Individual Unemployability Myth Destroyed – Vets Can Use Voc Rehab With 100% TDIU
One veteran wrote in this week after being misinformed via an Individual Unemployability myth from a VA Voc Rehab counselor that TDIU veterans couldn’t use Voc Rehab wondering if the claim was true.
This claim is flatly false.
Veterans with 100% Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) can and do use Voc Rehab for retraining. Now you have it, I destroyed the myth. There exists no regulation anywhere that prohibits a veteran with a TDIU rating from using Voc Rehab.
I explain this below.
Does this mean you can automatically assume all TDIU veterans can use Voc Rehab?
Absolutely not. And I probably don’t need to remind you why it is bad to assume…
Keep reading to learn more.
RELATED: Key Voc Rehab Definitions You Need To Know
Individual Unemployability And Voc Rehab
WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT
This article tells you how to deal with counselors who make false claims to avoid working, and is based on the troubleshooting framework in our guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans.
Here is what happened.
A veteran wrote in on our Facebook page, Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab, and the question got over fifty comments. Here is what the veteran wrote:
“I have been told by my Counselor that since I have PTSD and I am unemployable at a 100% I cannot go to school unless I can drop the IU rate. Also, she suggested that I cancel the claim when it was being submitted and processed. I have yet to attend school. I have been denied Vocational rehab 3 different times and each time I am being told to re-apply, to only be denied again. Very Frustrating. How do I become employable if I don’t gain more knowledge to do this? Any help would be appreciated.”
RELATED: Top 5 TDIU Misconceptions Hurting Veterans Claims
The Voc Rehab Hamster Wheel
This veteran is on the VA hamster wheel where Voc Rehab counselors give conflicting information that results in churning work without creating any positive outcome for the veteran.
His counselor made this claim and followed it up with a classic lazy employee request for the veteran to withdraw the claim to help the counselor avoid additional paperwork. Can you believe that?
If you withdraw the claim, you withdraw any hope of documenting what happened in your own record. Instead, it will show that you quit rather than reflecting the fact that the counselor chose to deny you benefits.
Further, the counselor makes a request that is not reasonable; she asked the veteran to drop his TDIU claim prior to attending college and prior to finding suitable employment. Generally, it is unlikely a veteran can get a reversal of any VA decision without adequate proof.
But even if he could, does it make sense for the veteran to gamble on the possibility of being retrained without any indication that the retraining will be successful?
RELATED: The Five Training Tracks Of VA Voc Rehab
Voc Rehab Counselor And Dereliction Of Duty
It is the job of the Voc Rehab counselor to fully evaluate the veteran and provide the training or assistance that specific veteran requires. Anything shy of that, like here, is a complete dereliction of the Voc Rehab counselor’s responsibilities.
Do you remember what Uncle Sam did to soldiers who were derelict in their duties? Why is it that some VA employees seem to get a constant pass without any accountability?
Here, the Voc Rehab counselor asks the veteran to make VA Comp & Pension make a decision without any proof that he is employable. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
I have a hunch as to why she did this.
There exists research sponsored by VA that concluded veterans with TDIU have lower chances of being rehabilitated. Since the counselor’s bonus will be more if the counselor helps rehabilitate more veterans, it makes sense that this bureaucrat would cherry pick cases.
However, her job is not to cherry pick cases, but to do the best she can do with the cases that come her way. The counselor’s job is to help veterans get rehabilitated through gainful employment to the maximum extent feasible and to do that job well.
Is that what she is doing here?
Or, is the counselor sandbagging her own caseload while wrongfully withholding benefits from deserving veterans?
Manage Your Lazy Voc Rehab Counselor
Most Voc Rehab Counselors work hard, but some do not. Here is how to deal with lazy employees who make up rules as they go along.
First, the counselor makes a claim. In this instance, the claim is that the veteran cannot use Voc Rehab while 100% TDIU. There is no indication in any regulation (38 CFR § 21.1 to 21.420) or in M28R guidance that such a veteran is prohibited from using Voc Rehab. In fact, the M28R mandatory guidance a Voc Rehab counselor must follow never uses “TDIU” and “Individual Unemployability” shows up only 3 times out of more than 1,400 pages.
Nowhere does M28R state these veterans cannot use the program.
This makes sense as each counselor is required to evaluate each veteran, their disabilities, their employment history, and their aptitudes. It is highly plausible that a TDIU veteran could have a removable barrier to employment once retrained.
