VA Voc Rehab Buys Disabled Veterans iPads and More

Ever wonder why your buddy was approved for a Mac while you got a PC? Or why you were denied an iPad? Well, this post will help answer those questions.

Here’s the square deal on why the Department of Veterans Affairs publishes little if anything about its purchasing program for high tech items for veterans. Well, no one can really answer why, but we’ll hopefully dispel a myth or two and help some disabled veterans get the equipment they need to succeed.

In reality, there are many different programs the VA manages within the Health Administration and Benefits Administration. Different rules apply to the VBA and VHA, but the VA is not clear about specifics as to how to qualify.

To combat this, we created this post to be a non-exhaustive list of items. We will add different items as more information comes from the readers. Please feel free to comment below if you have an experience you believe will help fellow veterans get the equipment they need.

Veterans Benefits Administration – Vocational Rehabilitation

  • iPad 2 – 64 GB WiFi with 3G           $850
  • 15” MacBook Pro                                 $1800
  • LifeScribe Smart Pen                          $200
  • Vehicle Modifications                        $20,000+
  • Home Modifications                           $25,000+
  • Business Equipment                           $100,000+
  • Manufacturing Equipment                $100,000+
  • Camera and Film Equipment            $25,000+
  • Ergonomic Chairs and Desks           $1,000+
  • Private Educational Assessments    $3,000+
  • Cable Internet                                        $50 per month
  • Accessories required for training     $XX

Known VA Benefits Justifications

VA Voc Rehab Counselors can authorize numerous tablets including iPads, LifeScribe Smart Pens and MacBook Pros for many veterans with head injuries leading to memory loss. The justification is that the items help veterans keep track of tasks and appointments, among other things. Veterans can request this by speaking with their counselor.

Equipment for Self-Employment

Photography equipment, tractors, industrial and manufacturing equipment and others can be approved for veterans in Vocational Rehabilitation approved for Self Employment. The VA is authorized by Congress to approve business plans greater than $100,000. But don’t get your hopes up. Most counselors try to push veterans to keep funding under $20,000 despite the impact on the success of the company.

Ergonomic Equipment

Ergonomic desks and chairs are also approved for certain veterans with back injuries. Desks rang from typical desks to desks with hydraulic lifts. Chairs can be standard or top brands like Herman Miller.

Vehicle Modifications

Voc Rehab Independent Living and the Health Administration can equip qualified veterans with retrofitted vehicles through Independent Living. The purpose of Independent Living is to provide extremely disabled veterans with the maximum amount of freedom in day to day living. This is not limited to minivans. VA has been known to also approve grants for trucks, according to the Facebook Group: Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab, one disabled veteran wrote:

Time to RIDE CLYDE! A mobility Vehicle does NOT MEAN a MINI VAN! Here is a 2011 Chevy 2500HD with a 6.6L Turbo Duramax Z71 4×4 Crew Cab. Set up with a Wheel Chair lift in the bed. A transfer seat mounted UNDER the drivers door. Hand Controls and Electric Parking Brake! All installed via grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Memory Loss Assessments

If you don’t know what a Psycho-educational Assessment is, you’re not alone. I had no idea what it was until we realized my Traumatic Brain Injury may have caused permanent memory loss affecting Foreign Language learning. These assessments allow veterans to diagnose the impact of their learning disability on college academic performance. Cost can range from $1,000 to $3,500. Once diagnosed by the civilian, there are two benefits. First, the veterans with a learning disability can get extended time on academic testing. For example, veterans can qualify for one and one half time on their LSAT, GMAT or SAT for admission. Extended time on the LSAT means the veteran would get 7.5 hours to complete it instead of the allocated 5 hours.

Increase Your Disability Rating

Second, veterans can further use the results to increase their disability rating through Compensation and Pension. Veterans with head injuries in service could be entitled to further benefits once the condition is diagnosed, increases up to 70 percent if the person has a moderate cognitive impact or 40 percent for mild impact with memory loss. I personally had to fight for an increase from 10 percent to 40 percent despite having permanent brain scarring. The VA’s Comp & Pension team tried to claim it was the result of Multiple Sclerosis or Lymes Disease. However, the DVA Health Administration reevaluated the claim and concluded the scarring was due to the head injury.

