Loss of VA Benefits: Is It True?

In April of this year I was reading the minutes of the National Veterans Mental Health Council Conference Call (April 13, 2011) and noted a comment by one of the participants. It seems that a Veteran who was a volunteer on the Veterans Mental Health Council at one of the VA Medical Centers had been downgraded on his Service Connected mental health disability because the volunteer work he was doing “showed that he could work.” I began to investigate this issue and discovered more than one Veteran at more than one VA Medical Center location who allegedly had experienced the same. The issue, for a few Veterans, seems to be that they had volunteered in one capacity or another at their VA Medical Center; VA likes for Volunteers to log their volunteer hours and uses the logged hours to give credit to Veterans Service Organizations and when recognizing Veteran volunteers; the affected Veterans were Service Connected with a 100% Unemployable rating for a mental health disability; and,  after performing Volunteer work at their VA Medical Center and logging their volunteer hours, these few Veterans were notified by the Veterans Benefits Administration that their 100% Unemployable status was revoked because their volunteer work was evidence that they were employable.

I have written quite a few letters and sent numerous emails in an attempt to determine if this is a true issue or if it is a bad rumor. Unfortunately, no one in VA has responded. In the meantime, word of this issue has spread to Veterans across the Country. Some Veterans who were serving in VA volunteer positions resigned because they feared their Unemployable rating was in jeopardy.

It would help both VA and Veterans if the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) would issue a response to this issue from a VBA office that is high up in the chain-of-command; a position above the VA Regional Offices. A response from a position above VA Regional Offices is needed so that Veterans can rely on whatever the response is and not be concerned that individual VA Regional Offices might have different interpretations of the issue. A full explanation of the truth or non-truth of the issue, more than just a quote from the applicable law, and one that addresses the specific issue would be most helpful. (I and others have researched and read the applicable law. However, we all know that the law is subject to interpretation).

To clarify, the issue that needs to be addressed by VBA is, “If a Veteran who is 100% Unemployable due to a mental health disability performs volunteer services at a VA facility and logs those volunteer hours, is there any chance at all that VBA would recognize the Veteran’s volunteer service as evidence that the Veteran is employable and would revoke the Veteran’s Unemployable status.”

Terry S. Bowman is a retired Air Force Air Traffic Controller (SMSgt) who served in the U.S. Air Force from September 1960 to October 1981. He served as a Professor in Aviation Management at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois (SIUC). Bowman completed a Doctorate in Administration of Higher Education and, from 1993 to his retirement in 2001, he served as the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Director of Off-Campus Academic Programs. He is now fully retired and enjoys working around his land he has established as a National Wildlife Refuge. He also volunteers at his local VA medical center.

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39 Comments to “Loss of VA Benefits: Is It True?”

  1. Michael Robinson says:

    A unemployable vet volunteering their services is extremely important for several reasons. We need volunteers for one. It helps tremendously for the selfworth of the veteran and it is therapy in overcoming his-her mental condition. I volunteer to help veterans on my good days which seem to be far and few between but that little time I give helps me so much in making me feel like I am still a productive member of society and it is also a way to give back a little- Boredom causes our illness to grow in many cases and depression sets in hard when you no longer feel you can give of yourself when you are having a good day.

    • If, The Veteran is physically able to make it to work and deal with the stresses of work, such as transportation, verbally speaking socially acceptable, and able to perform several tasks in the time period logged? It seems questionable? 1st of all anyone who is 100% unemployable for mental health alone is questionable? Then allowing them to make sound decisions about other veterans is questioable? But, if the person just wants to help-out/ out of the goodness of their heart, well Kuddos to them!!! But, they should be told to stop or else, or there should be some serious ground rules laid down! Or guide-lines because, someone allowed or hired them which is entrappment! It is like most of us as we get older rely soly on the VA for treatment program and such stabilities and hopes of some normallity in our lives, because it is like your alienated enough with mental illness, so some people want to feel the VA as a safe place! But, the VA is an Institution and it seems to me that there are a few employee who are following the old school military or VA???