Once removed, that veteran would no longer be eligible for TDIU, VA would save money and the veteran would go one to work in a new career of their liking.
This is a good thing as studies show rehabilitated people who are gainfully employed pay back the cost of retraining through added tax revenue from their own earnings very quickly.
Further, it is improper to assume all veterans with a TDIU rating could not be rehabilitated – which is contrary to the claim of the counselor illustrated above. Imagine how different your own case is from any other veterans.
There are a lot of variables that must be sorted through unless the Voc Rehab counselor is being negligent and ignoring their own due process and regulatory requirements.
Four TDIU Myths Impacting VA Voc Rehab
1) Ask Questions About Voc Rehab Denial Based On TDIU
The veteran needs to ask, “What regulation are you relying on?” And, “Where does it say in the M28R that I cannot use Voc Rehab benefits for retraining through college?”
Once you start to probe, the Voc Rehab counselor will likely bend and reconsider your situation — this is, after all, her job.
If a counselor ever asks you to do something that sounds illogical, be sure to drill down into what the counselor is instructing you to do. In this instance, you would ask the counselor, “How does one drop their TDIU? What regulation helps me do that?” Again, the counselor will probably start to reconsider her recent “foot-in-mouth” comments since it makes no sense.
2) Demand A Written Voc Rehab Denial For TDIU
Second, tell her that you would like the denial in writing if she intends to deny you. Instruct her that you intend to file an “administrative review” request after you are afforded an opportunity to review your CER in person.
This last part is the fun part, because you are not only telling her you will not go away; you are telling her that she will need to work a lot more to deny your claim unjustly than to just do her job.
Remember, VA Voc Rehab counselors are highly-paid Federal employees. Many of these counselors make around $85,000 per year plus a bonus. For that reason, you need to hold them accountable if you come across one who does not want to do her job.
3) You May Lose Your TDIU Rating
Now, if you have 100% TDIU and you successfully use VA Voc Rehab to find work, you will lose this extra-schedular rating if you earn more than the poverty level in any one year. If you do this, you will need to pay back the additional money you earn.
Does this mean you should not go for it? Heck no.
I think a life of gainful employment is better than sitting on the sidelines so long as that gainful employment does not cause you harm by conflicting with your disability. Believe me, the $1,500 difference per month in disability pay versus the financial reward of working generally outweighs any benefit from not working, if you can maintain suitable employment.
4) Not All TDIU Veterans Will Be Approved
Does this mean all TDIU veterans will be approved for retraining? Heck no.
Each Voc Rehab case is different since all veterans are different. No one case will be the same. For that reason, we need to keep in mind that there is no sure thing. Instead, put your best foot forward. If you do not like the result of a decision, appeal it by filing a Notice of Disagreement.
If you do file, be sure to read the Statement of the Case (SOC) closely and respond if there is anything in the SOC that is erroneous.
If you are denied, be sure to ask if you qualify for Voc Rehab’s Independent Living Program (ILP). Veterans on this program can receive a great deal of assistance but will not be expected to find work after the program is over.
I was approved for voc. rehab. by the VA Regional Office in Jackson, MS. I selected a program of study fro Jackson State university in Jackson, MS. After careful consideration, I requested to get permission to complete another program. My counselor told me that she would have to get approval from her supervisor. The new program that I decided to pursue was completing my doctorate degree. Since I would need 33 hours to complete the counseling degree, it would only take 12 hours and a dissertation to get my PhD. My counselor called me back after several calls I made to her and informed me that her supervisor approved my request. I sent in the course of study and everything they requested.
However, after revisiting the Regional Office one day just to touch bases with getting school supplies. The supervisor of counseling called me back to speak with me. She stated, “I’m not sending you back to school because you have an undergraduate degree in business. I’m going to find you a job!” I said, “I got this degree over 30 years ago, don’t you think I would still need to get some refresher courses!” She said, ‘You’ll do on the job training!” At this time I completely lost it! I wanted to know how can you allow someone to go to Law School who had a mastered degree in criminal justice and working as a police officer at the same time. I’m unemployed because of my service connected disabilities. She told me, “I can’t discuss anyone else’s case with you.
She denied me and said that I refused Voc. Rehab. because I didn’t allow her to find me a job. I am reapplying on April 19, 2017. At this time I will be submitting documentation from VA doctors stating that I can’t do any kind of work.
