Video Q&A – Does VA Voc Rehab Still Pay For Graduate Degrees?

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VA Voc Rehab Counselors are telling disabled veterans that VA Vocational Rehabilitation no longer approves graduate degrees, but is this true or false?

It is false. The statement is bogus, but that does not stop counselors from making statements that lack veracity to disabled veterans seeking advanced training.

Why is that?

Why The Dubious Voc Rehab Counselor Statements

The most obvious reason is that counselors are culturally indoctrinated early on to treat is taxpayer money as if it were their own money.

This is not bad in itself. We want VA employees to be smart with taxpayer money, but we also want them to be honest with veterans when carrying out their duties.

Here, the good intent has been perverted by some counselors in some locations who believe Voc Rehab should not pay for advanced degrees like Juris Doctorate, Medical Doctorate, PhD, and more.

Not all counselors engage in this type of deception, but the few who do give misinformation leave a taint in the mouths of veterans that cannot be washed out.

Many veterans still operate under the premise that whatever Uncle Sam tells them must be true when it comes from the benevolent bosom of the Department of Veterans Affairs. And, for these veterans, they are potentially giving up tens of thousands in training and a lucrative career when they receive bogus misleading information from a Voc Rehab Counselor.

When they find out the counselor misled them, the experience creates a sense of injustice within the mind of that veteran and those with whom she shares the experience.

This video discusses the middle ground that some readers posed during the Q&A session.

Questions Asked

The live Q&A from veterans starts at 17:30. We address the following paraphrased questions from veterans:

  • Can I be approved while working in IT?
  • Does my VR&E entitlement run out at 12 years?
  • Do veterans succeed when appealing VR&E denials?
  • Denied despite a 100% disability rating saying I could get a job?
  • When should I apply for VR&E to get a Masters while completing BA using GI Bill?
  • Why did VA deny my request for a joint PhD/JD with my SEH?
  • Will VR&E help me buy a bar or restaurant? How can I get approved for a PhD after completing Masters Degree?
  • Should I investigate my bad counselor?

If you are reading this and would like additional material, I have created the Voc Rehab Survival Guide that outlines the steps I took to win my benefits from VR&E including my law degree.

If you are reading this and have been denied benefits, should you want a free legal consult, you can make that request at my law firm. There is no charge for a consultation.

I hope the video is helpful. My goal is to try to put one of these up each week. Be sure to subscribe to my “Benjamin Krause” YouTube channel and click the bell button to receive updates when I post them.

Those veterans with a Facebook profile interested in getting more information can also join up with over 30,000 other veterans in our Facebook group.

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30 Comments

  1. This is definitely true that VR&E is telling veterans that they do not pay for masters degree. They also tell veterans that they do not help with school and that they only help veterans with finding jobs. I just finished my masters degree (now discharged). I also had to TEACH my voc rehab counselor that they help veterans establish their own business. I gave up on that aspect with them as I had experience in establishing businesses through help from SCORE. Of course VR&E didn’t believe that. I have established my own business helping veterans navigate their way through VA healthcare. This was done with help from VR&E since they always use the excuse that the veteran does not understand the process.

    • From reading your article, since when is the Department of Veterans Affairs concerned about taxpayer dollars? Benjamin, my Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation situation is just the tip of the iceberg. You state in your article about injustice, the situations involve more than an injustice. Benjamin, I do not care to fight with the Department of Veterans Affairs; and, I am not starting a fight with them either. They have such a disconnect. They cannot even see this. Benjamin, I have very little desire to reapply for Chapter 31. If you were aware of the facts, then you would see exactly where I am coming from. Though, my employment agenda is moving forward.

      • I will say maybe VA Secretary can improve the VA. He seems like he is trying. Ultimately, Ben, though, I honestly would find the time spent under the VA Voc Rehab lacking. I am not speaking this with a tone of arrogance or claiming that I am an expert. This is not what I mean. My point is being that I have already been correcting and cleaning up behind the VA, I just do not see how this could be effective at all. I am not trying to be a smart ass either. See the VA likes to play games and not act in realness. If the VA had been working with me instead of against me, this picture would look different.
        This situation has come about due to the VA leadership believing the only way is to deny, delay, and lie. Also, the one size fits all does not apply to me because my recovery path started steering in the opposite direction than the one of and by the VA. No more said.

