Ink Signature VA Vocational Rehabilitation Appeal

VA Vocational Rehabilitation Appeal Changes Due To Emergency Response

VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment just announced changes to its appeals rules amid difficulty printing and scanning signed forms.

In 2019, VA issued new appeals forms to address the Appeals Modernization Act that went into effect. Those forms noted “sign in ink” on the signature line instead of allowing standard electronic signatures.

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Ironic, right? To modernize appeals, VA mandated an antiquated way of authenticating statements on a form requiring an ink signature.

Nonetheless, in response to the current emergency, Voc Rehab announced it would allow typed signatures in the signature line.

This is great news for all veterans with a hitch.

VA would need to update its appeals forms including those for a Higher Level Review and Supplemental Claim to allow typing in the signature block.

SEE: VA Form 20-0996 Higher Level Review

Veterans who own Adobe Acrobat, a program that allows editing of PDF form documents, will have an easy time typing on the form once it’s converted from the current type of PDF to an editable type of PDF using TIFF export feature. There are other software platforms that also allow editing of PDF forms.

In this context, a veteran using Acrobat could convert the PDF form to a TIFF image and then export it into a normal PDF, then add text to the document over the signature block.

Many veterans without the paid software will still need to print out the form, sign it by hand, and then scan the form back into a digital image.

SEE: Learn More About Fighting For Voc Rehab Benefits

Or, they would need to mail it into counselors who are not working at the office to avoid risk spreading the disease or catching it. Who would be at the office to verify receipt of an appeal in a timely manner? That is why VR&E issued the change.

Hopefully, VA will update the form to allow typing in the signature block and actually do away with the ink signature requirement, permanently.

The VA email is below in italics.

VA Voc Rehab Email To Veterans

Greetings, Veterans enrolled in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program,

VR&E Service recognizes the current challenge we face with obtaining a wet, electronic, or digital signature from our participants. Therefore, during the period of national emergency, we have released guidance to all Regional Offices that policy will be adjusted to accept a typed signature, which will apply to any form that requires a participant’s signature. All forms are available in PDF format at The most commonly used VR&E forms are as follows:

  • VBA-28-1900:  Application for Vocational Rehabilitation for Claimants with Service-connected Disabilities (Fillable)
  • VBA-28-8832:  Education/Vocational Counseling Application (Fillable)
  • VBA-21-686c:  Application Request to Add and/or Remove Dependents (Fillable)
  • VBA-21-674:   Application Request to Add and/or Remove Dependents (Fillable)

In addition, VR&E Field staff are encouraged to communicate with participants electronically during this time. This includes utilizing tele-counseling which is accessible on any web-enabled device with a webcam and microphone (Smartphone, Tablet or Laptop). This will allow you to meet with your Counselor virtually through VA Video Connect. If interested in this service, we encourage you to contact your Counselor as soon as possible.

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  1. We are a “land of people” who cherish our freedom. One of which is to travel when and where we want! Could this pandemic forbid this from occurring?
    Here’s one person’s thoughts;

    1. Yes I hear you Crazy Elf.
      I agree with you.
      Ben, do you know why VBA and VHA and the Chapter 31 Counselors have zero idea of what veterans will or will not be able to do? Because when the VA is busy finding reasons to deny, finding reasons to ration care and services, and finding reasons to make their subjective determinations stick to eternity, the reality of the truth can never reveal itself.

  2. The Mission Act is in a pause right now!

    1. And, for all you VA employees out there, here’s your “bonus monies” –


      1. Ben, I am entering your space again with some refreshing news. This is of course with the VA in my area. I had gone into Publix and was coming out. While headed to my car, I saw a veteran sitting on the tailgate of his truck. He was waiting for his wife to come out. He was wearing a US Navy Veteran ballcap. So we started talking. Sometime within the last year, the VA performed a hip joint replacement surgery on him. The orthopedic surgeon was a UF Health surgeon. Anyway, the VA did a good job with him. Ben, he is moving around with zero pain. He says he walks alot. He is truly thankful. A blessing from God. Anyway, while continuing to speak with him, I told him that I was a Navy veteran. I mentioned to him that I left 5 years ago because I could not get issues seen about. I did bring up the Chapter 31 topic about trying to re-enter the workforce via some education and training prior to or while employed. I told him that I had been beating them up and cussing them out. I asked him should I go back to the VA and reapply for Voc Rehab. Ben, he suggested that I should. He suggested to go back to the VA and let them know how I am doing. Then take it from there. When I saw they had did a great job with his hip Ben, I felt encouraged. So Ben I should give them a chance now in regards to Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation. So I will finalize preparing to reapply and see how they react. Ben, this veteran is older and doing well now. He and his wife are both veterans. Vietnam veterans. Do you like my story? A story of hope.