Is there something that Voc. Rehab can do for me?
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need
to publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t talk about such topics.
To the next! Many thanks!!
Is this still true? I was approved for VOC Rehab today but my counselor wanted me to check into this before we move forward because she was told by veterans that once they went on VR&E their TDIU was taking away? She also gave me the whole “you cant be approved for more then 48 months rule”. I have you manual and I didn’t prepare enough, but I will before I go back for our part where we agree on a plan. I would like to be a Lawyer, but I am still in my undergrad (1st year). Any tips on how to get her to see that I can be approved all the way through Law school, like you? Also to settle my nerves as this left me shaken. If I agree to be on Voc Rehab I will not lose my Temporary Unemployable status from the VA, right? I believe I read your post correctly. Also, I gave her your website during the office as I was quoting you, and I showed her some CR regs too. Thank you for the help!!!
I didn’t click the button to follow any replies. Sorry
My husband used his chapter 31, went to school, struggled thru and got his master’s degree to become (of all things) a vocational rehab counselor. After graduation, he found that you can’t get a job without experience. While in school he started an internship with one of the local VAs. They cut him off and did that due to his memory issues (one of his disabilities) he couldn’t do the work. He tried to do seasonal work during the holidays as a delivery driver assistant. But had physical problems. His vocational counselor told he would list infeasible. He really wants to work. Do something. I feel that sitting at home is killing him slowly. He has 70% disability with memory, PTSD, depression. I just don’t know what to do. Help
Ben, Can a veteran apply for TDIU while he or she is enrolled into vocational rehab? Will this affect the outcome of the veteran’s claim?
Ben I am applying for IU, and I have multiple things that are service connected. I have seen at least 4 Doctors on my back. Can I attach a letter to the va form 21-8940 ?
I am 100% P&T for chronic PTSD, attend all appointments with VA Mental health psychologist ,social worker & psychiatrist. I also am rated for heart,agent orange,diabetes,ED, etc. I would like to take a Master gunsmiths correspondence course. My DAV service rep told me the best way to get the VA to approve payments to the school (they are vA certified) is to have VA psychiatrist write a letter stating that in his medical opinion I would benefit from this course by helping to eliminate boredom , reduces depression & anxiety. I am 70 years old and with the good and bad days I would not be working.There was no sense in pursuing IU as I am 100%PT for the last few years. Any advise?
I am 100% Indivual Unemployment and was wondering if I would still qualify for VA Vocational Rehab if over my 12 year expire date from disability rating?
Was in the program 2 years ago, but quit because they wouldn’t let me attend flight school at a private school. Like to give it another try. Thanks.
l am 100% unemployable wrongly filled out the voc rehab app and just want to cancel out the app can I do so without a problem.
Ben, There are no words to thank you for posting this. I am about to fight this battle myself, just in an odd order. I am currently 90% rated from the VA and going through Voc Rehab for a BS in Mechatronics Engineering. I stopped by the office adjacent to the Voc Rehab today to try to figure out how I am supposed to get treatment and medication ( I have only been out of the service for a few months now) and before I knew it, the lady there had explained to me that I can apply for Individual Unemployability. She explained that my case looked promising, I asked her if there was any reason why it would interfere with voc rehab. She gave a somewhat noncommittal answer how every thing goes before a board for review. I decided to roll the dice and apply for it. My voc rehab counselor seemed a bit worried about it because he has never seen anyone get both. I am going to be one indescribably unhappy camper if this backfires and I lose voc rehab! I am definitely unable to get gainful employment at the moment, but having that intrinsic drive to never fail has pushed me to solve the problem. Reality states that I need to take care of my family and make ends meet until I can do better than that. I fear that I may have made a mistake in applying for IU today.
I have read how some people here see the process of fighting against the VA as worse than the real thing. I can fully attest to that feeling, even though my fight has just begun. I would like to put into perspective how terrifying this is. I was on my last deployment in Afghanistan. There was a certain CSM, for a supporting Infantry unit, that insisted on riding along. I didn’t like the idea at all but you have to play by the house rules a little when you are in another guys’ back yard. This guy takes off, with a couple ANA(presumably to do a one man flanking maneuver), into an unsecured village that was historically very hostile while the rest of us are in a pretty intense act of foreign diplomacy. We didn’t have the assets to spare to go get this yahoo and we couldn’t pull off of our pseudo-HVT either. I kinda drew the short straw and took off after him. As I was streaking across the open expanse between us, I knew for a fact, that I was going to die today. There was no doubt in my mind that a green suitor would be arriving at my house to congratulate my wife on receiving my SGLI. ( that is how the image flashed into my mind). I unsnapped everything that goes boom and asked the MK19 gunner to make it rain on my head if I started yelling for help.
