GI Bill Voc Rehab Overhaul

Will New Layer Of Bureaucracy Fix GI Bill, Voc Rehab?

The GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and other education and employment benefits may get a major overhaul should new proposed legislation pass.

Earlier this week, bi-partisan lawmakers revived an old push to peal out the education and employment benefits cash cows from Veterans Benefits Administration. Over the years, finance wizards have moved discretionary funds necessary to administer GI Bill, for example, a practice now credited with the recent Forever GI Bill software flop.

Over a hundred thousand veterans had their GI Bill payments delayed or erroneously adjudicated when a software glitch triggered processing errors. The agency promised to have the software ready by last October, but various mistakes forced delays and errors.

Lawmakers now justify the new legislation using the GI Bill example where the agency lacked direct political oversight of the GI Bill.

The new system would be the fourth administration focused on education and employment activities. The legislative shift passed the House committee last year but went nowhere in the Senate.

Lack Of Attention

The shift is believed to improve services for veterans in transition by resolving the “lack of attention” that failed the agency’s Vocational Rehabilitation, GI Bill and Home Loan benefits programs.

“By aligning transition, education, and employment programs in a fourth administration within VA, we will ensure that these opportunity-focused programs get the high priority they deserve, and the oversight they need to better serve veterans,” House bill sponsor Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said in a statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL supports the legislation saying it would “modernize the outdated structure of the VA and provide more direct oversight and accountability over existing programs aimed at helping our veterans lead economically prosperous lives post-service.”

It is presently supported by Student Veterans of America, Disabled Veterans of America, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans Education Success.

Insider Feedback

I have been talking with insiders about the creation of a fourth administration for years and fully support the move. Officials inside Veterans Benefits Administration have made a habit of moving funds dedicated to education programs into disability claims system upgrades like the electronic claims system.

The theory behind creating the new administration is that added focus from the President directly through the appointee would increase accountability.

However, many of the old leaders of the agency reject the idea and believe that an additional layer of bureaucracy is not needed. Though, the current system clearly subordinates all educational benefits programs to the needs of the Disability Compensation system and the needs of the contractor propping it up.

But what do you think? Will adding another layer of bureaucracy is the big fix or will it create more problems?

I Would Help Out

I would definitely throw my hat in the ring to help form the new administration if asked should the new legislation pass, though I will not hold my breath on being asked to help with much of anything.

For the past decade, since I’ve been writing about the Veterans Benefits Administration, one thing has remained constant – – and that one thing is a lack of appropriate funding for Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment.

Even though that benefits program is far superior to the GI Bill for disabled veterans, it still lacks the funding and staffing to make it perform the way the People intended through the laws of Congress.

For the past decade, the number of applicants to Voc Rehab has increased by more than double from around 70,000 to 180,000 disabled veterans.

Meanwhile, the number of veterans approved for program benefits remains static at around 30,000 with program graduates coming in around 12,000 per year.

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  1. Well…hmmm

    This is the kind of thing that starts out great—the first wave folks are really motivated, Congress pays attention, and (normally) the President actually takes an interest, however briefly.

    Then, the Bureaucrat pounce, and the thing becomes just another property in the game of Bureaucratic Monopoly. So for Vets right now, it’s great. For Vets 15-25 years from now (or maybe not that long, given it is only a Department and not a full agency), not so good.

    The question overall, then, is how much worse can it be? Not from a out-of-the-norm sense, but from a “how it really works now” case to how it would likely work then case.

    I’m not eligible for VocRehab, so I don’t know what it’s like. Given the VA’s adversarial culture, my guess would be it can’t actually get any worse, just differently worse.

  2. Another level of administration is the fix? Four ? That these folks proposed this is no surprise. They have no idea how to get and hold a real job.

  3. Even after being accepted into Voc Rehab there is no guarantee that the counselor you get assigned to is going to do their job. I got a counselor who spent the entire appointment each time I saw them bitching about the caseload. They never returned calls or emails and I ended up flunking out because I was unable to get the help I needed either from them or the college I was enrolled in. I want to work but must find a job that (unlike my current position) doesn’t aggravate my disability. It boggles my mind that someone who wants to contribute is so completely ignored. (Yes, I am relatively new to the system and rather naive I guess.)

  4. I was just told that I was to sick too for the program. And my bring in a homeless situation and living out of this Motel/Studio rooms. But, I once was in the very same type of program with social security disability in, New York State. And after a few years they would ask me to let them take over my caseload. I did graduate from college and I was asked again if I wanted their help in getting a job in the field of my educational degree and skills…. I waited for about four full months and never heard a word from those people in that department…. I drove to Manhattan, where the VARO, is located. And I was told that I was too sick for a tollbooth collector clerks job…

    My college degree is in the fields of computer science forensics and access control, sims cards, microwave, bio detection, and facial recognition software. Plus I took the buildings fire safty course which puts me in a six figure starting range of salary. For people with security detail skills and access control experience, like guard duty stations for nuclear weapons facilities, teller communications, and, NBC/NCOIC, 54E40/30 skills…. That was back in 2003, after I graduated from, SUNY college at Farmingdale, Long island, New York….

    I was sick too back then and when I first joined the Army in 1969…. But as a seventeen year old kid, I kepted up with you healthy grown men and women…..

