In a survey of VA regional offices nationwide, Boise VA Regional Office is tied for dead last when it comes to self-employment of all participating facilities.
I just received a FOIA response written by VA Vocational Rehabilitation that surveyed every regional office that administers self-employment benefits for disabled veterans. That survey showed Boise VA tied Wilmington VA at dead last (zero) for approving self-employment benefits for disabled veterans.
The top two facilities were Detroit VA and Manila VA (Philippines).
The program in question is called VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VocRehab). This is a $1.5 billion program that helps disabled veterans gain access to suitable employment when they have an employment handicap. An employment handicap exists when a veteran’s service-connected disability affects their ability to gain and maintain suitable employment.
One option for the program is self-employment. Veteran approved for self-employment benefits receive tens of thousands of dollars in training, supplies, and equipment. To provide come context, VocRehab paid for my undergraduate degree, law degree and equipment for my startup law firm.
All in, I received approximately $350,000 in benefits, and you can imagine VocRehab’s sheer joy when I turned around and decided to represent veterans against the agency.
[Hint – They were not thrilled.]
Back in the day, some veterans received up to $100,000 to fund a startup, but it sounds like these numbers are lower today.
I just met with the head of VocRehab, Jack Kammerer, last Friday. The was able to squeeze me in for a last minute meeting after the Board of Veterans Appeals forum I was flown out to participate in.
For the past two years, I have been talking with Kammerer about concerns I have had about the self-employment program.
Veterans have struggled getting the benefit in certain locations more than others. By looking at the numbers, you will likely wonder exactly what I was wondering, “Why are veterans in Manila getting approved for self-employment more than Boise, Idaho?”
The background here is that VocRehab encouraged self-employment benefits until the Government Accountability Office slammed the program for some instances where veterans received improper benefits allocations. Now, some veterans are being misled by their counselors that VocRehab is disbanding its self-employment program.
This is not true, but it has not stopped VocRehab employees nationwide from obstructing access to those benefits.
As an aside, I created a pro bono portion of my practice representing veterans who are 100 PT who sought self-employment benefits where VocRehab denied them arbitrarily.
Anyway, here is a partial FOIA list of the locations that are worst and best for approving self-employment. Veterans at each location need to adjust their expectations accordingly.
If you are in Detroit, the odds may be higher to get approved. If you live in Boise, you might as well wait for hell to freeze over unless Congress gets involved in a major way.
Worst VA Regional Offices
|Boise Regional Office||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Wilmington Regional Office||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Albuquerque Regional Office||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Anchorage Regional Office||0||0||1||0||0||1|
|Boston Regional Office||0||0||1||0||0||1|
|Chicago Regional Office||0||0||0||1||0||1|
|Ft Harrison Regional Office||0||0||0||1||0||1|
|Little Rock Regional Office||0||0||1||0||0||1|
|Milwaukee Regional Office||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Pittsburgh Regional Office||0||0||1||0||0||1|
Best VA Regional Offices
|Detroit Regional Office||8||14||7||16||4||49|
|Cleveland Regional Office||4||4||5||2||1||16|
|Togus Regional Office||3||6||3||2||2||16|
|Honolulu Regional Office||2||2||3||4||3||14|
|San Diego Regional Office||1||2||3||3||5||14|
What is your self-employment experience with VocRehab? Did you get what you needed or were you quickly escorted out of the office? Why is Boise seemingly hating on entrepreneurial disabled veterans?
RELATED: Boise VA Regional Office Leadership
Overall VocRehab Self-Employment Statistics
How do you feel about where your regional office compares?