Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Most veterans are not eligible for Catch 22 rehabilitation services

The Major has a big claim against the the VA and the Appeals Management Center (AMC) suggested that he apply for rehabilitation services. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Vet Success Program is authorized by Congress under Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 31.

However, there is a Catch 22.  Many veterans join the Armed Services to use the GI Bill to get a college education after they separate from their service. Under the Montgomery GI bill, you have 10 years to use you GI educational benefits or you lose them. The new GI bill gives you a 15 year window. The rules for active duty and reservists are somewhat different. Most Veterans will use up most of their VA benefits while they are working on a four year bachelors degree.

Different VA bills (click to enlarge)

The VA is saying that a veterans who used up their VA benefits, regardless of whether they used the older or newer GI bill, will not be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Vet Success Program.

The one exception is if the veteran is 100 per cent disabled. Only 8.4 per cent of veterans who file claims with the VA are 100 per cent disabled and the VA tries to downgrade these veterans when Republican administrations are in power.

One of the Bush VA secretaries resigned when a veteran who had traumatic brain injury from combat was downgraded from 100 per cent disabled to sixty per cent.

Rightardia recently reported that the Bush administration ordered a complete review of all past VA claims in 2005, particularly those claims that vets had that were rated or 50 per cent or more. See

If the Republicans understood the VA clams process better, they would know such reviews are unnecessary. Claims go through the VA medical centers, the VA Regional Offices, the Appeals Management Center and the Board of Veterans Affairs. Claims often take an incredible four or five years to resolve.

The bottom line is that if you become disabled at age 40 or 50, it is unlikely that the VA offer you any rehabilitation assistance. Rightardia recommends you apply for rehabilitation with the state and not the VA.

Incredulously, the VA will consider you 'auto-magically' rehabilitated if you used you VA benefits to get a college degree after you separated from the Armed Services no matter how many years later you apply for rehabilitation benefits.

It is a strange, strange world the VA lives in.

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