Many Disabled Veterans Denied VA Educational Benefits

Post date: Apr 9, 2011 4:51:40 AM

Courtesy of Veterans Today

Are you a disabled veteran who would love the opportunity to become “rehabilitated” utilizing the infamous VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program?

If the answer is ”yes”, let’s hope you fair better than the majority of disabled veterans who are being denied the educational benefits that is being “supposedly” offered by the program.

Many veterans who are discharged from active duty, and are diagnosed with a service-connected disability typically learn about VA Vocational Rehabilitation from a Veterans Benefits Counselor.

However, learning about the program does not necessarily mean that the VA will provide the necessary benefits that have been promised to disabled veterans. The services that the VA promises under the vocational rehabilitation program include:

  • Comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine abilities, skills, interests, and needs
  • Vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning
  • Employment services such as job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance
  • Assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives
  • On the Job Training (OJT), apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
  • Post-secondary training at a college, vocational, technical or business school
  • Supportive rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and referral
  • Independent living services

However, disabled veterans throughout the country, especially in South Florida are finding it extremely difficult to qualify for the benefits whether they are service-connected with 10% or 90%. The eligibility requirements for disabled veterans to receive VR&E services are:

  • Have received, or will receive, a discharge that is other than dishonorable
  • Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10%
  • Submit a completed application for VR&E services

But the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are using policy as their reasoning for not helping disabled veterans. Many of the disabled veterans that have been questioned about their inability to receive the education benefits promised under the program, stated that they have been told by VA Counselors that they need to find jobs and prove that they can work before they can qualify.

The disabled veteran is then given a brief period of a couple months to find the job without the Vocational Rehabilitation Program assistance, or be denied any benefits that the program offers. One counselor went as far as to counsel a disabled veteran to borrow a Sallie Mae educational loan in the amount of $40,000, and promise that the Vocational Rehabilitation will reimburse the loan company.

As you have probably already guessed, the loan company is now receiving payments from the veteran’s disability checks because VA refuses to pay back the loan company. The veteran stated that she has to make the payments because there were two cosigners on the loan, who would otherwise be responsible for the sum. This type of negligent behavior by the VA, and those who they hire to oversee veterans care is absolutely malicious and ludicrous.

It is quite evident that the VA needs to be police for their actions through the implementation of a strict and unwavering checks and balances system in order to see where the benefits go that have not been passed on to veterans and disabled veterans. One can recall a couple of years ago when such benefits were discovered to be benefits to VA employees rather than the veterans. VA employees had used funds to purchase computers, lingerie, services at casinos, luxury hotels, high-end retailers, Sharper Image, prostitution, gambling, breast implants, and for their personal trips, (see articles below).

How do these people live with themselves?

They live with themselves just fine with the knowledge that they are robbing disabled veterans of simple education benefits, and opting for their breast implants, boozing, and whoring. Since the media published the stories of fund violation, we have yet to hear government officials issuing reprimands for the employees who misappropriated and misspend funds (VA included). In essence, it seems that the violators only received a slap on the wrist and went on with life as usual.

Whatever the case now, disabled veterans are still being denied benefits, and should not have to beg for education benefits, or any other benefits that are owed to them for services rendered to their country. The VA needs to step up and honor their veterans in reality, rather than funding media advertisements that tells veterans about how much they do care for them.

Word of mouth is not worth much without actions behind those words. Give a veteran his or her education benefit instead of using policy excuses to justify why he or she cannot get that benefit. It’s about time we honor those who have served and continue to serve for the freedom that Americans continue to enjoy today.

It’s about time the VA pay attention to the educational rehabilitation of their disabled veterans, instead of calculating costs of medications and the number of disabled veterans they will be able to medicate in their next new hospital. Education benefits for veterans are essential in helping them to get back in the work force, and also in contributing to society in a meaningful way.