Needless to say, he and I both made it back, mostly in one piece, and I was never so happy to be wrong. This was nowhere near the most interesting excursion of my career. What makes it come to the surface for me now is that it was the most ridiculous. I would rather go back into that village everyday for the rest of my life than fight the VA over this garbage. How do we induce this much stress upon ourselves? It isn’t real stress, yet it is far worse. I always knew that my family would be taken care of while I was deployed. Now, I may lose the ability to pay the bills and not be able to do anything about it. Why am I fighting someone who is supposed to be on the same side? I am worried that I will lose the Voc Rehab and the BAH that goes with it. Not to mention the future employment possibilities. I am worried that I will go from barely covering the bills to living on the streets. I will live anywhere, I do not want to put my family through that.
I feel betrayed. I want to move forward. I want to get my head above the water. I cannot believe that there is no solution. I cannot believe that this beast is beyond the grasp of mortal man. I will never give up the good fight, but now I fear that I have stepped inside the monster’s den with no armament. I will be sure to post my success or failure along with any other information I can gather along the way. Hopefully we can start to dispel the myth of not being able to get both Voc Rehab and TDIU together.
I apologize for hijacking your page, I needed to vent a little.
vocational Rehabilitation counselors also have licenses so you should also directly complain to their licensing boards (CRC usually) in each state. You can browse their code of ethics for more specific information.report them to their board so that they can be replaced by counselors that DO care.
As a grad student mental health therapist and the wife of a disabled vet, complaints to the board are the best avenue. Some complaints you can file online (M.D.s) other you have to download the form and mail snail mail. It’s a difficult and humbling experience for you to ask for the help, to go through the process of C&P (heck, they miss coded my husband as dead 799.9, fraudulently charged our insurance twice for wheelchairs that we definitely don’t have…..)
I have a question I hope someone can help me with.
I have passed the first stage with the letter stating…
You have been found entitled to Chapter 31 VRE services. Your entitlement is based on your need for program assistance because (see item marked):
Then it says I have both an employment handicap and a serious employment handicap.
I was also found reasonably feasible for the achievement of a vocational goal.
Now the question, Can I not only get Voc rehab but also ILP at the same time.
The reason I am asking is it is hard to work at a regular desk in a regular chair with a normal size monitor due to my eyesight back and knees.
I will be attending a online course of study but will have to go to what are called boot camps for computer certifications to fully prepare for a Web Development degree.
Can I ask for feasible transportation since driving in my small 99 Acura is very painful and doesn’t allow me to drive far and disrupts my daily routine due to the pain?
Will they buy me a scooter so I can easily maneuver in the house as well as the study on the outside and will they also pay for a large touch screen monitor for my house so I can use it for a laptop that I hope they will purchase also since the school is online and it is a computer science degree?
Last question is I have gingivitis really bad and my gums hurt something terrible and I think I have a cavity as I can not even chew on that side of the mouth, so would they pay for dental care since it would also disrupt my learning process due to the pain?
Thank you for any help. I looked for a more suitable post for this but could not find one.
I am 80%SC bumped to 100%IU. I am 3/4 through my B.S. in Psychology degree with Voc Rehab. I have been going under reduced workload tolerance for the last 4 years. I go 4 credits in summer and between 7-9 in Spring and Fall. It’s all I can handle mentally. I just recently had my doctor fill out the Reduced Workload Tolerance letter and he approved it to exactly what I said above. I got a new case manager and she went against what my doctor letter says and has reduced by BAH payments to 1/2 time. I just noticed and now she wants all these papers filled out, has read my medical records and accused me of not going to treatment, and again- ignored my doctor letter which clearly states RWT for Spring, summer and Fall of 2015. She now says we will “talk about” whether or not I can stay in school. I have a 3.9 GPA at a nearly Ivy League School and the school wants me to apply to the Honors College and has asked me 3 times. What in the hell can I do? I supplied her with the regulation that states “only a VA doctor can determine case load,” and she has not changed my pay in the computer. I meet with her this Friday.
what is true? failing in Voc rehab college course, even with a tutor. I am 70% disabled and asked for a letter for my IU claim in regards to a clinical VA social worker indicating i can’t work. My counselor originally said they would discharge me with a letter in support that i could not longer continue due to medical reasons and now.. her supervisor says that they can not write a letter about unemployability from a Voc Rehab discharge.. what’s true.. i have hear Veterans getting letters from Voc Rehab indicating that they are discharged due to councelor not foreseeing them being employable.