    2. If you thought the Army was through with you after retirement, think again:

    3. I found this article “” which rebutes the “” article about the mission act being on pause:

      1. And too I know how they are. So I will just have to how the situation travels it’s course.

    4. Why? This is hard to grasp. Do not get where they are coming by pausing the Mission Act. 👎

      1. Angela,
        I put both articles on so people would be informed. I believe people are getting worse out there. They’re panicking over a pandemic, that so far is not as bad as the amount of deaths due to the flu this season. My source is the CDC!
        They just aren’t looking at things logically!
        Research the CDC’s files on this issue. You’ll be surprised at what you learn!

        There’s a flock of people out there blaiming our government, more specifically President Trump, over not doing enough – fast enough.
        Well, ponder this;
        Covid-19 broke out late last year in Wuhan, China. The W.H.O. was informed in December 2019. They did NOTHING!
        Our government, more specifically – the democrats, were HELL bent on impeaching President Trump until late January or early February 2020! They weren’t interested in this until AFTER their fake impeachment bullshit FAILED!
        It’s only March 27th NOW!
        Take those statistics and timelines in contrast and consideration to what our leaders are doing now. I’d say it’s STILL the democrat leadership, most specifically Nancy Pelosi, who’s stalling to help the American People!

        There’s more, only I’ve made my point well known!

    5. Crazy Elf, thanks for article. I have not read it yet though. I had made a previous commitment wondering why they paused the Mission Act. After further thought, the VA may not have the manning levels to handle both the Coronavirus and the Mission Act at the same time. Afterall, the VA Secretary was signaling for medical professionals in retirement to return to VA employment to help with this virus. Best.

    6. Crazy Elf,
      Yes, I have been aware. The President had started working on this situation in the Fall; but, the Democrats refused to do anything. As matter of fact, back in December the president had offered to send some of our best scientists to assist them. China government had refused the Trump administration. I believe China should be held accountable for the reason of hiding it. Yes, any researcher can make a mistake with having a leakage; but, the fact is China did not choose to correct the situation when we offered to help. This is what I have a problem with. Trump should send them a
      2 Trillion dollar Bill – Amount owed to the US Treasury.

    7. Benjamin, when I speak about running circles around the VA employees. I am not referring to the physicians, nurses, engineers, psychologists, etc. that is the ones who are credible. The ones who honor ethics and their licensure. The ones who are accountable and do their best to serve the veterans.
      I bring this up because I have witnessed some who do not follow any protocol just do whatever they want to do. I have witnessed some who are not informed and some who are negligent. When I speak to straightening up in regards to me, this is about my issues of which I have the facts. Their information may not be correct. Listen Ben, honestly what am I qualified to do? Very little because one needs certifications and degrees and licensure. I do not have anything completed that is up to date. The point is I could be. The VA does not want to hear this. As for my compensation and this goes for other veterans, the restoral of our lives with compensation and other benefits at least to a small degree are deserving. For what I have been through and I am speaking for myself, I am retired from the Navy with being compensated for what happened. I deserve every penny of it. Veterans who were negatively affected while serving in the military should be compensated with the evidence. Military active duty fallen heroes’ families should be compensated.
      However, I can return to work. Maybe if the crap will stop.
      Applying, hope for something substantive.
      Ben, this massive virus bill is unbelievable. Country is going to collapse. Money is going to run out. Heading to Socialism onto Communism. China is now our friend. Ben, are you noticing this now?

    8. See Ben even now the VA has an employment position open for an Information Technology Specialist. I believe it is a GS-7 and above. Not totally sure. I just looked at some of the qualifications. Ben, I could have already been qualified to work for them. But no, they were spending their time trying to take me out or sabotage me. Now do you see this Ben? This is why I am pissed.
      I mean I am irate at the VA.
      About as bad how some are now communicating with the Chinese government with treating them as our friends.
      Republican Congressman Massey is an honorable man. He stood up to the entrenched politicians. Ben, the government is trying to take equity in the private companies. Ben, I am worried. This dangerous. The shit is coming. We have devastation coming our way.