This helped me receive a fair disability rating and is an illustration how Vocational Rehabilitation evaluations and Health Administration evaluations can increase your disability compensation rating.

Again, this post lays out many of the top items reported by veterans from the Facebook Group Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31. Check it out.



Similar Posts


  1. Can you tell me the actual process of submitting for this stuff? Do I have to hand carry a 1905 to her every time I need reimbursement? Or can I submit it through the VA reps at my school? My VR didn’t explain it at all. If I already have a computer and internet am I wasting my time? New to this. Just starting this fall.


  2. I have been trying to get a fellow Veteran benefits for over a year, on appeal now, he is over 75 , has six types of cancer at the same time, served 58-62. Contacted Senator, Congressman, etc. no results, no benefits yet? Amazes me the incompetency at the VA. This man is terminal. Worked on ships scrapping paint, was exposed to asbestos and other chemicals.

  3. Can anyone elaborate on the track record of lawyers handling veteran disability claims? Are they more aggressive than say the DAV? I have a claim a veteran benefits lawyer group representing me on a NOD appeal. Its been almost four years and the process is still slow. Any opinions are welcome. Thanks in advance.

    1. I’m not sure I think it really depends on the individual working on the case whether lawyer or service representative. I have heard positive and negative about both. A girl in my vet center Counseling Group however has a lawyer in California and while the rest of us had our claims approved when the MST representative came to talk to us she could not help out this girl since she has a lawyer. And her case is still under appeal so no news for many years.

    2. Sorry Gabi but your assessment is incorrect and here is why; The VSO is paid by who? You are 100% correct if you guessed the VA. Why else would the process be so taxing and lifeless. I recommend to everyone I speak with to go the route of an experienced veterans law attorney. Naturally if your current attorney has been at this for 4 years without results then that speaks volumes. It used to be that the RO’s were buried in claims but by golly they sure solved that didn’t they? Ever wonder how they did it? Check out the disaster at the BVAs.

  4. I was recently told by vocational rehab they have tightened their rules and are no longer providing hobby items such as cameras excetera. After initially being told I would get a camera and be sent to photography classes, the decision was reversed.

  5. Will VA Vocab Rehab pay for labtop for college to help with my learning disabilities? I’m a 100 IU. Thanks.

  6. My husband 100% disabled from va and social security. We are interested on how he can apply for help in getting a vehicle/truck.

  7. The lap top computer I have is very slow now and it stop working at times, so I have to wait for several hours for it to come back on line. What can I do about it.

  8. I have a broken iMac and am filing the VA Form 28-1902w for a computer. Would it be advantageous for me to put down that I own that broken one or that would hinder my chances of them help funding for a new iMac desktop?

    1. I should also include that I am a recipient of the Voc. Rehab benefits and have been approved by the VA to fund for the tuition to pay for my grad school.

  9. How accurate is all this information since it is written in 2012? I just had my first appointment with the counselor and she told me they have cut back a lot as far as what they can provide;
    That they no longer do what they used to do and there is no money and they don’t provide motorized things anymore, so people won’t get hurt. I have heard of people getting speakers in their house 4 relaxation due to anxiety and depression. I am 100% permanent and total can you tell me what my options might be for what to request they don’t tell you anything you’re supposed to know all these things what you can ask for and I have no idea.

    1. That is what they are supposed to tell you. Where would they be if we all educated ourselves to the point where we could smack them back blow for blow? I went from 10% and 6 years later am at 190%. 100%P&T and 90 SMC, so yes I know their rules and regs and I use those to fight them and win. I love the fight as it provides me with a purpose. Just want to take it easy and finish up what time is left on the clock and be left the hell alone.

  10. I served 20 years. I have been in the Vocrehab for some time, working on a BFA. My first counselor was helpful and informative, the second was rather cold, the third also helped and would give me insights, the fourth was short with me during the interviews and emails and resistant to offering me information, and I am now on the fifth counselor who keeps screwing up the stipend amount and delaying its arrival into my account. It has painted a picture in my mind that the VA does not look favorably on representatives that seem to care or want to help. Many of the reps I have seen or heard tell of are there for a pay check and nothing more. The VA will help but they do not make it easy with the educational benefits…you have to look things up and once you have leverage they come clean. The current administration has made it even more difficult, especially with disability ratings. I have neuropathy from my skull to the soles of my feet, and sleep apnea…I am still fighting them for disability ratings for these issues which they claim are not duty related even though documented during active duty. Good luck all…its a battle…

    1. Have they denied you yet? If so get an attorney, it is your right. If you need a referral I would be more than happy to provide you with a VA lawyer.