I know a girl that has 100% disability and she’s unemployable. She just got a job. making 12 to 15 thousand a year. Something simple, Not hard at all. Can she lose the unemployability. So that no one can come back at her because she’s working? Or does she earn to much? Or is it the best idea to tell her to quit the job…. and tell her to volunteer to help others…and call it a day.
I am 100% unemployable veteran I am college can I work so many hours without hurting my disability benefits. I have PTSD and have my ups and down and I don’t want to start over again
I would suggest focusing on college first because adding in a job may trigger a mountain of anxiety or depression causing a total shutdown. Thats the thing with PTSD, you will be feeling awesome and then BLAM. So just enjoy, take it easy, focus on classes – if you are going to add anything…add an art class or a yoga class.
Veteran jobs with VA for Vets https://jobs.vaforvets.com
The purpose for CH31 is to “restore employability” so the people who could or should be the best candidates are those of us receiving IU. But, rarely does some on IU really want to return to the workforce. In more than 20 years as a DAV NSO I recall 2 veterans who relinquished their IU and went back to work. Most vets on IU have a work history apart from active military service and are awarded the total rating based on worsening of their service connected conditions, so the likelihood of improvement is poor. The exception is the vet just medically retired who needs retraining to do a job commensurate with his/her disabilities. One client gave up his IU (his sole scd was 60% for lower spine) and worked for more than 20 years. He came in to reapply for IU because he could no longer work. The VA denied him initially because he could not show his back condition had worsened via a higher evaluation. The only way for him to get a higher evaluation under DC5293 was to essentially be wheelchair bound, which he was not. Fortunately, the VR&C Officer was reasonable and after e met with him he wrote an evaluation that permitted the Rating Board to re-award hm the total rating based on IU.
But, such instances are rare where a vet truly wants to return to work and give up the IU rating. In perhaps 90% of vets who were on IU and wanted to get CH31 benefits, their motivation was solely financial. The VA sees this over and over, so a veet sincere about retraining and going back to work will have to sell himself or herself as determined to get back to work. It benefits the VA for vets to go back to work since it saves the additional amount of compensation it no longer pays (difference between schedular rating and total rating).
Keep in mind that if a vet holds the total rating based on IU for at least 20 consecutive years it is protected from reduction even if the vet goes back to work. The 20 year protection applies to any evaluation for that matter.
Fire Ralph Gigiotti
Visn Director Director Denver. Ralph and his
Visn staff are incompetent
and he hates Veterans.
Unbelievable. That VA would be so bad as to do this.
Great and motivating article Ben. Why is it so hard to get the right answers from the VA and the Service Org VSOs? They all seem to parrot wrong and misleading answers in their bureaucracy and then you have non-veterans and Congress doing everything they can to privatize the VA and do what they do to the military by charging a lot for a intangible service and then delivering little or nothing as if they are the VA and they have full pockets while the veteran is again screwed and cheated. What I like to know is why these senior level retired stars military keep getting put on commissions to decide our fate when they have their military untouchable retirement, their board of directors gigs, and civilian executive gov position with another retirement dip keep screwing us over. It seems that all these baby boomer types are just for themselves and screw the future generations of veterans and they just keep making one bad decision after another on purpose and don’t care. Any ideas?
VA employees should provide right answers and be able to provide citation to back it up and many refuse because they are taught to treat veterans like charity cases.
If you are a 100% service connected Disabled Veteran can you still use Voc Rehab? A few years ago I was told no I can’t use Voc Rehabis this true ?
