YouTube: GI Bill vs VA Vocational Rehabilitation, Which Is Better In 2018?

This is the age-old question for disabled veterans, the GI Bill vs VA Vocational Rehabilitation, where the answer tends to change every few years. Here is the answer for 2018.

Veterans in our group, Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab, were pressed by Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors to use up their GI Bill prior to receiving benefits from VA Voc Rehab. So, the question was raised as to whether the requirement was true and whether the GI Bill is better than VA Vocational Rehabilitation, to begin with.

Each week we hold “Office Hours” on in the Facebook group using Facebook Live on Friday. Yesterday, we held the session and talked about the pressure some veterans are receiving to opt out of Vocational Rehabilitation in favor of the GI Bill.

This is a huge mistake, and the demand by counselors is illegal and unethical. Basically, these counselors are pressuring veterans to give up benefits to which they have a right. he counselors know or should know that their actions are illegal.

RELATED: What Is VA Vocational Rehabilitation, Anyway?

Yet, this kind of scenario has played out for years where counselors pressure veterans to make decisions that are not in the veteran’s best interest. A real tragedy.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the difference. The video contains much more information, so be sure to watch it when you have time.

RELATED: Quick Facts On VA Vocational Rehabilitation

VA Education Benefits Generally

Regardless of the benefits you use, veterans are generally limited to only 48 months of education benefits regardless of the combination. This means, if you use the GI Bill and VA Voc Rehab, you can only use a TOTAL of 48 months of any combination.

The operative word here to focus on is “generally” limited.

Some disabled veterans with more severe or complicated service-connected disabilities will be deemed to have a Serious Employment Handicap by VA Voc Rehab. This means it is harder for them to gain suitable employment than other veterans on account of their disabilities.

Veterans with a Serious Employment Handicap are eligible for the 48-month cap to be lifted. For example, when I went through VA Voc Rehab the first time, I had a 20 percent disability rating and was deemed to only have an Employment Handicap. This means I could only use 48 months of benefits. Years later, my disability rating increased to 40 percent, and I was deemed to have a Serious Employment Handicap and approved for additional training to become a lawyer. My total months of approved education benefits was over 80 months as a result. That is how it works.

Additionally, veterans with a Serious Employment Handicap are also not subject to the 12 years limitation of using VA Voc Rehab.

Post 9/11 GI Bill

Again, generally speaking, the GI Bill is limited to 36 months. The veteran can study practically anything they want to include degree types or career paths that would not be approved by VA.

For example, if you wanted to study Religion to become a Buddhist, that might be a goal VA Voc Rehab would not approve.

You can also receive a large subsistence payment that is higher than the standard subsistence payment formerly allowed by Voc Rehab. However, VA Voc Rehab allows veterans with Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement to opt for the higher subsistence payment while using VA Voc Rehab. It is a very sweet benefit.

There may also exist some forms of tuition waiver or scholarships for veterans using the GI Bill.

RELATED: The Five Training Tracks Of VA Voc Rehab

VA Voc Rehab Wins

In my mind, VA Voc Rehab wins out over the GI Bill for most veterans because it covers tuition, pays a stipend, and covers associated fees and funding for reasonable accommodations.

Overall, the number of months a veteran can use under VA Voc Rehab is 48 months, period. And, so long as you sign up for VA Voc Rehab before your Post 9/11 GI Bill is used up, you can receive the subsistence payment the entire duration of your training.


You could receive the equivalent of your GI Bill subsistence payment for the entire duration of your training. For some veterans, this could be longer than 48 months.

Veterans in the highest cost of living locations in the nation would receive, in the above scenario, $48,000 per year for four years. THAT IS AWESOME.

The program also covers your entire tuition. If you are approved for training at a private university like my alma mater Northwestern University, you would also receive coverage of $52,000 in tuition for four years. Again, that is awesome.

Of course, most veterans would not be approved for a private education, but this hypothetical is used to evaluate what the maximum benefit could be for some veterans.

There are a variety of other issues to consider, but for most veterans, opting to use VA Voc Rehab over the GI Bill is the better option almost every time.

Now, if you want to become an expert basket weaver, then maybe the GI Bill is the way for you. Seriously though, for some veterans seeking training to become pilots, using the GI Bill may be the only option unless they already possess the private pilots license.

RELATED: The Voc Rehab Survival Guide For Veterans

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  1. After reading an article on Marijuana in the Canadian Health Care System. I have to ask does the AFGEs medical programs cover the cost of marijuana for AFGE Members?

    Does the health insurance provide to Representatives and Senators cover their expenses for medical programs involved with marijuana?