      • The lack of emotional intelligence and lack of interpersonal skills is happening due to the technology. Mr. Wilkie is trying to help with the telehealth. If a person does not communicate in speaking words to others, skills can regress. See this is also happening with the millennials. Yes depression, and mental issues. The technology thwarts real connection between human beings. Look at it. You will see it. You may already see it happening.

    • In regards to the VA paying for whatever and in regards to the VA claiming whatever about the veterans, the VA culture is totally different today than what it used to be. In other words, it boils down to lack of respect and down to lack of regard for each other or one another that is plaguing the VA. So therefore, the VA acts with resistance to paying the vets. Plus, when the VA employees make claims about veterans, this is many times due to the VA employees themselves. The VA Voc Rehab counselors may not know how to engage the vets to get to the interpersonal skill level to better determine their career or employment suitability. Yes, VA Voc Rehab has the SCOPE testing; but, that test determines very little in my opinion. When VA leadership or VA whomever claim whatever about the vets, many times the claims are subjective which do not serve in the best interest of the veterans. Claims made about people removes the work from the caseload. In other words getting to the actual skill levels of vets and employment / career suitability requires them to work with actually engaging in depth. My statements are applicable to the current culture in this country.

      • One point when the VA Voc Rehab Counselors deny the vets, this just adds more problems of their livelihood. Ben, the VA never looks at this at all. Then the results of this points the veteran to be more dependent on government. In reality though this is what the VA wants anyway because most VA types I would almost bet they support govt dependence. Question? How can a veteran be learning new in demand skills and education and training for employment if the VA as in VHA has them handcuffed in mental health groups? Mr. Wilkie, please answer? If a vet is moving forward, why can’t the VA respect this? Once many vets reach a point, they may can transition. Here Ben system is not set up for this. Vet has to force it. Then it turns into false narratives by VA providers. Turns into a mild war. Then people in private sector are baffled. Sad Ben.

      • I was not really considering a graduate degree. The areas for which I would have liked to attended graduate school to study are Athletic Training and PT. There are some dual programs. However, when I see what is going on in the healthcare system in this country both in and out of the VA, situation just turns my stomach. Yes Ben and Wilkie, and all. If you Mr. Wilkie and HHS were aware but you are aware. See all of you govt officials believe you have to have your nose in everything. But your strangling nose everywhere almost destroys more than it helps. Yes Wilkie and HHS. And much of this has nothing to do with my care. So Ben here is why I decided against the graduate degree for PT/ Athletic Training. Not that this is of importance but another path exists but it will not be feasible due to responsibilities external to me. This path would require moving out of the south….leave it at this.

      • What I meant is the telehealth can reduce interpersonal skills. Teleheath is not one on one communication or group communication in person.

      • Leaders are not paying attention to this. The technology thwarts emotion. Turns people into
        non feeling. Interpersonal skills that is if the person has not developed them to begin with. Goes right along with coping skills. Hey, Wilkie, here is the source to your suicide problem. Pay attention. Look at it.

    • In regards to vets, Ben, there is a lot of misconstrued judgements against vets. Private sector is doing it just like VA. The judgements are off based. I am not sure why non veterans are speaking to vets in a demeaning undertone. Even back in December 2018, VR&E top official had called me with starting the tone off in a talking down approach. I immediately pinned it down in the phone conversation with addressing it but in a respectful way.
      Witnessing this. In that article I sent. Some vets need help but it depends where they are in their process. Employer will have little info on determining this. When criteria cannot be established, this is what happens. This is aligned with Voc Rehab counselors and Employers. Same scenario. Kick down the road instead of pursue to find out. These are actions towards vets. Hell it maybe the non-vets who are more not with it than the vets themselves. Causing the unalignable and unsolveable problems.

    • And Benjamin, if you really wanted to hear the truth of what I really would like for Voc Rehab to pay for if they could get beyond their sabotogical agenda? I would like for the VA to pay for me to become a Sports Medicine DO. I believe the Doctor of Ostopathetic takes less time. Then I could really drive the AFGE Union crazy. Join ranks with Wilkie. Steer the VA away from many of those human body damaging meds of which the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA has bought the VA on. Particularly help the mental health community of which many have been left to die and just have been left without hope. You may say WTF.
      And, I do not claim to be a world savior either; but, I am serious. Some scholarships I am applying for just opened up this fall. Deadlines coming up in December and January. As for the VA VOC Rehab, yes maybe or maybe not.
      Put it like this I would be dead before they dotted an i.
      Someone in my near circle shared with me about a lady who became a physician at the age of 87 with graduating from Harvard Medical School. Plus, Ben, the oldest living and working lady engineer works for the DOT as a Project Manager for the state of Missouri with her chronological age being in the middle 80s. But, their 80 age ranges are still long distances from my age today. We will see. Best.