Liz, to the best of my knowledge you should be able to use it. Even if you are 100% disabled it should not matter. As it states in the article above, most of the counselors are just too lazy or do not want to do the paperwork to get you what you deserve. Try again and if you are denied, have them put it on paper as to why (a signature also helps) and the rule as to why you cannot get what is yours. Then you can file a complaint or find another VOC Rehab if you have another in your area. This way you can start your education and then file the complaint on the other one. If I am wrong on any of this someone please correct me as I don’t want to give out wrong information.
ben, i think you may need to add a chapter or a new booklet about voc rehab for social readjustment only. i went through this several years ago and it had nothing to do with going back to work since everyone up front at the va knew i was incapable of that. my case is a bad example in a main respect because my voc rehab was a complete disaster with me nearly being shot by campus police where i took college classes, and the fallout from that has never ended with ongoing problems. i was really messed up on purpose deliberately by the system in the service where i worked in a particular field, and that is why i did not benefit much from voc rehab and it was a monumental failure. that does not mean that other vets could not benefit from it even if they are not attempting to go back to work. if a vet is drooling on him or herself in a wheel chair with an attendant like you may see on college campuses from time to time, totally out of it, they are at least having some exposure to the outside world. the kind of voc rehab i am talking about is maybe more like occupational therapy, like i went through in military hospitals, and no one expected me to ever go back on duty, but actually i ended up doing so. when i went back to duty i go ran over again, almost literally, so damaged that i am a train wreck with skin now, but at least this kind of thing has the potential to help a vet at some level. you are right to say that going back to work is a good thing over not going back to work if you can do so with any chance of holding a job. after more than 30 terminations it became office i could not do so, but somewhere out there there are a few guys and gals who have a shot at it . thank you for being there.
I was the Director of a center form independent living for persons with disabilities , many with severe disabilities. We had independent living training programs Look into these centers for independent living for person with disabilities .The staff is mainly also persons with disabilities who have been what you have been going through CIL- Center for Independent Living – federal program for persons with disabilities , also they do advocacy work, attendant care/homemaker services, disability counseling, etc
Good Luck and I am with you.
Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CASGS
This article in principle of deniability I can identify with my voc rehab counselor Carlene Burke at the 245 West Houston St. Regional V.A. office. I have about 8 -10 months left on my 48 month training benefits. I brought in the proper medical, psychological, and Government Congressional documents on extension of benefits. She and her boss refused to achknowledge and read the V.A regulations. When I insisted that I was eligible they suspended me for the last 6 months. The emotional and financial stress has quadrou[led with my PTSD. Suicidal ideations sometimes seem tosound like a good idea. Hurt people hurt people.
Great, well-written and informative article, Ben!
PLEASE TELL ME WHY…each and every VAHC and Office is NOT STANDARDIZED across this great nation?!!! Seriously!!
Even more importantly, even IF it’s *supposed* to be standardized across the entire VA System, why is there obviously NO accountability in even getting the BIG GUN Secretary of the VA to ENSURE standardization of ALL REGULATIONS across ALL VA’s, no matter where they are in the USA and territories?
Seems I need to say this YET AGAIN…**IF** the VA were to be held under the UCMJ, it would quite possibly run as efficiently as the well-oiled (mostly) individual Branches of Military???
I really believe with all my heart that this LACK of ENFORCED standardization across ALL VA’s is very much part of the dysfunctional problems because as it is, these employees are doing such a huge disservice to fellow Vets by making-up or loosely interpreting the Regs. to suit their lackadaisical work ethics and/or to only benefit their very bonuses.
I say these bonuses are NOT in the benefit of the Veterans and actually is ANOTHER contributor and even motivation for such lackadaisical work ethics.
How is this changed?
Our recent Lt. Col. Gade that made an agenda appearance here in last week has NO CONCEPT of what the REAL problems are inherent with the VA…it’s NOT the Veterans. Just saying….as he still has left an oscillating pain in the logic and anger part of mine and many other Veterans!
The fact that Gade has no experience in the trenches fighting for benefits or trying to help others in their fight for benefits is what keyed me in on his position years ago. The ignorant masses will gobble up what a West Point professor says without considering the broader question of, “Does he have the right credentials to say this?”
In that instance, the Press tossed us a basic logical fallacy via faulty inference:
A. All men are mortal
B. Socrates is a man
C. All men are Socrates
When it comes to what NY Times said about Gade, it baited the readers by pointing out that Gade was a disabled person, and then reported on Gade’s position as though he is an authority on disabled veterans via personal knowledge and skin in the game. Oh, and because he is a West Point alumni, he must be right.