  3. Benjamin, thanks for the information.
    I proved the VA wrong earlier this week. Oops, I had better not speak to loud. This past weekend I went to a company to purchase a can of sea foam for my car. When I was checking out, I asked if the were hiring. Yes, they were hiring. Ten people to keep the products, computers wiped down, guns wiped down, doors wiped down, shelves wiped down to prevent the spread of this virus. Anyway, after I purchased my product, I met with the manager. She hired me on the spir of the moment. Temporary positions for the 10 people. So I worked for this company this past Sunday 12 to 5pm. On my feet for the whole time 10 minute break to drink a mountain dew. Ben, the company conducted a drug test. They tested for PCP, THC, and Opioid. Temporary employment is from one day to less than one month to less than one year. I worked one day to wiped the outer and inner areas of the business. Ben, they had ant poison spilled on their shelves, roofing tar spilled on their shelves, and just a business that has not been kept up to good when it comes to cleaniness. They sell fertilizers, feed, home products, guns, automative products, food, and etc. Some were handling the front areas, loading feed, and helping people with products to their cars. The next day, I went back to the business and spoke to the assistant manager. I said to her that I would not be returning. I told her that I had cleaned up the inner areas and around the guns. Now, some of the areas need to be kept wiped off such as the registers, door handles, soda drink machines where this are lots of human traffic. I thanked the assistant manager for hiring me. I told her unless people who are buying products spill lots right away, there is not much cleaning left to do for those particular areas. In other words, not a 30 day job left. These were just temporary employment positions to help the business with the wiping off surrounding the Coronvirus to prevent more people from getting sick. So I worked for one day and covered lots of territory for the business. She said she was glad to have me for the one day. Yes, she did say this. Getting their work done. Of course, they were not short staffed either which made me wonder about the temporary employment positions. I had decided to look for temporary positions that are heading in the direction of my own career employment interests. So this is why I decided to work for them for one day. Working here offered me more ideas. I did a good job for the business and left on excellent terms. I handled my exit face to face with the assistant manager. Greeted with the closure. Proved I am not on any drugs, have great stamina, handled business relationships appropriately, and proved work ethic. I wanted to break this agenda of everyone saying you have not worked in paid employment. I desire the real substantive career path of my choice. Updated degree and updated everything. I am sick of the government saboteurs. And, not all government employees are saboteurs. I will say the Democrats fit the bill though. See Ben Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation said that I would never work again in paid employment. Wrong. 👍🇺🇸🗽

    1. What this was about is yes, it was a small position; but, important for what has been going on. The main jist was they needed some cleaning up done. Another point that most everyone fails to notice is zero political correctness came into play.
      Of course, many might not have done this temp type job for one day.
      Though, I did not decide not to go back until late that same night.
      Many are employed in physical employment. So it depends on the person and situation. Spoke to the business the next day to close it out.
      Most employment opportunities in Mathematics or IT or Accounting or Economics or Biotechnology or Agricultural/Biological Systems Engineering require status. One cannot just step right in even, though, one could become employed after the appropriate education and training. To do any type of work that is substantial, one has to have this or that and do this or that. See this status. Status galore. To get this done, the person has to be positioned and not having to straighten out other situations elsewhere. Because the person has not reached the completion point does not mean that completion is not feasible. Look at all the barriers. Look at what has happened and what is happening right now. So here is the answer.

      1. In my situation, there has been bullshit at everyturn that added and has been adding barriers to my initial barrier which was the barrier the Navy had established by my having been injured to such a degree that I had to be retired. So since my last hospitalization of 2004, I have been trying to get back in the workforce. Start and stop in school attendance due to events happening outside of the school which were interfering with and are interfering with to include everything from the car accident to VA appointments to VA poor time management to VA nanny dictatorship to temp caregiver for my sister to temp caregiver for my
        mom to temp coordination of the funeral to straightening up for moving medical waste supplies to police station for incineration to physical moving myself to another residence to healing my hand from a cell phone product liability issue to the straightening up of the potential identity fraud situation to correcting companies coming at me with their incorrect information to having limited financial means to pay for education and training for myself to now the Coronavirus and there is probably more than I have left out. So Ben where is the school to return into substantial employment? Do you see these situations? I guess now I pledge allegiance to the nanny country.