  5. The new layer just makes more jobs and pay raises available to VA Employees- it probably does nothing for Veterans and will most likely be hyped by the VA as the new fix but we know it’s the new fix for old alcoholic addicts who work for the VA.

  6. Sadly, the fact that veterans work on don’t work at the VA makes little or no difference. The mafia style politics that goes on on that organization is more dyfunctional and deficient than anything that I have ever seen. The leadership in this organization is inadequate, uneducated, inexperienced and ignorant. The only purpose in their lives is to draw a paycheck and climb up the ladder. I understand what nepotism is now that I have worked in a VA hospital for 6 months. That’s all I could take. The best thing that could happen is to get rid of that burocratic beast and pay the private sector the money to run any of those programs including the healthcare piece. VA healthcare is the most backward that I have ever experienced. Inclusive of technology, cleanliness and quality. I don’t even want to write about voc rehab in Broward County Fl. They treat the vets like animals, I used that service 15 years ago and it was better run then with contractor s that what it is now.

    1. Maria,
      I’m not trying to be rude, only – it took you six months to figure out how corrupt the VA is? Where it usually only takes most people anywhere from a week to ten days to find out there’s definitely something wrong in the VA!

    2. P.S.
      I’m also in Florida. Started going to Lake Baldwin around 20 years ago. It was a clusterf**k then. Just like Lake Nona is today.
      If you’ve been keeping up with Ben’s Blog’s, you would have read comments from me and my wife on how corrupt VA is!
      Now, that being said. When that Lake Baldwin Hospital belonged to the Navy – it was a 1,000 times better.
      I know because I was stationed at that Navy base numerous times. AND was treated much better than at any clinic or hospital the VA runs!
      The only other clinic I believe was any good was over in Honolulu, Hawaii back in the ’80’s. Of course, from reading comments from other vets on that – I’ve read where its turned to crap also.

  7. Since when has the VA followed laws Congress passed and a potus has signed! Too many times we have seen VA management say ‘fuck you’ to the men and women they are supposed to “serve”!

    How about having an outside investigator do a thorough audit. Let’s find out where the taxpayers monies are actually going before VA receives anymore!

    Yeah, I’m on a real high rant this morning.

    1. Crazy Elf, YOU are 100% Correct. A COMPUTER could do the JOB better then these folks. And what they do by getting outside contractors is to clog up the whole system. THESE contractors don’t give a CRAP about the people who they serve.

      In Oakland, for the First time in my life, I experienced Racism due to me being asian and Misandry from the Female staff that is Quite common in that office. And when there is a PROBLEM? Why is it that you can never contact the CONTRACTOR? I would LOVE to know that? Heck, they don’t even let you know about the Contracting job Either! I would love to know more about that too!

      The Entire system is NOT made to HELP vets get employed. Ask for Employment services, and they never offer them. I AM NOT KIDDING! Maybe its only for WOMEN or people they want in.

      And what about a SIMPLE trade JOB like Electrician? How come they have NO INFO on that? Guys, I would LOVE to see the VA put MEN to WORK. But right now, I can tell you Squalry, they work with the STATE most of the time to make sure VETS do not get placements in Jobs.

      In fact, speaking about funds being misused, Oregon Department of Veterans has all these Veterans Probation officers right? Well NONE of them are VETERANS in Multnomah county in Portland. And in fact, they serve to funnel funds in to the Domestic Violence court system? How is that Possible? THere is a Woman named Marry that works there. When I started doing my investigation, the ODAV office here in DOwntown was VERY combative about the Fraud of funds. In fact, in the entire ODAV system, I have YET to see a ACTUAL VETERAN WORK THERE. That’s ODD?

      And this gets worse for Preferential job placement. The ENTIRE system is Broken. Or Rigged. Many of us MGTOW guys have been talking to each other, and we all have had the same experience. Heck, if you want to file a complaint, their is no office to talk to. Not even an email. But they do have an address I guess. But I guess you as an end user are not suppose ot contact them.

      And the VRT system is being FAST taken over as it was TO GOOD to begin with. Actually putting Men in JOBS FIELDS. I have been in this system since 2008, and I still can’t wrap my head around just how much back end things go on. If it was not for some Hidden satellite offices in Sacramento, I would have NEVER been able to get back on track. And when I did, I am NOT KIDDING. My “counselor” was in touch with a Probation officer in Oregon trying to get me BACK there so I could not go back to my program. Man, I really need to Hire Benjamin so he can represent me one day. I don’t care about the costs anymore. I don’t ever want the Personal at the VA to get away what they did to me and so many other veterans.

  8. Hopefully this will provide less opportunity for inside embezzlers to shift fund applications and steal GI Bill checks.

      1. I always write to my Congressman and copy the Director of the VA. Soon after my complaint about the probable embezzlement going on in the Black Hills Travel Office my suggestion of putting the travel on the check in Kyosk was accomplished in the Black Hills Facilities. Now I get the same amount every time except when the $6.00 deductible reaches its max for a particular month. The money comes via my direct deposit so I don’t have to deal with checks and the possibility of the check being picked up out of my mail box and cashed at a “Check Cashing” facility with a false ID.

        This was my direct suggestion and it has come to pass. Even in Cheyenne where I still have to fill out the form the only payment is by check and direct deposit so audit of the travel office prevents any embezzlement of cash.

        So sometimes complaints and suggestions to resolve get action.

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