    • Being the VA loves to abuse their power, why don’t they abuse it in a positive way?
      For example, how about putting some real genuine efforts into education and training vets for real substantive employment instead of denying at every given moment? Also, since the VA claims they are concerned about the suicides, why can’t they show by their actions? So if the VA really wants to reduce suicides, why can’t they stop the suicides among the homeless in California? What is the difference VA in allowing people to kill themselves with all the intervaneous drugs, living in feces, living with rats, living with fleas, living with limited food, living with diseases, living with no care? So VA if you are concerned, please explain what is the difference? Allowing people to die due to no real help among the homeless California population or a veteran calling into the hotline who is suicidal? Both are the same to me.

      • Why apply for Chapter 31 Voc Rehab? Why? It is not about giving up at all? I am just sick of their abuse. When they claim non-truth about any veteran patient the allegation or mischaracterization is a reflection of the VA employee or on the VA employee or about the character of the VA employee.
        Not the veteran patients.

    • Benjamin, I will tell you this, though,
      even with all the crap going on back in 2015 when the Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation denied me, it would not have mattered if the CRC counselor was doing the job or not.
      And, it is true. CRC did not consult with the 3 supervisors of whom I worked under. Plus, the CRC was out for 3 months on maternity leave. So Ben, when a CRC does not enage with supervisors and is out on maternity leave, honestly, very little gets accomplished to move veteran forward. This is the VA side of the coin.
      Ben, even if the VA had been right on target with total accountability, my participation in Chapter 31 would not have garnered success.
      Ben, 4 years ago, my functioning level was not at the level that it is today. Serious. My functioning has greatly improved just since 2015. Govt research says when people age, functioning declines. Not true for all. Hell, various parts of the brain even regenerate themselves with some people who are even in their 70s. Memory located in the Hippocamus for one area. Thus, Ben, leaving the VA system has had a lot to do with my functioning level improvements having occured and with still occuring. Plus, GOD.
      Ben, my speaking has improved by leaps and bounds. My whole demeanor has improved. The issue today does not involve not being able to do; but, it involves one of which the status quo is against me. Society today is solely based on status. Education and retraining legislation which has been enacted is for the younger generation. Not me.
      Thus, I have career fairs and meetings with co-op educational /work campus advisor. Just seeing about the agenda myself.

  2. Great advice. I’m going to use your advice to push for my PhD as I think it would look good on my living room wall once I graduate. Best part is no student loans to pay back.

  3. I had been told that if you had an under grad degree, they would cover the cost of an MBA. But I am way to old to het that going at 75

  4. I do not know if the VRE counselor is paying properly for half the time online for a master’s in social work. I got 670 a month for two courses and every time I request a tutor for my writing she denied it. I am a non-traditional student but it is true that the VRE counselor thing that it is their money that they are expensing in the veterans education. Please advise

  5. Thanks for all the info as always! Scenario: Currently on last semester of BA in Psychology and on Voc. Rehab. Plan is Masters in Occupational Therapy. I applied to seven programs this summer and should be informed whether I got accepted late this year or early next. I was told by an old counselor that in order to be approved for the MA program I must first be accepted into a program, so I was forced to sign the IWRP for my BA only and was told we would revisit the plan once I accepted into an MA program. Question: If I still have 11 months of Voc. Rehab benefits at the end of my BA, shouldn’t getting approved be no issue? And, if I do get denied, whats the likelihood that I can get approved without having to put my program accepted to on hold. Thanks!

    • I regularly speak with veterans who are denied the MA in the exact same scenario because they sought the grad degree approval after graduation when an old counselor said they would approve the MA later. Counselors regularly con vets knowing they could approve the MA as one of the objectives at the onset of the plan but saying, using a number of excuses, that they cannot make the approval. Once graduated under the existing plan, many counselors then deem that veteran to be qualified for suitable employment and/or they say the additional training is not required so they deny the later request.