  11. POST 9/11 GI Bill recipients – Do not make the same mistake I did!
    I exhausted my post 9/11 GI Bill and then had to use Voc Rehab because I did not graduate yet. I switched schools and long story.. Anyway, If I had left just one day on my Post 9/11 GI Bill instead of exhausting it completely, the Voc Rehab would have continued the regular monthly stipend. BUT, since my 9/11 was closed out, Voc Rehab is giving me the regular GI Bill stipend which is about $700 LESS PER MONTH for my location. OUCH! I’m very grateful for the benefit either way but I sure wish I knew.

    1. I have a quick question. My VR&E rep is suggesting I use my Post 911 instead of VOC Rehab due to Kay difference. What’s your suggestion since you’ve “been there, done that”?

  12. I’ve been trying to get approved for disability since mid 2000’s. Built houses for about 25 years. I finished a quarter at Macon Tech in their CAD program. 99 avg in the drafting and 89 in algebra. Can’t afford a good enough computer that will run a cad program. I’ve found online training/course in this field. Will the VA help with a computer and the training so I can make a difference in my life. Please I need information. Thanks

    1. Unfortunately, benifets take for ever. I filed almost ten years ago and have been waiting on an appeal going on 8 years now. It’s a waiting game, dig in and don’t give up!
      Semper FI

      1. My tip to you is be persistent and talk to different VA people. Some VA reps are in ‘no-mode’ and others are helpful. Keep calling back until you hit a helpful person. Nothing wrong with going over their heads,… talk to the head honcho of the office. Once you run into the right rep, they’ll take care of it within days (from my experience). I have never had to wait long for anything. If I call the VA and I can sense that the person has an attitude or is in ‘no-mode’, I simply hang up and call right back. You’ll have to wait on hold again. I have never hit the same person twice and this system has always worked for me. A lot of them just want to get you off the phone while others go out of their way to take care.

  13. Who do I talk with or a link so I can see if VA will buy me a chair for my workplace. I’m 30% service connected disabled from back injuries and the chair I have at work makes my problems worse. My job consists 100% of desk and I believe my ergo is all wrong. Can someone help? Thanks.

    1. Kenny, Under the Laws the employer must at least attempt accommodate for your injures meaning You get them to buy a suitable chair problem solved. In addition there are tons of VA grants that or service organizations that can buy the chair for you. The last one I interacted with was when my truck messed up back the entire engine had to be replaced. It took me about a week and the check came in the mail to have all the work done and the new engine etc. Good Luck Semper FI USMC JASON SELLARS 100% Med Retired. : )

  14. Can you get voc rehab even though your 100% permenatly disabled? And if not what other programs are out there for us to use?

    1. Yes you can. They offer Independant Living services. That is where, if your disabilites hinder you seriously. Just because you 100% doesn’t mean you can’t work. You just cannot have gainful employment. They also have services to help you become self employed. (Owning a business)

      1. Hello Sandra, YES YOU ARE CORRECT on the voc rehab stuff, HOWEVER ELIZABETH and any one else be very very careful and diligent about this as it can severely negatively affect your SOICAL SECURITY BENiFITS. YES I AM 100% disabled permeant & Total and YES you can receive both disabilty compensation pay and social security pay but you have to read all of and understand the fine print or the voc rehab will screw you over. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Check VA WEBSITE its got all the warnings on there !

  15. I served in the 80s, after Viet nam, but before desert storm, which is concidered peace time. do I qualify for anything. Everything ive been reading has been for war vets only. Why doesnt our service time count for anything? We volunteered for our service, there was no more draft. So are we less a veteran than the other guys?

