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It has taken ten darn years, and our Facebook group focusing on VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment just hit 30,000 members – – no Russian bots needed.

I know. Many of you are in groups that are much bigger. And yes, maybe some of those groups relied on Russian bots to grow that large. But, as they say in Full Metal Jacket, “There are many like it but this one is mine,” Russian bots or no Russian bots.

(Well, ours, since I am married.)

In case you are new here or generally unaware of my advocacy work focusing on economic opportunity for veterans, here’s the backstory that group, Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab.

I started it as a hobby while unemployed and frustrated with VR&E after receiving a denial for additional benefits after finishing my undergrad. No veteran organizations seemed interested in my story much less knew much about the program.

I was unemployed. My traumatic brain injury was yet to be properly diagnosed. I had no clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life. And, my girlfriend of 18 months just broke up with me.

Life was tough and the job market stunk. That was right in 2009, 8 months after the stock market totally gutted the finances of middle-class families across the country.

Anyway, I put up the Facebook group to help other veterans figure out some of the tips and tricks I developed along the way in securing my bennies at a high-cost university.

Within six months, it was noticed by the senior reporters for the show CBS Evening News with Katie Couric who, at the time, was investigating the VA Voc Rehab program.

And that was that – – off the to races.

So, my first scandal was exposed on CBS within six months of going public with my story. Almost immediately after that, VA Voc Rehab approved my request to attend law school and the agency approved a higher grant of benefits for my brain injury.

Again, not bad for a six month stint running a Facebook group for the first time without any experience in internet marketing and without a functional website.

Three years later, I had the opportunity to stump on Capitol Hill with Veterans For Common Sense and my buddy Patrick Bellon. This led to providing testimony before the Democratic Platform Committee and other adventures.

I have since become a recognized journalist and veterans rights attorney who advocates for veterans as frequently as possible. The group has also become the largest and leading resource for veterans seeking benefits from VA Voc Rehab.

Not bad, right?

Now, we have a robust Facebook group with 30,000 veterans all pushing for the benefits and hustling to get at the truth day in and day out.

I wanted to post about it here to first brag a little. It’s important to be proud/happy when you hit a solid goal. More importantly, I wanted readers here to get an idea of where I am spending my time online when not working on posts. I spend a lot of it there in the group monitoring questions.

We are also rolling out a membership platform for this website that gives access to many of my free and low-cost resources like the Voc Rehab Survival Guide, teaches veterans how to FOIA for their records, and more information about other issues.

Check that out, too, at my.disabledveterans.org. That membership site is still in its beta but you can access the materials available.

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10 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your hard earned success! For many of us, coming and reading your articles is a daily routine. Keep up the great work, and best wishes for future success.

  2. Congrats.

    Doesn’t help those of us who have had their own WP accounts (among all others) hacked and can’t get signed in again to use other WP sites or for any memberships. No changing of passwords accepted, etc. My site was wiped clean and replaced with a children’s page (like with others) I posted about earlier. I wonder how many more are dealing with all this or dealing with FB stuff too. Or is this a marketing gimmick to get us to upgrade from a free WP site to a paid one? Or is this just the usual run-of-the-mill censoring/hacking certain accounts and retaliation gaming? Dunno. Wasted an hour on this already. Free speech, free press, and freedoms in America ain’t it great?

  3. Never give up attitude ! That is the American Soldier and should be the veterans attitude.

    I have been fighting the Denver va disruptive committee since 2004. In May of Last year, the Secretary of veterans affairs wrote to the Denver va about what the va manager of my local va clinic did to me.

    She falsely accused me of being disruptive at least twice a month and also stated to my local police department that I wanted to murder employees at the clinic.

    In May the Denver va contacted me and my wife and apologized, stating that back in 2004 they determined that the Denver va disruptive committee had not been run properly and if my case would have come in front of the committee today, I would have never been punished.