    Medical marijuana patients say market must remain distinct from recreational
    Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
    Published Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Full Article At:

  2. Those Secret Wait List all over again at the VA—

    56 vets were on ‘secret’ waitlist for eye care at Norfolk VA clinic

    By Steve Liewer
    World-Herald staff writer
    21 hrs ago

    “Veterans Affairs employees in Norfolk, Nebraska, were trying to “do the right thing” when they jotted down the names and phone numbers of veterans interested in a new type of eye exam.

    But the employees’ use of an unauthorized waiting list violated Department of Veterans Affairs rules and led to disciplinary action against several employees at a Norfolk VA medical clinic.

    Don Burman, director of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, said he received an anonymous tip in early November about a “secret” waiting list for a new program, called technology-based eye care services. Within days, VA investigators from outside the clinic found a folder with names and addresses of 56 veterans seeking the care in a locked drawer at the Norfolk Community-Based Outreach Clinic.

    Burman would not say how many employees were disciplined or what punishments they received. He said 19 clinic employees were retrained in the use of the VA’s official electronic waiting list.”

    Full Article At:


    Iowa senators pledge to hold VA accountable after waitlist revelations

    By Joseph Morton
    World-Herald Bureau
    Dec 6, 2017

    “WASHINGTON — Both of Iowa’s U.S. senators said Tuesday that they were recently assured by the Trump administration it will hold accountable individuals responsible for unauthorized waiting lists at the Omaha VA facility.

    Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, issued a joint statement after meeting with Tom Bowman, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    “The VA has pledged to provide documentation on the disciplinary action taken against each of the culpable employees,” the senators said. “The VA has also committed to issuing further guidance to make it absolutely clear that unofficial waitlists are not permissible. We will continue to hold the VA accountable and ensure they follow through on these commitments.”

    The senators said last month that they wanted more information from the VA after The World-Herald reported that problems with unauthorized wait lists at the Omaha facility went back to 2006.”

    Full Article At:


    Secret waitlist delayed care for 87 veterans at VA hospital in Omaha, led to departure of 2 employees
    By Steve Liewer and Joseph Morton
    World-Herald staff writers
    Oct 31, 2017

    “An unauthorized waiting list for psychotherapy appointments at Omaha’s VA hospital delayed care for 87 veterans this year and led to the departures of two employees, Department of Veterans Affairs officials said Friday.

    Letters addressed to Iowa Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse — all Republicans — blamed the unauthorized list on “training deficiencies” involving the hospital’s medical support assistants, who were said to be improperly managing the VA’s electronic waiting list following rules changes in 2016.

    “The management of these psychotherapy referrals during the spring 2017 time frame was handled poorly and did not meet the standards of our VA Health Care System,” said an unsigned response to questions posed by Sasse.

    Separate letters from VA Secretary David Shulkin to the three senators said the affected veterans did receive other types of treatment while their names were on the list, including substance-abuse treatment, inpatient treatment and counseling through primary care or Veteran’s Center clinics.”

    Full Article At:


    Of course the VA is learning to claim they were not bad wait list but instead they were the good kind of wait list to ensure Veterans get the care the VA feels they deserve. Wouldn’t want any employees missing out on Bonuses when they have good wait list to use.

  3. I am currently paying out of pocket to complete undergrad prerequisite courses for a PA Program in the Spring 2018 semester. I have applied to begin using Ch 33 benefits this summer through next year of undergrad benefits and follow-on PA school. I have not yet applied for Voc Rehab. Is it possible to apply for benefits to cover the current semester I paid for out of pocket and to switch up to Ch 31 beginning this May in lieu of the Ch 33 benefits I’ve asked for?

  4. Your service to the needs of vets in all areas of VA has earned the respect of thousands of veterans inclucing myself Ben Krause, American Veteran.

    While you are helping American Veterans solve problems I noted in Roseburgs VAMC newsletter called The Relay, October 2017 that they too note problems they are working HARD to solve for veterans. This and this alone MUST be why the government just sent an ENTIRE new leadership to Roseburg;

    “Interior Design (Title)
    RVAHCS has not had an interior designer on station for a while, but they would be responsible for the interior aesthetics of our buildings, to include way finding and signage.”

    It is good to know that VA is working as hard as you are to solve the systemic problems at VA.

    P.S. Does Voc Rehab pay for interior design training? This could be big…

    1. Also from that same pub the advice to VA employees front page;

      “The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” — Anthony Robbins

      I would of course ammend that to;
      “The only limit to your impact is the Constitution.” — Dennis Parker

      But of course I look at power from the pissed on perspective and not so much the pisser’s point of view.

      1. I think I would be especially good with wayfinding and signage. Of course any input from Brother Nesler would be welcome for signage and as far as wayfinding? Damn Easy!

        It is a tech solution. Cameras would monitor incoming patients and for each five feet closer to any VA provider an ominous booming voice would say, “Go back! Gooooo Baaaaaack!” then the last ten feet to a VA doctors exam room we would have shock floors installed and always on. These measures would allow a veteran to find his way to the best possible care, and we all want that right?