      • MIke says:

        One thing to understand about these vets volunteering. Just because they can volunteer does not mean they can hold a job. I am sure the volunteer data does not reflect on the bad days they are having, that as a volunteer can easily be handled, but as an employee an employer will not be so forgiving. Volunteer hours should not be an issue. Would love to see an update on this, maybe a letter or two to congressman will get the VA to respond.

  2. Ralph Perry says:

    Along these same lines…I am om 100% disability for same type of of illness….I’m o% service-connected but am in the VA healthcare system. I receive 2 disability payments. 1 from SSA and 1 from private disability insurance. I was going to volunteer at the local VA Medical Center as soon as Dr says OK. Now, not so sure. Thanks!

  3. Amy says:

    I am considered unemployable, yet I am able to substitute teach and tutor on occasion and still keep my rating. I believe the guideline is that a veteran must earn less than the national poverty line in order to retain these benefits. The way I and my VA counselors see it, I may not be able to hold down a regular full-time or even part-time job, but I still have a lot to offer my community.

    Here is some background information on IU, direct from the VA: http://www.va.gov/OCA/testimony/svac/05102720.asp

  4. dave says:

    I am rated at 100% for PTSD 40% on feet so i’m rated at 100% total and permanet service connected unemployable and i don’t do anything as 4 as volunteering i don’t do anything

  5. Cindy says:

    My late husband had a 110% rating. I know very strange. He was at stage 4 cancer for a long time. He would go to the VA whenever he could gather the strength to do so. He loved to volunteer doing anything to help someone else. I do believe much of his volunteer work involved drinking coffee and listening to those who had no one to listen to them. He had served three tours in Nam early on and felt he could hear in their voice’s, & see in their eye’s what their words could not say. Whenever he felt lost & disconnected, I knew I could find him at the VA laughing & carrying on with the other old warrior’s. His volunteering was as much for his own good as for the other’s. I am thankful he did not have to face choosing or loosing. I sincerely hope an answer will be found that will meet the needs of both.

  6. TSgt. Patrick Berry, USAF (Retired) says:

    That’s just evil! On our “good” days, we might be able to put in 3 to 5 hours of
    VOLUNTEER work! Not functional enough for a full work day, EVER, it is simply evil
    to deny us the therapy and personal achievement that comes from feeling needed!

    I think the illegal aliens who commit crimes get more respect from the Obama regime!
    Go look at the latest resurrection of President Obama’s DREAM ACT where he encourages
    all law enforcement agents in ICE to overlook criminal acts, on a case by case basis!

    Disabled Veterans get no such forgiveness? Absolutely EVIL!!!

    Patrick Berry, TSgt. USAF (Retired),
    an angry disabled veteran volunteer with IT skills who is an active voting citizen!

  7. PArabear says:

    Boredom, and the lack of anything to do, is the worst thing around. It only furthers many aspects of PTSD. I know when I have nothing to do I keep myself couped up inside my apartment, and only leave when absolutely necessary, usually only when someone I know almost has to physically drag me out, or I have an appointment that I have to go to. The lack of activity is horrid and wreaks a horrendous toll upon many veterans with severe disabilities, whether temporary, or permanent. If you have ever had surgery with a long recovery time, you know the feeling of being stir crazy.

    I have severe PTSD, and the only people I can really get along with are my fellow veterans and those in the military.

    My question, and a big one to be asked by anyone who is going through such an issue as this, is how many hours they have volunteered. If they have only volunteered say 20 hours/week average, it does not demonstrate employability, nor would inconsistent volunteering (one week on, one week off). I am sure that many of these veterans would fall into these categories and the VA is just trying to reduce the amount of veterans receiving 100% ratings using whatever justifications they can.

    It is a known fact that the VA does not actually care about the well being of the individual, and only cares about the politics of it all. It’s all a numbers game for them.

  8. Darrell says:

    I believe Veteran’s should have the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the VA in their time and service without the risk of losing any of their benefits. THeir time volunteering should not interpret that they can perform a full-time livable wage job, These Veteran’s have their good days and bads, this is not stable enough to consider them being able to work everyday and earn a living.

  9. Jon says:

    Alex, Brandon, Katie, & Jessica- Thanks for publishing this piece. It’s great that you guys are helping give voice to perceived injustices in the VA system. I like the statement about numerous requests and no response. So much for transparent governemnt.
    But thank you guys for giving vets a place to vent their criticisms. Hopefully the author (or all veterans) gets an answer soon.