Here, I will add an inference:
A. Disabled veterans are disabled people
B. Disabled veterans have personal knowledge and skin in the game related to VA disability
C. People with skin in the game and personal knowledge can critique VA disability differently than other people
D. Gade is a disabled person
E. Gade as a disabled person (but non-Veteran) who can critique VA disability system from personal knowledge and skin in the game (Fallacy)
F. Gade is a West Point professor so he must be right (Fallacy)
Point E is a faulty inference. Point F is a logical fallacy for appeal to authority. This is what the NY Times article foisted on every reader when it published the article and most Americans failed to take notice. Now, many readers believe TDIU veterans are gaming the system.
Here is the article and subsequent slew of comments from veterans hammering Gade and Gade hammering back: https://www.disabledveterans.org/2015/01/09/west-point-prof-dan-gade-says-disability-pay-harmful/
Those who sent us to WAR are the real enemies. They lied, connived and jived us into believing in their IDEALS. And now that we are in NEED, they are using the same TACTICS on us.
You’re so right. Chasing the legendary insurgent up the rocks of Cochibamba, Bolivia, or crossing the Niagara with a bike is easer that fighting VA. As trained killers, the have the nerve of telling us that as killers we could get a well paid job with Don Corleone or Pablo Escobar. But the VA Fleet, after the Phoenix affair, is mopping up the murder rats. Imagine, people at the bridge who didn’t qualify even to mop the deck.
Thank you Ben, you have the bull by the horn.
Ben and everyone else, I have seen this firsthand as I was a work-study in the Veterans’ Education Office at the college I attended. I worked there for two and a half years and the whole time I have seen, was told, contacted the VOC rehab office, and even tried to get vets into college. The sticking point in every case, the unemployability. I was told by the VOC Rehab office that VOC rehab (CH31) was for vets who were employable and if they were not employable then they could not get that benefit. I was told that if the unemployable was removed then they could get the benefit. Now I read this and find that they could have gone to college and that the VA lied again. At the time it did sound right but after reading this blog I now know that I was wrong and I feel bad because I could not help a fellow vet get what was his. I wish I would have known this sooner and I do put some of the blame on myself because I usually look into these types of things because I am one of those who do not take being told :no you can’t do that” very well. I did not look into this and I should have so that I could have helped my fellow vets. That is the most important thing above all. I now know and will make sure that any vet trying to get this will be able to even if they have been told no.
Great points, figure8fan. I just checked the M28R to see how often the terms “TDIU” and “Individual Unemployability” come up. TDIU does not appear anywhere in the 1,400 page manual. No where. Individual Unemployability shows up three times, and nowhere does it state TDIU veterans as a group are not entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits and services.
Ben, I should clarify that the ones telling me that vets who were unemployable and therefore could not go to college under the VOC rehab were the ones from the VOC Rehab office. So I was lied to by the ones who were supposed to be their and with “all” the knowledge of the VOC Rehab system and the rules and regulations of it. It is such a shame that those who were to do a job and do what they could to help those vets who needed the help actually denied them for no apparent reason other than they did not want to do the needed paperwork on them to allow them to be able to get the education to help them. Such a shame and I had visited that office after I finished college a year later and it was worse than I could have imagined. They basically did not want to help anyone and were now leaving it up to the vet to plan his/her college degree and they only stepped in if the vet took a class that was not within the vet’s degree. Lazy, the work-studies that were in their office did more of the work than the VOC rehab people did. Just not right.
Do you have the names of those who provided you with erroneous information? It would make sense to report them and their office to ensure they are provided adequate training.
Ben, this was in 2008 and they have all been replaced. I found that out when I returned to the office a year after I graduated. I do not know their names at this moment but I might be able to get them if I do some digging. I think I can e-mail you on this site so I can give you the names and not make them public. I will look and let you know what I find. I think I can remember a name but I want to make sure.
I am P&T and iU. i hate not working, admit i am still unstable but want to do something. I am still young and have no clue how to get out of this loop i feel stuck in.
