as a fellow Attorney I think this will cause a sense of mistrust with your clients. Getting money from the VA and suing them???? Hummm…. a conflict of interest???? Something to think about

    • If VA is trying to silence Ben, they have done a damn poor job of it. I have YEARS of battling VA under my belt, and Ben is the smartest most FEARLESS attorney I have ever encountered. He has recently whipped the VA’s LYING butt for ME, and at a price that most attorneys would not even talk to me for. Ben is the REAL deal in straightening out VA.

    • John, you are confused here. VR&E purchased $25k in accommodative systems for me. They did not hand out $25k for me to spend willy nilly.

      It sounds like you do not understand what VA Vocational Rehabilitation is supposed to do. Let me explain.

      It is like the GI Bill except exclusively for disabled veterans. The program will also help buy accommodative systems for disabled veterans seeking to be entrepreneurs or work for a company. Here, they funded my start-up, which is something VR&E has done for numerous veterans across the country. It also paid for my school, and this website I created is based on the knowledge I gleaned from my education.

      Nonetheless, the process required me to go to the press and to appeal numerous times to encourage VR&E to follow its own mandates. So in the end, I received support I needed, but had to push back more than a few times to get here just like many other disabled veterans seeking disability compensation or VR&E.

      https://www.disabledveterans.org/about/cbs-interview-wyatt-andrews/

      Now, how on earth could VA silence me by providing the benefits they are required to provide by law? Can they silence a veteran by paying out the GI Bill benefit? Is a veteran silenced by receiving disability compensation? Why on earth would VR&E benefits be any different. If anything, a person may feel “silenced” while waiting for benefits for fear that speaking out will have the reverse effect of pissing off a VA employee who then unlawfully denies the benefit. But, as the article states, I received the benefits and am writing about it here for others to understand how the program works.

      There is a such thing as a Constitution and a First Amendment. I became a journalist and went to law school so that I could not be silenced. Any veteran afraid of being silenced should do the same.

      • Ben I am so happy for you and I know you will do all you can to right the wrongs that you see and have been seeing for some time. Others may not see the fight that you’re doing but I truly understand the giant step that has been made by you and I truly want to help you I am in Georgia and the Atlanta vocational rehabilitation does pretty well what they want to do. I have been fighting them for two years just to get vocational training and I am 100% like yourself veteran. Although I am hundred percent wartime veteran and on my award letter it says capable of working, I am fighting with them because they are saying that my neuropathy stops me from working there for if I can’t hold a job I’m ineligible for vocational training, go figure. Please get back to me let me know how I can join your flight I’ve been mentored by some of the most phenomenal people and scholars. I would like to learn under someone like yourself. 76-628-7288
        steven davenport

      • Ben I have question and maybe it will clear up some of the confusion on whether you are “In Bed With Lion The VA”? Are you using Voc rehab now and if so what program? I’m curious like some of the veterans asking questions, how could you obtain services from Voc Rehab if not attending an approved program, or did I miss something. Help me out because I am always willing to learn from a good educator.
        Thanks
        Danny Toliver, Retired USMC

      • Ben, You definitely made an impression on me. I know tha I will move forward with my VR&E at San Diego VA and get what I always wanted a law degree and my own start-up business helping the needy and unabled veterans and their families in our society. Thank You for your work ethics and commitment. James

    • Anyway you look at it this one of the benefits of that program, I despise the FUBAR and will do anything and everything to fight them when they are stupid wrong, however; the VA does mess up once in a while and get things correct. It is rare as we all know but, Ben did nothing underhanded or is being a hypocrite. When everything is working the way those “Regulations” state it is a win for any veteran.

  6. Ben
    Congrats on winning one. Julie Glover, my attorney, thought your emails were very helpful so I requested that you put her on the email list just like me. She will touch base with you at your convention . Damn fine lady.

    Paul Garner, TSgt (Retired) USAF

  7. Yeah! Congratulations Ben. I know that it was a long battle with the VR&E. The VR&E is very tight with their decisions on awarding benefits to veterans. I have a similar situation where I need guidance from you going forward on getting the VR&E to pay for my PhD in Education that I am currently enrolled in. The VR&E counselor back in Oct-Nov timeframe always persuaded me to go elsewhere for educational benefits. It’s like they don’t want to help out veterans with their entitlements. They are sneaky. Anyhow, I will follow up with you

  8. Congratulations Ben! I can’t think of anyone better to fight for the benefits for our veterans than you!

  9. ” VA is considering reversing its position on the “Rules of Behavior for VA Contractors” document language. ”

    Goodness, I sure hope so! that whole story reeked of veterans being squashed like some tiny bug with regards to fighting for their benefits. Good reporting, Ben.

    Congrats Ben with the VA assistance via VR&E.

    i too at first glance worried a bit about the relationship but Ben explained it well and made sense. the trust factor after years of dealings with VA for many of us veterans is rightfully low and mental red flags raise quick with us. we can’t help it, it is a by product of those years of dealings with VA for many of us. even Ben’s investigative reporting certainly backs up and supports why our trust level is low.

    now, I can only imagine how many veterans of years ago that were not informed enough to have known ALL that was available via VR&E years ago. You know, like some VSOs would say, “..be satisfied you got that or this..” and not divulging all that was available.

    your website helps and supports many veterans, so i say, keep up the good works.

  10. Ben,

    Did you really say all of that or was it the heat of the moment? I know it is not that much for especially what you have invested for everyone and you damn well deserve that and more. And I know when I receive anything, thanks to you, I’m all grins too. But they owe much more to me for over 30 years of nothing and a lifetime wasted: for me and many other Vets just trying to get something.

    But have you lost your motivation to fight for Vets due to a $25K published benefits allotment? It sounds like you gave the “ALL CLEAR” signal, and that is not what I’ve been reading here lately, It may be better in many respects but worse in others, And actually, it sounds like the VA has reclamped down on bad policies with the help of illusive P&G marketing distractions and new 20th century loopholes.

    It sounds like we are sinking since McDonald took over, over all. To me, it’s more like ALL ALERT!

  11. This last article inspired the best communications and sharing. Because it is the trust and faith we put in each other, just like in the field.
    Personally, Ben’s price for VA reform cannot be accomodated with $ 25,000 worth of business equipment. it could very well come under the VA Small Business program and not the Voc. Rehab.
    I am sure his practice can be valued much much higher.
    Ben, I must thank you for divulging it on your own accord. You did not have to.
    For us, its a good sign VA is ” monitoring ” his website and more the reason support Ben snd spread the word.
    For me, I have been an admitted attorney since 2004, 50 % SC. Multitudinous reasons why I have not been sble to achieve my full potentional much less start a solo practice. I did obtain my VA Accreditated Attorney last year, but that window in space is not quite open to launch.
    But glad, the VA is starting to assist with startup and a virtual office Solo practice becomes more feasible day by day.

    But critical, Ben revealed that VA is assigning VA Accreditated Attorneys, through language in documents as Contractors. that is scary.
    An Attorney-Client Relationship is sort of sacred and when VA posits intereference,be it overt or covert, it is mandated because otherwise an attorney that does not acquiesce to being a Contractor( how VA defines it) could lose the accreditation and prohibited to represent Veterans.
    Would we as Veterans even know how to legally decipher an Attorney-Client (AC) Retainer agreement. One AC agreement I signed in the past ( for a Foreclosure) even assigned a Mechanics Lien to my home.
    Thanks Ben for your utmost honesty and you are cleaning up an already besmirched legal profession.
    As to the VA, nice try but Advocates cannot be bought.

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