    Well, it is now April 2019. The Denver representative asked what they could do to make this right.

    I said how about a written apology and cleanse my official medical records. The representative became very angry and said Why should we apologize for something that happened before we were in charge.

    I said because you just admitted that I was falsely accused and punished and it’s never to late to correct a mistake.

    I had to ask, Mam, if you are not going to veterans, why did you bother calling me.

    She, stated, Became we (had) to. The Secretary of veterans affairs made an inquiry.

    Well are you going to write me a letter of our conversation. ? (NO), Well are you going to tell the Secretary what you just told me and my wife, that I was falsely accused. (YES).

    I don’t believe she the Denver representative, did anything and the Secretary of veterans has not responded in a year.

    The never give up attitude. I don’t care if I have to fight for the rest of my life. Like Ben said, seems no one wants to listen, to the veterans.

    Finding Help is non existent.

  4. Ben, I’m doing a 7 day trial of an ad blocker. Think I’ll get it. It cuts all the adds with graphic video and speeds up your sites loading and my ability to type without waiting for the script to catch up with my fingers.

  5. Good on ya Ben. Alas, I’ve never been to your FB site. I dumped it 90 days after signing up. Waaay too creepy for me.

    I did everything I could to cancel that account, and successfully hadn’t been bothered for eight years until mysteriously, my canceled account came back. I never attempted to sign in, nuthin. Just started getting notifications of what the few people I linked up with were doing. I have yet to sign in and I keep being asked to do so. I’ve even had the mysterious email from FB telling me that “someone” tried to sign into my account. My access is denied “until I sign in and blah blah”, and I get no notices …. until I do – again without doing anything. So, ya, invasive.

    But, again, congrats.

    And now, in the spirit of extremist division in Amerika, this:

    Have you ever gone to Fox News to try to get exposure of VA misdeeds, or is it only the liberal biased commiefagjunkie Soros MSM the only ones who’ll listen? Yet another round lands with with precision intended to cause maximum collateral damage.

    I can be such an asshole sometimes.

  6. Ben,
    I get it, you just went to the marketing seminar/class and want to bring in more revenue, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are being moral/ethical about that. What I mean is: you have many followers who can barely log onto a computer who rely on your articles to gain information as unbiased as possible (we are all biased in our own ways and everything we write, despite the facts provided, will lean in the direction of how we feel…we cannot help that) on all subjects VA.
    Some veterans sites, who claimed to be all about the veterans, started to get the fever, the fever of “I SHOULD BE GETTING PAID FOR THIS” and their initial pursuit to help veterans fell to the wayside. They forgot where they came from and what their original cause was for, who it was for. I am hopeful that you won’t forget where you came from and what you stand for and I truly hope that your cause is not forgotten as I consider you and the work you do one of the watchdogs that produces proof and exposes the VA for what they are. Just please remember that when the big VSOs started, it was originally to help veterans against anyone/anything that was crushing them (VA, bug business, etc.) and they were strong in their influence, but then, at some point in time, each one realized “Hey, we could get a fat paycheck with minimal effort and set ourselves up for great opportunities and make even more money” and so began their forgetting of veterans.

    Many of the VSOs barely put effort in, despite their boasting on social media accounts, when they could be applying needed pressure on politicians to actually hold the VA accountable. Their questions during committee hearings are softball questions & their statements do not do much of anything, if anything, for veterans on the deckplates. Upper VSO officers only push recruitment recruitment recruitment and hold each building/post accountable for specific recruitment numbers, yet provide little support.

    I hope your intentions are solid and you always remember where you came from and what started you on this path. No one will blame you for pursuing profit because that should be the expectation (you have to pay for the site and such), just remember that there are veterans that look to you for guidance and answers and may not be able to afford a membership fee for such information.

  7. Congratulations! I am one of the beneficiaries of your site and your book. Because of it, I was able to successfully navigate through the VRE process. I will be finishing my grad studies this year. Thank you so much!

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