      The odds are higher for approval if the request is made prior to completion of the degree if you need to appeal a denial.

      • Thank you for the rapid response. I figured that thats what you were going to say. I can’t get over how some of those counselors can just look at you in the eyes and lie to you, even when they are well aware of what they’re doing is wrong. They must drink a lot of wine with ambien to be able to sleep at night. I will contact the new counselor and attempt to start the process for the MA degree. I’ll reach out to you if I do get denied. Thanks!

  6. Thank you for the rapid response. I figured that thats what you were going to say. I can’t get over how some of those counselors can just look at you in the eyes and lie to you, even when they are well aware of what they’re doing is wrong. They must drink a lot of wine with ambien to be able to sleep at night. I will contact the new counselor and attempt to start the process for the MA degree. I’ll reach out to you if I do get denied. Thanks!

  7. This seems to be what VA employees OR councilors OR whatever one wants to call those who are hell bent on screwing veterans! No matter where these reprobates work, their main mission is to keep veterans under their thumbs – so to speak!
    Whether it be in the VBA OR VHA side of VA, the main objective of these individuals is to keep that “cash cow” within the confines of the VA.
    If anyone has wondered; “Where does ALL of those BILLIONS of taxpayers dollars actually go?” That would seem to be the $64,000 question! In my opinion, there’s lots of upper echelon va pukes with off shore accounts getting richer every year!

    • Good question Crazy Elf.
      Thanks Ben for the information.
      When the VOC Rehab Counselor denies veterans, the counselor could claim whatever. Yes of course, they can look through their pool of regs; but, ultimately, how they make the decisions could be decided should one look at them wrong one day. This is why Ben. The Career Scope test is too limited. The human brain capacity is measured on a broad scale ranging to infinity of which a pendulum can swing to either side with always displaying qualifying capabilities and qualities of the person. In other words, for the VA as per the counselor to determine what a person can or cannot do is open to interpretation. There are many facets to the human brain. So for the CRC to determine, they actually cannot. Not enough validity even with the extended evaluation. However, the denials could mean a number of things. Could be the counselor did not want to do his or her job for the day. Or vet did not suit the standards as per the counselor in play. In my opinion, the VBA is doing not only the veterans disservice; but, the agency and the taxpayers too. I am referring to half measures. VBA program lacks.

  8. Before retiring I worked for the State of Utah as a Disabled Veterans Representative. Our job was to help vets find employment, particularly with the Chapter 31 vets who just finished their program. One veteran I worked with lost a leg in Iraq. He came to me completely confused. He had been working with Voc Rehab and been approved for a track to become a Physical Therapist. In Utah that requires a PhD. He just graduated with his BA degree from a local university. Upon graduation his Voc Rehab counselor told him he was now qualified to become a Physical Therapist. To make a long story short, I called a woman who knew the manager over the Voc Rehab unit in Salt lake, who in turn payed a visit to her and relayed the information I gave her. Even with this information it took Voc Rehab six weeks to overturn their decision and allow the vet to resume his track, which now included graduate school and, eventually, a PhD in Physical Therapy. There is no question in my mind that the Voc Rehab Counselor, who I was told was “in his 40’s, knew exactly what he was doing when he originally terminated the vets educational track. Unfortunately, in the 10 years I worked with vets I heard countless stories just like this one.I spent more of my time working on their behalf to straighten out issues with Voc Rehab than I did doing my job. There is a definite pattern in Voc Rehab that includes out and out lies, deceptions, delays, etc., to screw vets out of benefits they should have. I wonder how many vets just walk away because they could never fathom that the VA is not to be trusted.

