CBS Interview with Wyatt Andrews

Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation Interview

“Ben, I am a reporter from CBS Evening News. A producer and I have recently run across a string of anecdotal stories about VR & E qualified vets being delayed or denied VA Vocational Rehabilitation benefits… Could you call when possible?”

This email, which arrived January 4, 2010, as a result of a visit to my Disabled-Veterans: Chapter 31 Voc Rehab Facebook page, was from three-time Emmy award-winning journalist Wyatt Andrews. It was part of an investigation that CBS Evening News with Katie Couric was conducting into the Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program and helped the news center piece together the following broadcast: CBS Evening News interview.

I received honorable mention in the written version of the broadcast and was brought a bit closer to what the DisabledVeterans.org was becoming.

“Ben Krause, the disabled veteran mentioned above, runs a Facebook page called ‘Disabled Veterans, Chapter 31,’ and was especially helpful in helping us make sense of the many types of complaints he receives through the page. Ben, on this Web site, donates a great deal of his time helping veterans navigate the ups and downs of the Voc Rehab application process — and is himself trying to use his own Chap. 31 benefits to attend law school this August.”

Today, DisabledVeterans.org has become a place where disabled veterans can turn for facts who are trying to get the benefits they deserve. While this may range in scope from veteran to veteran, many of the issues and problems remain the same.

Benjamin Krause and Director Ruth Fanning
Founder Benjamin Krause with Director Ruth Fanning

Now, we have teamed up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help change their programs from the inside out. Vocational Rehabilitation head Director Ruth Fanning has our help in directing policy changes that impact veterans on a daily basis. Input from my research has resulted in disabled veterans receiving tens of millions of dollars in benefits like health insurance and computer systems.

Vocational Rehabilitation Exposed

2 thoughts on “CBS Interview with Wyatt Andrews”

  1. Hi Ben. I came across your story while researching Voc Rehab. About 3 years ago, I was a homeless veteran and living in the Lake Nona Domiciliary. I am 100% disabled and was struggling with PTSD, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. I applied for Voc Rehab and my counselor told me that I was “eligible but that the service was not feasible” at the time because I told him I wanted to go to school. I really didn’t know any better but I have been doing my research and have reapplied for it recently. I haven’t worked since I got out of the Army (November 2017) and all my IT certifications have since expired. I would like to attend law school as well, and was looking for some advice on what to say to the counselor this time around. I would like a copy of your Survival Guide. Thanks for your story

  2. Dear Sirs:
    I am a disabled veteran. I have been processing my VA medical claim with the help of the
    VA team at the armory here in Rockford, Illinois. I met a little resistance like you suggested.
    I followed the advice of my VA councelor. I went through all the footwork of trying to comply. I was having an emotional breakdown from too many relationships going bad.
    While I was in the service, I was in the Navy during 1986 to 1993. In 1990, when I check on
    shore duty, I started receiving mail and phone calls from home. The news in those letters told
    of members of my family having different levels of cancer or other problems. This involved,
    my grandmother, my mother, my mothers` sister, my brother, and my sister. They had
    different levels of cancer. One expects your elders to pass away first. This is the natural
    order. However, when you throw in the other family members my younger brother was
    the next one to pass away. My grandmother passed away at Christmas and my brother
    passed at Easter the same year. All these problems have been documented by the Red Cross.
    I have not been able to have my 10% increased in three years. I am not able to hold a job
    in driving trucks. I have had 10 jobs driving trucks over the road. I am gone all the time.
    I couldn`t see spending all that money to rent an apartment for just me. I have 10% for
    blood pressure elevation problems. The DOT would qualify me as long as I accept a one
    year medical card, instead of a two year card. This is acceptable to except part of the year
    I would be laid off work. I would spend part of the year on the streets and in the shelters.
    I would ususally be laid off in the winter, that`s the hardest time of the year for me. Now,
    I have become diabetic which makes me more of a heart risk. Now, I have totally taken my-
    self off the road because I won`t have major accident because I am too tired or have a heart
    attack. I met a lot of resistance from a program the Rockford VA Outreach sent me to.
    There was a lot of personality clashes because of the losses I have had in the past. This
    is identified as Depression. I now take two blood pressure medications and prozac and seraquel to be able to sleep better. I couldn`t sleep at all when I came out of the truck. I would work every day in the truck. I would sleep a different time of day every day because
    I drove over the rode. I made about one million and a half miles in the ten years I drove.
    I slept in the shelters when I was on the street. They would constantly fight and argue with
    me keep me awake all hours of the night and day. That would increase the depression even
    more. I drank when I was in the Navy. I learned to find sobriety before I was discharged.
    I have eighteen years sober at this time. Through all these broken jobs and relationships
    I chose not to drink. I have some of my benefits back. I have HUDVASH because I followed
    a suggested course of finding my place. I go to VA meetings as required. I still have
    physical problems that the doctors can`t find any answers to. I am still having problems
    when people get me up before I am ready to be up. I can`t work any longer on day shift.
    I have not found much assistance in retraining to see what I might want to do next. All
    I know is in the heat I fall out and can`t do the kinds of physical labor I used to do.
    I believe I need a nonservice connected pension. They are developing my case now. I had a
    hearing for intake information this summer. They said to wait until December for an answer.
    Now we will wait and see if I can completely retire.

    This is my story. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:
    [email protected]

    Thank You,
    Craig Moritz

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