Rumors about VR&E Self-Employment

Self-Employment Odds

You never know how your first VA Voc Rehab appointment will go, and like a casino, most veterans quickly realize the odds are never in their favor.

When it comes to self-employment, the odds are worse than any other request. Two years ago, it was so bad that DC had to write to all regional offices to tell the counselors to stop randomly denying self-employment because of the additional paperwork involved.

That’s right. The additional factor standing between you and your goal of self-employment could merely be a lazy Voc Rehab Counselor. But now, that may not be the only thing.

There is a rumor floating around that VA Voc Rehab is no longer approving self-employment goals for disabled veterans following a secret meeting in DC.

As of yet, Acting Director Margarita Devlin the new VR&E Director Jack Kammerer has not confirmed nor denied the rumor. However, across the country veterans are writing in stating that their regional office VREO’s (Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Officer) are no longer approving self-employment.

All we know here is that VREO’s went to Washington DC in or around December. Since that time, veterans have been strongly discouraged from requesting self-employment. By strongly I mean they are being specifically warned against doing so.

If true, what is unfortunate for veterans is that a veteran may be unconstitutionally denied their ideal employment options because of bureaucratic game playing. This game playing puts VA in violation of federal statutes that mandate self-employment for veterans for whom this goal is reasonable and feasible. While this likely shocks no one, if true, it shows VA has yet again breached the will of Congress on purpose. It further indicates Congress is unable to require VA to follow the law.

For veterans still seeking self-employment, this means you will need to really hone in on your application and related documentation. If you feel you would benefits from a guide, we have written one here called Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans.

Let me know how your appointment goes whether you need the guide or not. We always appreciate hearing how VA is treating you on your quest to be rehabilitated.

Check out what one veteran wrote me today about her claim. While she was not applying for self-employment, her testimonial indicates the roadblocks a lot of VA Voc Rehab Counselors may throw in your path:

I bought the guide and used it to prepare me for my Voc Rehab interview. I came in prepared and knew exactly what I was entitled to. So when the intake counselor tried to shortchange me, I was able to kindly correct his misinformation. When they tried to downgrade the severity of my condition and thus the available benefits, I was prepared with supporting documentation. When he questioned the feasibility of my education path, I had information about my chosen field, the required training, and my aptitude for it. When he doubted whether I would be accepted to a college (seriously?!) I was prepared with an acceptance letter to the best college in the area with an academic merit scholarship reducing my tuition by 50% for the full duration of my education there. Once he knew that I knew the game, I was enrolled and on my way to getting my degree and a job that I want and that will work with my physical limitations. If I hadn’t read this guide, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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  1. I think this is getting… I think this is getting resolved, apparently they are just so busy that miss a lot of the emails that come in.

  2. That is exactly why we are blaming the VR&E, the LAW isn’t changing, and you answer to the law, not the beuraucracy, thus all you need to do is read the regulations and you can do what the law allows… Come on? I have been working on my Self-Employment track for three months, my problem is my officer won’t return my emails or my phone calls. She cancels every appoinment we have, and when she doesn’t it’s only because she forgot about it! I’ve sent confirmation emails, some confirmed, only to find out when I drove 2 hours to the office, she took off sick. This is the best part though, when I got to the office, I went inside anyways because I figured there has to be someone there that could help me, I mean all I needed was for someone to tell the lady who orders the computers to order mine. They already had everything they needed. Nope, the first lady I spoke to began by telling my I couldn’t even be on the Self-Employment track bc it was only for the most severly disabled, well I told her it had been changed in 2011 to include me, then I told her they changed the regs again to allow for fast track! She said, “No.” Then proceeded to ignore me by talking on the phone while she fished around for the regs, but when she finally opened to the page, I quickly pointed to the fact it was from 2006! IT was updated in 2009, 2011, and 2014! This lady is in control of the rehabilitation of our nation’s veterans. If they don’t think we should have these benefits, then don’t give them to us!? Why would you be so cruel to allow a veteran to risk everything he has on a small business in expectation that he will recieve the computer to create the website he needs to start his business, then simply ignore him? All I ask for is honesty. If you are too busy to get back to me then don’t say you’ll get back to me tomorrow then never get to me, even though I sent you multiple confirmation emails. It’s as though they do this to make us the bad guy. Like we are annoying and impatient. I mean, in the private sector, if I had a client and missed a meeting, once bc I forgot, the next bc I got sick at the last minute, and had no one available to fill in. Then said I would do what I was supposed to do two meetings ago, then just didn’t, then proceeded to ignore them I would be so fired I would NEVER be able to to work again… I can’t even write anymore. I’m not angry. I just feel awful, I am hurt. It makes me feel like I just don’t matter. That leaving at 4 everyday is more important than telling the person who buys the computers to buy them. At the least, they could say, buy it yourself! I’d at least be on my way to profitablility. I am so hurt, embarrassed, and confused. I don’t know what to do next? I feel like if I send one more email or make one more call they will be angry and no longer want to help me?

  3. This is old as the hills. Even as VR&E staff, we’d get taken by surprise. One day, we weren’t supposed to write self-employment plans. The next, we’d be asked why weren’t writing any. I had this happen once, so I quick called a guy who’d been wanting self-employment for several months. I’d been insisting he go to school. I quick wrote a SE plan. Several years later, he sold the business for him to comfortably retire to Florida. Don’t be too quick to blame the VRC.

  4. sounds like my high school counsellor, discouraging “college”, but encouraging “armed forces” or “factory work”. this kind of “policy” is not new to me, it is woven throughout the fabric of MY LIFE.

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