  9. ddon0606, I really appreciate your comments. “You speak about spending more of your time working on the veteran’s behalf straightening out issues with VOC Rehab than you did doing your job.” With this statement you have just nailed it to identify exactly what has been happening in my situation. I am referring to straightening out, correcting, and cleaning up behind the VA. Though, it has not been just the VA; but, it is the healthcare industry with others care and even this involves correcting behind companies. I had to move my care out of the VA because I could not get issues taken care of from a kidney infection to eye infection to wrong eye prescription to neuroma on the foot to out of range antibodies regarding the thryoid and the list goes. But this is the jist of it. So I moved it out of the VA. Researched and found new private sector physicians to treat to clean all up. Yes, all is corrected and improved today. However this is not even all. VA engages in waste like you wouldn’t believe. Ben when you speak of them being concerned about taxpayer dollars I see this as being a nonexistent entity with them. Honestly I do. A family member of mine who is a veteran and who is just few years older than me passed in November 2018. His home had to be cleaned out and dealt with. The VA medical supply waste was unbelievable. I took close to 4 car trunk loads of old meds and med supplies to the police station for them to destroy in their incinerator. Plus, local thrift store picked up truck loads of donated items with large boxes of medical supplies that were still packaged and were up to date which could still be sold and used. My family is scattered across the country so taking care of most of this situation fell on me to get it done. So Ben when the VA comes up with shortages of medical supplies, here is some of the WHY? I say what a mess that I had to take care of.
    My mother was awaiting hip joint replacement surgery at that time. So with the rest of family scattered across country, the cleaning it up and the taking care of situation fell mostly on me. This situation was not just a one day job. Took about a month to square this away. Also correcting behind the big companies with their defrauding schemes. Has not involve just one company but involved many companies from property management companies to internet companies to you name it. Oh if they have even an inkling that one is a vet, here they all come running. So as per the AG and the DOJ, I welcome them to get these companies in reference to the anti-trust laws. I say be my guest. Getting back to the VA care delivery in regards to VA employees obstructing the process just like they do Voc Rehab, not only have they shit over the vets but even the distant family members who tried to communicate with the VA regarding the veteran. This goes way back. Ben, the VA has been a disgrace from what I have had to witness and experience due to their actions. Just thinking about how hateful the VA employees have been and are just turns my stomach. Getting back to situation about vet becoming a physical therapist with VOC Rehab that of which you, ddon0606, had to correct VOC Rehab on, this was pathetic for you to have to do their jobs. Getting to me in regards to Athletic Training / Physical Therapy, I could work in these fields. I already have been doing these tasks for a lifetime even now except when the Navy retired me and few years thereafter when I did not know my head from my feet. Not in paid employment though. Yes, and Ben, I believe I could become dual qualified – DPT and Certified Athletic Trainer. Doctor of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training. Ben this is how I was able to walk out the door of the VA. I do have a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Physiology which was earned prior to entering the Navy. Yes, the private sector physician had to treat the conditions of why I left the VA; but, ultimately, I took all else over. A few people who engage with me today are aware of my story and mention that it is inspirational. When I speak about the technology contributing to more harm than good my statement holds alot of validity to it. When I look at the state of California with the homelessness etc. this just burns me up. I say this knowingly because many of these people can be assisted to health and assisted to get on their feet. Some will be able to and some will not. Ultimately, many people in top leadership positions do not know a damn thing about people who have mental anything. My statement includes the VA. Ben, they wallow in discrimination, biasness, and total lack of information. Finally though, they do not care. This is the core of the issue. They believe the dysfunction lines their pockets. Bonuses, power, stupidity on their part in my opinion. Best.

  10. ddon0606, when you speak about straightening out situations, you were already employed while correcting the situations. Consider if you were not employed and you were almost breaking your neck with trying to become employed with having these type situations to correct and cleanup that of which were getting in your way? Ben, here is your VA. Getting back to VA mental health programs, there has only been one decent VA program in the southern region. Called the MISA program. Do you know why it was decent? The program was based and tailored more to the veterans individual needs. The program was intensive plus had groups. Now the VA has another program called the PRRC. The program is all grouped based. In my opinion, the PRRC is political. With the PRRC, the needs of the veteran and the progression forward becomes thwarted. Group think. So here it is. Asked a VA provider recently why can’t the VA recognize progression or progress? I had told the VA provider the VA would do itself a world of good if it would recognize success? VA provider didn’t really know what to say so it seems. Getting back to programs, Ben, my existence in a VA program was over 5 years ago. One point, the PRRC thwarts real recovery success forward. PRRC dictates and controls outcome regarding veterans. The MISA program delivered an opposite effect one of which was an opportunity of equality. Thus, Ben, why apply to Chapter 31? The VA gets in the way. Best.

  11. Read this to understand why the va is recruiting so hard:
    *”https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/10/14/every-veteran-has-voice-heres-how-were-going-listen-all-them.html”*

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