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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been working the VA for VocRehab. I'm trying to get them to foot the tab for college. VR is a much better deal than the GI Bill in that it pays 100% of all school/training related costs plus a stipend to suplement income during training/school.

Kicker is you have to have a 30% or higher disability rating. I'm sitting @ 60% so I'm GTG.

VA is dragging their feet and farmed (subcontracted) out the interview and testing to Concentra, a private organization. I was told I'd have an answer on funding before the new year. Classes begin in 4 days.

Anyone got experience with VocRehab, and how to spur the VA into getting the lead out of their back pocket?

I got out of the Corps in July of 03, and it wasn't until August of 04 that my disability came through. Granted, I got the mother of all back paychecks, but it still would have come in handy over the course of the previous year. I had to sick the American Legion on the VA to get my disability pushed through. This after hearing a lot of pillow talk from the VA rep about the first rate treatment and prioroity given to returning Iraq/Afghan vets.
 

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I think I'd be a thorn in their side for the next 4 days.... There's no reason that you should have to wait down to the wire. Keep us informed....hopefully someone will chime in hear with some better suggestions.
 

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If there is an on-campus VA rep at the school you are going to, I'd sure want to stay in close contact with him/her. Our Vet rep has been able to expedite things for our vets returning to school pretty effectively.

HTH

db
 

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Nope, no VA rep. Which is surprising considering the number of Reservists and Guardsmen in the area.

Looks like I'm gonna have to wait until Summer session unless I can crash a course or two a week in....if I hear in time.

I called the Detroit office and got passed off from person to person for about 45 minutes before I got frusterated enough to hang up. I was basically left with no contact. The "VA Rep" who conducted my interview was not a VA employee. He worked for Concentra. The VA farmed out the interview and testing for myself and another Vet that day to a private firm. He left me with no contact, no one to call to follow up. I've called him to see what was going on, and he said he had no clue that since he forwarded the info to the VA, he had washed his hands of it.
 

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Some of the folks have called on their state and federal reps and senators for help. I know that it's been pretty effective but I doubt you'll make too many friends at the VA.

I look at this way - you EARNED those benefits. They are not a handout and you should be treated with the respect and dignity your service to our country owes all vets.

db
 

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Had to register to answer in on this subject. I applied for and recieved Voc rehab from VA. I ended up applying in NY State, yet was unable to use it there due to having to relocate. The biggest factor that was looked at was if I had any other college fund programs available to me such as the college fund. As I did not, there was no hurdle there. I was 40% at the time, so the rating % was a non-issue. After my relocation, I applied for school and rehab benefits at the same time. I was told I would be approved, and that payments would just be delayed. I believe at this point both having the previous application and paperwork done back in NY was a help, as well as then being in a state with a smaller population, and thus a smaller workload on VA.
You are likely just in the initial approval stage at this time, so be patient, and do not be suprised if you are denied if you have the college fund availble. Go ahead and use it first, and while you are doing that, apply for state level voc rehab. You will go through all the fun testing your state has to verify any disabilities, but if approved, you can get state funded assistance as well.
I did just that and used the state funds to provide transportation expenses. If you have to commute at all, it will be a grand help.
I do not know what the current stipend is from VA, but it is not 12 months solid, it ends in the summer, unless you are going to summer classes (good thing in the first couple of years to help get the dull, boring general classes out of the way). Look to working in the last 1 or 2 summers at intern positions and such, they can be worth credits, and experience to put on a resume.
Also, you are a top hire priority for Govt Positions. Shop on USAJOBS for student career positions. You get a good paycheck, a shoe in the door (pretty much a garanteed FTP position), and more education credit.
Having the VA pay for the books, fees, and tuition, plus the stipend on top of your disability check makes going to school a lot less stressful, and I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply and pursue. Just bear in mind it takes several months to get approved, and your financial status can be a disaproval point, ie: college fund availble, income exceeding the allowable amounts they have set. Due to the large numbers of Vets applying for benefits, (hell even my father finally applied for benefits, and he is a Korean era vet) the system, wich is outdated and understaffed, is getting behind again, like it was in the early 90s. Give it 6 months, then start hollering at the regional office (or network, depending on were you are physically in this wonderful system) staffs. If they cannot give good answers within a 2 week time frame, then call your congressional representative and ask for their assistance (been there done that, that is why I am giving these time frames). Be a little 'overwelmed' when talking to your congresional reps, they seem to work on your situation a bit better
The Va is no great friend of mine at this point, but the Voc rehab was definately worth it.
And do not forge to apply to your state vocational rehab offices too. The worst they can do is say no, and that is really unlikely given the expense involved in college at the moment.
For any more information, you can e-mail me at:
Robert
[email protected]
 
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Give your Congressman a call.If he(she) is worth his weight in salt, he'll help.If he does'nt then give your newspaper a call.The paper might be interested in doing an interview with you and of course mention your congressman by name. DI2
 

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I went from 30 to 50 to 70% without any problems,I didn't say quickly.Was in voc/rehab until I had to quit over family problems,my mother's health.You HAVE to have someone working FOR and WITH you to smooth the bumps out as they come.I highly recommend the Vet Centers along with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.The people at these places I encountered are the best.If for some reason you are not eligible,just call them and talk about what's going on with the V.A. Free advice is good especially when it's correct
 

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The DAV will also go to bat for you
 

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I obtained my bachelor's degree through Vocational Rehab and didn't have any problems getting it, but we had a decent VA Rep at the university at the time. Ended up unable to use the degree due to being declared unemployable. It did end up providing my sons with Chapter 35 benefits. Elder son did not use it, but my younger son will be finishing his degree next year.

Off topic but, Chapter 35 benefits are super for dependent children and expire on their 26th birthday.
 

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creasy said:
The DAV will also go to bat for you
+1 on DAV. They will give you free assistance. They took care of my disability papers. I went through Voc Rehab. I picked IT training. It took me about 9 months to finish. VA paid for my tuition & I think they even gave me monthly allowance. If I can remember right, you have to tell them why you cannot do your previous job & that the course you are planning to take matches your capabilities. You have to pick an approved school for the course you have chosen. After I completed all the requirements, approval did not really take too long.
Good luck on your Voc Rehab application. Hope you get it approved soon.
 
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