I was just made Permanent and total due to my sTBI/PTSD today. About three weeks ago I was diagnosed with a chronic adjustment disorder and service connected causative and chronic due to my TBI and I exacerbated my then PTSD. But he also separated my symptoms in his C&P for the VA. MY PT was also based on his report even though they said it was a PTSD and it wasn’t and said they couldn’t differentiate the symptoms even though he did. Just to be clear since 2010 Ive been 70 and then in 2016 they lumped in PTSD and I stayed at 70. This gets confusing now two weeks after the PT rating me they want to send me to a TBI review for my new claim the RO told me so they can officially rate the two separately one MH for the AD and PTSD and the other for my sTBI. Will this effect and will I lose my PT in the notification it said I was rated TBI by itself for 6 years before adding the PTSD but now its listed as a symptom of my sTBI in the PT rating? If I skip the exam the guy said he has know idea how it will be rated since the doctor did separate the issues, can they take my PT away even if this is for another claim? They used my C&P in their decision for the PT even though my claim was still pending and they cited the wrong DBQ but had the right date? I asked the RO to see how the DRO used the wrong title of the exam for PTSD when it was other then PTSD and laid out the 3 mental diagnoses and separating the symptoms. I will be getting a phone call tomorrow about that. My anxiety is a double edge sword it gets me going and actively working on my claim but I seem to forget about everything else in life and my marriage pays,
Its why I never believe the VA if the aster does not sound right or sounds shalt Gt opinions out side the system from DAV or someone who knows . I worked as well in VA Vocreahb chapter 31 from my AA to my Masters degree on VA work-study in a veterans office on campus . The question I would have asked a VA Vocrrhab counselor is why then does VA Vicrehab have a “independent living ” program which is to in fact get people to a place of work and employability and after that program one would then be leigiczl and go directly into regular school or vocational training. I would have stated ” What is the purpose of VAvocrehab “independent living ” and then those people are paid to go to school or vocational training.
Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS
Lee, once again I did not know about the “independence living” and it was something that was then never brought up during my conversations. If I had known about that then it would have changed the whole ball game and I would have gotten more vets into college or gotten them the “independence Living” help. I accept the blame for this as I should have dug deeper into things and then I would have known. I do not like it when the VA takes advantage of us and will try to find out what I can to prove them wrong.
Ben, I have two of the four people that you were wanting as well as the address and a possible phone number to one of the individuals. I do know that one of them is no longer there as he had to quit due to his disability and the other is currently still there and working at another college not too far from there. The phone number I have, I believe is to the office in question. Let you know more when I get it and if you would like what I have as of now I can e-mail it to you.
Benjamin your the best I wish I knew what you do about VocRehab 35 years ago !! You are 100% correct In fact VocRehab pays for “Independent Living” for a program for persons who may not be ready for work to bring them to the point of work and training/school.
The course of training in Vocrehab must be compensable with ones disability and there lies my own problem with vocrehab. I was trained as a counseling psychologist with a masters degree and ask have an advanced graduate degree in Gerontological counseling. Due to the stress of my case load and also writing grants trying to exist and pressures of an executive director in human services as well as the death of my mother my VA disability got much worse going from 30% to 100% from anxiety reaction/high blood pressure to bi polar condition. I tried to go back for retraining with the argument that I should have never been trained in my field due to my disability and the pressures of the field I was entering . Their answer was I got my training that was it.
My other huge problem with vocrehab is I have seen fellow 100% disabled veterans trained with a BA in Psychology , another trained as a history teacher all of who I worked with as counselors at the Philadelphia Multi Service Center.. We were laid off due to grant dust and my fellow disabled veterans could not get hubs due to the lack of entry level training or that the training they received was one in an unemployable field i.e. History teacher in high school BA degree or a BA in psychology They tried to go back for retraining at VA vocrehab and were denied
I have also found huge differences from office to office on the level of training Vocrehab will provide and I protested my own case at the time I had told the VA vocrehab counselor my goal was to do gerontological counseling /psychotherapy with veterans and disabled veterans at a VA facility of which I was denied a position despite 100 SF171’s by the VA field office sating I was only eligible as a VA vocrehab counselor with no openings nationwide. I asked to be trained in counseling psychology to a Phd as the entry levl for such with the american psychological association is a Doctorate and to get in to the VA as a psychologist is a doctorate – entry level they refused me such training me to a masters degree.
My problem is based on the office the former head of Va vocrehab was trained with a PHD . Yet I was trained in the same field with a Masters degree and I see many others trained with only a BA in psychology leaving them totally unemployable in such field.
I was told by my VA vocrehab counselors two of them that level of training are set by each individual vocrehab office and thus differ I knew this to be bullcrap but did not know how to proceed . I did protest such in writing and was still denied, I do know that every occupation has an entry level and for psychology or counseling psychology that should be a doctorate
Can you explain why this is going on in VA vocrehab Ben??
Lee Horowitz, M.Ed , CAGS
US Navy , Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran
Great article! Keep up the good work.
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