      2. I guess Google through me off when I was writing my previous comment.
        I was saying it is hard to accomplish anything when the person is constantly being stepped on. Referring to myself and to others.
        Ben, not my problem. I guess the VA believed my health would worsen. They did the PNT well before 2004.
        2004 was my last hospitalization. However, Ben, there is no way the VA could have determined my status today.
        Even in 2015 when Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation denied me, there is no way they would have had any idea of what I am today. I am referring to what I am handling and have been handling. Ben, in 2014 when I attended an informational interview with UF,
        I could barely process my sentences one on one face to face in a small office.
        Today, I speak and communicate fluently.
        If Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation as in this same counselor who denied me in 2015 would see me today, she would recognize the difference from 2015 until 2020. Like I have mentioned many times, the further improvements in my functioning came about from when I had been tasked with helping my sister at the end of 2015 forward with on to many more happenings.
        2004 forward – My gradual moving forward started inching forward via and from various people in the community plus from my parents being involved and with plus my efforts.
        Less from the VA.
        My path took the turn away from the VA.
        VA laws are enacted based on a 12 year eligibility criteria.
        Ben, this is a problem with the VA programs. Referring to Chapter 31 and GI Bills.
        So you tell me????
        With no real new education and training, I am too much up in age to work myself back up from the bottom.
        But, this is not a factor with the govt. They could careless.
        Even if the person could solve mathematical problems using complex numbers that would be in a job, the govt would still have person pouring coffee for the job.
        In other words, little assistance for someone older to arrive in substantial employment. Govt just leave them pouring coffee.
        To work in the more substantial employment, one has to have appropriate education and training which is costly.
        But govt will take away with leaving them pouring coffee.
        While forgetting the person landed there mostly by government in the first place.
        Giveth and taketh away.
        Reason why best to be in the private sector to begin with in most cases. Start off young and build for lifetime in private sector.
        Serving in military, the building process is divided up. Because whatever the military member does on active duty, once they leave starting over in the private sector has to happen.
        The moving forward process gets halted and takes a turn which can eliminate upward mobility. See my points Ben. Yes valuable training, work experience, and character building involved when serving in the military.
        The problem is and it points to status as when whomever is becoming a part of an institution or company the person has to adapt to the culture of the company and the institution in the private sector.
        In comparing the military veteran to someone having never served in the military, in many cases the person who has not served in the military has the leg up.
        For this reason alone, the person who is able to build and build even if changing jobs or new career fields, the forward and upward mobility continues in the private sector. I am referring to say someone having a PhD working in research or an entrepreneur or a career that takes years to build up. Anything worthwhile does not happen over night.
        Whereas the military veteran encounters a more drastic change to the forward and upward mobility process due to the military not being compatible with the private sector.
        Two different worlds.
        Tired of talking. Who cares.

      3. I put it out there as in the happenings. Not of interest.
        But the awakening is about to happen. I am almost sure the VA / VBA / Mr. Streitberger would like for me to come for them so they can try to deny me again while I run circles around them. Yes I could pursue them. What do I have to lose? Zilch.
        Already had lost lots, only to gain if I am headed to the world of the substantial workforce.

    2. I am not reapplying for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation at all. I will make it happen myself. Thanks Ben though for your professionalism and expertise.

      1. I have to come back to comment on this statement. Here is the deal. In my situation, this will entail being evaluated to eternity due to how I was and due to my rating due to their laws Ben.
        Even recently when I had went into the VA to take the signed form regarding the records, I had stopped by the MHC to say hello to them. This was around 4 to 5 months ago. The psych at that time had mentioned then I would have to come back under his care for anything to happen that would involve the VA such as BAER Scholarship, Voc Rehab, or whatever that pertains to school to employment or to employment. Ben, this is a problem. A big problem with this system. Back under VA Chapter 31 Extended Evaluation when I am straightening out and following up to redirect and to correct the job performance of people out here that could have negatively impacted me and others in my near circle.
        For them to decide when I may can run circles around many of them. Ben, the system is designed for the one size fits all. It is not designed for veterans to return to work in later age. It has been designed for veterans to plan for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and end of life issues. Ben, I no longer fit their system. I had decided to continue the path myself because they would take forever to approve anything.
        Do you see this? I do not necessarily want the funding. I honestly don’t. I would like to be able to do it myself. Ben, the system is in the way. After I do it and then go back to apply for reimbursement from Voc Rehab.
        The issue with this is the VA has thwarted this path too. This is what I have mentioned before. So Ben you tell me??? Both ways the bureaucracy holds it up. This is what I have run into. Companies are hiring right now even with the Corona virus situation; but, with limited hours. I have a couple that I am seeing about today. Ben, I did not grow the federal government. I am not in the position to improve anything pertaining to the VA / federal government. Out of my realm. So I just leave. All I know to do unless I get the president involved. Even these actions will not change this system. So here you have it.

      2. Ultimately, from my experience in the last 11 years, I have not witnessed the VA in line for wanting veterans to improve particularly for the purpose of returning the workforce. 2015 on back to 2009.
        Maybe the case now for all I know even with the current VA Secretary presiding.
        Though, the VA seems to have improved in some areas but today I do not have first hand involvement with them.
        Thus, the jist of my post is the VA links to the intentions and actions of the Democratic party.
        And not towards school to work to individuality to self reliance.
        As a matter of fact, most of the DC rats and the media love the economy being shutdown.👎
        They love American citizens being shutdown with limited rights.
        They need a taste of their own medicine. I would not put it past many in the VA to be jumping for joy with many of the American citizens being shutdown.
        Because I bet many do not like the President even after the unlimited efforts he has delivered to try to improve all. Just do what I can do.

  4. On another note:

    Of course, everyone doesn’t need testing! Read…..

    1. Ben,
      I was inspired by your youtube video and reapplied for Voc Rehab benefits to get my MSW. You were so right about needing to be informed before going to the first counseling appointment. I felt like a deer in the headlights and got railroaded on my request for graduate degree program. I sat there like an idiot listening to a guidance counselor telling me I did not qualify because I was part time worker at the VA.
      Not going to happen this time. Thanks for the M28R download.

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