  10. james roberts says:

    You can be absolutely certain that VA will use anything they can find to deny benifits. In cases of unemployability, if they see even one non service connected disability, they simply stop and deny the claim, asserting that this isn the reason you are unemployable. Once granted Tdiu you can earn up to the national poverty level, but not one dollar more. Take care.

  11. Scott Diller says:

    Its pretty easy to go do stuff when you are pretty financally stable. Take away the check. Can they come in and volunteer anymore? No. It ****s up their whole life. ****’s on anything they have been told. They only way benefits sould be rudeced ar by way of the IRS if ur disabled and start making over 200k guess what, we need to talk. If your just trying to do something so that your not feeling like your in prison. Idk that’s cold.

  12. Maurice Wyman Scott says:

    In the efforts to give back what they can, veteran volunteer, or actually associate or assemble in formations of sorts, to the only thing that seems normal, being around veterans. But in the efforts to create, award, and support corporate America, the veteran administration seeks to take from the needy and continue to give to the greedy. It seems by all recent evidence, that one third of the vb.’s time is spent stalling claims, one third is spent denying them, and the last third spent trying to stop those approved from continuing. While at every report, it’s an announcement about the most recent contract award.

    The truth is that congress or veterans shouldn’t have to be considerate of agent orange claims, you see someone had to sue the government to make them admit the truth, and because they’ve had to finally admit it by court admission, others have to be delayed. You see 40 years from today, they’ll admit that each and every training base, and duty station stored that poison, but some actuary is doing the numbers as we speak, and by the numbers, most of us will be dead as well. The truth is only 32 % of that era veterans are still alive, and if you’re going back to the 1st 2nd or Korea wars, only 18 percent are still alive.

    The VA doesn’t deserve consideration for claims that should have been admitted when that stuff was used, what reasonable person believes that that poison was sprayed from planes, and on the ground, killing every parcel of land in it’s midst, and it wouldn’t kill the men laying and ingesting it. But some corporate body, pretending to be the government rolled the dice, saved money, betting that no one would find out until every last soul was deceased.

    Our President soon after coming into office, made a public demand, give our veterans what they deserve in benefits, specifically he talked about PTSD, set the simple parameters, and said get it done, will because our government is so large, follow up and command and control wasn’t possible, so the VA went on with the same bad people, spitting out the same actuary enduced statements, hurry up and wait because we are backlogged. 23 billion dollars to pay all 800,000 claims 100% disability for ten years, but the corporate government paid 400 billion over two years to let rich people and corporations pay no taxes.

    How long does it take to see if you got something, to see if a incident that you said happen, and look at medication and length of treatment and diagnosis and get you approved, about as long as it took me to write it.vone third to stall you from getting it, one third to give it to you, and one third figuring out how to take it back. In rational terms, one third to get your claim, one third to make it last longer than 120 days, and one third to deny it, to pass it onto the appeals people. The income levels at the regional offices of the number of $100k people, and all they have is continual excuses. The 100k people’s whose name appears on the bottom of the countless stall letters, don’t even write their own letters, but it’s the method of the coward behind these purposeful outrages whose main purpose is to do the odds, and get his end of year bonus,you see you get a bonus when you exceed last years numbers, now exceeding them may just be that end of year push to deny claims in masses, but they get their bonuses. You would take a veteran benefits because he’s self counseling by the therapy of being around the only thing that makes sense.

    100k veterans go into medical centers yearly, their is no scanners, the police are just a presence, but not punitive in posture, you go into a regional office, you are screened, metal sectors, and inspected to get through the door, no money, and it’s surely not because your files are there, if anyone every saw their file, all would probably not wonder where their evidence went. A man such as I, but in another skill set, paid to develop this process of giving all it’s budget to corporate America, while waiting for us to stop or die trying.

  13. Mark Gordon says:

    Wow..if this is true, then it’s probably the most rotten thing I’ve heard the V.A. do in a long time.