    1. Yes. You didnt risk your life fighting cold war w propaganda …. no ieds or tbi there lil buddy

    2. Yes i served in tge 80s I’m service connected for 40 percent due to an injury I substaned in active duty. You may to get you medical records and go to a DAV and see if you have something a out a claim in for.

    3. Marc; being in service whether during actual war time or peacetime does not matter except for the fact that those who served during war time are much more jacked up medically. I served from 1974-77 and ended up full of Hep-C which has nasty side effects. Cured now but the damage has been done. If you need to find out what you are eligible for then the first place to start is the records office. Get copies of all of your service and medical records. Were you injured? What was your service time exactly? Did you get inoculated with the airguns? Lots of questions. PS- if you did get the airguns I highly recommend you get in for a liver test via a bit of blood. Could save you a good deal.

  16. How would I be able to get these? I haven’t even applied for a disability rating yet.. I’m having the hardest time staying focused and planning my time accordingly. Three fractured lumbar, patella femoral in both knees, tinitus ptsd and SEVERE mood swings..

    1. You need to go to a VA hospital and ask to apply for disability or go to a Veterans service center in your county!

    2. Putting off going is detrimental to your claim date. We can all appreciate most of the excuses but you have to get yourself up and get it done. There are many people online, myself included, who have been through the VA’s puddle of muddle and come out winners for ourselves and families. Good luck

  17. There is also a Clothing Allowance Check for Veterans who require a prosthetic appliance. I for instance need a knee brace so I qualify for a check once a year. You have to go to your Prosthetic Clinic and ask to fill out a quick claim form and they will process it for you.

    1. Liisa,
      I am in voc rehab entering my senior year toward a degree in Emergency Management. I am rated at 30% for my left knee. I will need a knee replacement fairly soon. Currently I am required to wear a custom made carbon fiber knee brace. It does wear a hole in my jeans as well as the edge of shorts. Would I qualify for this clothing allowance you speak of?
      How much will I receive IF approved? When does it come?

  18. Hi everyone, just found this site…. good info Ben, thank you.

    Question: I am getting ready to start an Internship in Social Work. The drive is about 30 miles roundtrip. Does the VA Voc program help with travel and clothes as I also have to buy new attire?

    thanks for your help.

  19. Ms. Brudett,

    You go through Voc Rehab, again-independent living is part of their domain of influence.

  20. Could Matthew Zeller please give more details on how to properly write a request for the equipments (PC/Smart Pen) so that it does not get rejected? Thank you in advance.

  21. I am sitting in the V.A. hospital right nowwith a knee replacement.l have also had 8 spinal fusions.I am rated at 20% and have been tryin for a increase,I also have central apnea, along with T.B.I.
    I cannot remember much short term and get very confused with dealing with these issues.
    Is there anyone that will sit down and go over everything with you.
    [email protected]. Semper Fi

  22. VHA bought me a smart pen which is a very cool tool. Voc rehab has made many purchase for me to pursue my educational goals. I received an HP laptop computer with printer/scanner combo, iPad 2, as well as an iPhone. The only down fall was I first had to pay out of pocket for the iPhone and iPad and they then reimbursed me. They will also buy iPod touches. If you can write a justification letter with a little bit of effort put into it they will give you just about anything. They just don’t tell you about it. I was even able to get my counselor to approve me for a dual MBA/MHA program after I finish my undergraduate degree this summer.

    1. I wish that would have given me a computer chair, I have a spinal injury setting at my car is a problem and climbing out it, im 6’2″ tall and I drive a Lincoln MKZ but when my back is out I have problems cause it is so low to the ground, Can they help me with this issue?

    1. I received a desktop PC for my rehab program a certificate program in visual effects. I required software and a high end PC I filled out the forms and provided a letter from the school the indicated the recommended computer I would require to run the software. …I believe it has to be an accredited college or school. If you are going to be running anything graphically intense a high end processor and video card are a must. Half way thru my BFA program my mother board and processor burned…I have a request to replace it in to my rep but it takes about 30 days to get a response…

  23. I went through Vic Rehab in Indiana and have now moved to Florida, I am 80% but paid at 100% ,and have been rated unimployable,I have a TBI, and numerous orthopedic problems, I live in bay county,Florida who do I contact to be placed back in the independant living program? Any help would be helpful. Thank-you.

Comments are closed.