        Plus I think we need to install a coin operated lock on the main entrance doors to Roseburg VAMC like the ones in New York City where ya gotta pay if you want the potty door to open. This could fund the Directors yearly bonus and of course the interior designers too.

        I call it thinking outside the box.

  5. In your story you mentioned words like unethical and illegal , for a second I thought you were talking about the VA I’ve always wondered how much taxpayers money goes into discussions about the same issues year after year after…. Our Government has gone nuts. I have no clue as to what an oversight committee does, but watch? All we can do is take the next four years and get out and vote every fucking time. Preferably for strangers, neighbors, and Veterans. Perhaps a few ex cons.

  6. From the VAOIG

    Title: Review of Excessive Procurement Costs at VHA’s Rural Outreach Clinic in Laughlin, Nevada

    Issue Date: 2/8/2018
    City/State: Laughlin, NV

    “At the request of former United States Senator Harry Reid, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed allegations of excessive rent and remodeling costs, lack of radiology services, and inadequate handicap accessibility at the Master Chief Petty Officer Jesse Dean VA Clinic (clinic), which provides primary care to approximately 1,372 veterans in and around Laughlin, Nevada.

    The OIG found that VA paid excessive lease costs for the clinic when it awarded a 10-year contract at a rate higher than the established fair rental value (FRV). Additionally, VA paid for shell improvement costs for the clinic, which were the lessor’s responsibility. The contract file had no documents to explain or justify the lease’s higher rate, nor was there evidence of any reviews having occurred prior to awarding the lease. As a result, VA may pay as much as 41 percent above FRV over the 10-year lease.”

    Summary At:

    Full Report At:


    The address for the clinic is 3650 S Pointe, Laughlin, NV 89029. While viewing the Clinic using Google Maps Street View. There is zero indication that it is in anyway a VA Clinic.

    Although it is rather large and clearly bran new the signs only indicate that it is the new Laughlin Professional Plaza at 3650 S Pointe, Laughlin, NV 89029.

    Given the Clinic is claimed to provides primary care to approximately 1,372 veterans in and around Laughlin, Nevada. Clearly a totally bogus operation currently being run by the VA.

    1. After reading the full report and noting that Senator Reid contacted the VAIG’s Office back in 2015 and this report is only now being released. I did some digging and will post what I found in the future. You are not going to believe just how corrupt things are at the VA right now.

      It would be comical given the poor planning of the VA con-game going on by Harry Reid, the American Legion and the Veterans Administration if it wasn’t so fricken illegal. Oh and the American Legion is strait up Organized Crime period.

      But for right now here are link to a photo of the business district for Laughlin, whose population is just over 7,300 people, and a link to a recent article on the services offered at the VA’s MaxHeadRoom video health care system in Laughlin NV. It is well worth reading the comments by Vets who have commented on the MaxHeadRoom System.

      VA clinic expands services
      By JENNIFER DENEVAN Laughlin Nevada Times
      Oct 12, 2017

      Full Article At:

      Photo of the Laughlin Business District

      If you view the picture. The answer to your first question is yes those are all Luxury Resort Casinos. As for your next question. Yes the American Legion does have a Casino in Laughlin Nevada.

      All those Casinos to support the Gambling habits of a small town with only 7,300 people living their. Not to mention their own MaxHeadRoom VA Clinic.

  7. Ben, is that the GI Bill? Or in VA terms Villain? (Vill)?? j/k long week bro!
    Working on Saturday, 3 blogs on th &fri.
    Take a few off, VA will still suck tomorrow!

    1. Lol, thanks for the heads up! I posted that video at around 2 AM. V is for villain, and that was clearly a Freudian slip after this week…

      1. Benjamin,
        Great informational video. Ben, you are always on top the issues in which I very much appreciate. You may some what be aware of my situation or you deal with so many veterans that you may not. However, the point that I am getting to is I need some serious advice and / or assistance. If I could contact you, it certainly would be most appreciated. Thanks.

  8. I cant honestly tell you. When I got out of the military I tried to use my GI bill to go to college and sadly they actually sent me the money for the college, a good six weeks AFTER I had to drop out because of lack of money. Seems you have to actually be enrolled in College before they will consider you to get this benefit, but then they take forever and a day to get you the money to pay for your college that most Vets just give up and quit as they cant pay the extremely high prices of College and feed their families (most community colleges start at 100 to 200 per hour and universities go higher then that)

    1. That makes no sense, them sending you the money to cover the tuition for the school. I dont believe that would be in the benefit of anyone sending a Veteran thousands of dollars and expect them to pay the tuition. When did this happen?

      1. I never said VA sends a check directly to the veteran for the cost of their tuition. That would be illegal and absurd. The veteran does receive a subsistence payment directly and the also receive the education after VRE pays that tuition bill TO THE SCHOOL.

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