    Please don’t say that this is true. :-9

  14. Bob says:

    I’m so glad I happened to think about reading the blog today, otherwise I’d be in the same boat. I guess I won’t be volunteering for the hopsital anytime soon. I seem to remember some sage advice about “never voulunteer” in my military experience. However I didn’t think that it would still be true in my senior years. If the stories have merit then it is truly a tragedy for the people who are losing literally “everything”. And if it is true then the volunteer coordinator, the service organization(s) and the Va have acted in bad faith. As for this “Offical Website” of VA
    dispatches I’m not surprised that the story hasn’t been confirmed or denied yet. Getting straight answers and correct information from the VA and service organizations seems to be an all too frequent uphill battle.

  15. Dan says:

    PArabear is right on point as he describes those of us with PTSD. The isolation, the need to belong to something yet knowing you can’t be a volunteer day in and day out is discouraging and frustrating.

    If you are rated 100% for PTSD (like me) or rated TDIU for any reason, you cannot work. However, if you are rated 100% schedular for any combination of disabilities, you can still work full time.

    I have heard of guys being called back for PTSD exams after years. The government had the ability to cross check IRS with disability payments. So, thinking that you can hold a job and be TDIU or 100% schedular is a recipe to be scrutinized.

  16. Nlck says:

    I EXPERIENCE SIMILAR situation. Just have not volunteered, yet! Sustain 3 severe TBIs at once 2 yrs ago. The neuropsychologis, in order for return to work introduction, he recommends volunteering at the library. My former supervisor at TBI clinic where I was a health care provider suggested volunteering which gave me enouragement and sense of need or contributor rather than bothersome. My injury is covered under federal wokers comp ie, FECA. I applied for disability Social Scurity. Federal Workers comp found out and stated I could not rceive W/C benefits and SSDI without offset. Thus they sent me a 2500.00 debt owe and offset my SSDI ALMOSt 50%. Not allowed to return to work, cannot get settlement or work rehab because I am allowed to return to work limited to 9hrs a week. Otherwise I must be able to do limited duties 20 hrs a week. After 9 month period I AM not allowed more than 750.00/mo must report so salary can be offset. If I gross more than 1K per month I lose my SSDI. I haven’t applied for unemployable thru VA, yet still getting FECA WKComp benefits. Basically the system is pushing me ito proverty or even worse bankruptcy. I had to fill out an income justification for wrk comp and one issue required reporting was Volunteer work whicg is interpreted as employable. How can our current vets get beyond theivinuries, PTSD, AND OR TBI and return to the work force with trust and reassurance our Nation will assist in their time of need.

  17. Mike Carr-VBA says:

    VA’s established policy is that all Veterans who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of service-connected disabilities shall be granted a 100 percent or “total” evaluation. This total disability evaluation will be considered when there is impairment of mind or body which sufficiently renders it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation. VA compensates Veterans for the impairment in earning capacity resulting from their disability (ies).

    Currently, VA regulations do not define substantially gainful employment other than stating that marginal employment is not substantially gainful employment. A Veteran engaging in volunteer work may be an indication that they are employable. On the other hand, the volunteer work may not be considered as “gainful” employment. As such, the nature of employment as a volunteer would have to be considered before any action is taken to reduce a Veteran’s total disability evaluation.

    There is also a fact sheet about Individual Unemployability at http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/benefits/factsheets/serviceconnected/IU.asp

    Hope this information is of some help to all concerned.

    • Bob says:

      Mr. Carr- Are the defintions of “substanial and marginal employment” on the link you provided equally applicable for veterans who receive a
      non-service connected disability pension? If so, can I volunteer without worry? Also, can I work at marginal employment without reducing my pension benefit amount dollar for dollar?

    • Dan says:

      If you supposedly work for the VA, you are 100% wrong.

      If you are found 100% schedular for a Mental Health condition, YOU CANNOT BY DEFINITION OF THE DISABILITY BE ABLE TO WORK…PERIOD.

      The rating criteria for any 100% mental health rating is total occupational impairment. If that is not met, you will not get a 100% rating. If you are TDIU you can work up to the limits of the definition of what is gainful employment.

      Gainful employment is generally construed to mean the pursuit of full time employment that would place one above the poverty level. If someone is on TDIU, they must notify the VA that they are employed (not just your doctor).

      Veterans with combined schedular ratings of 100% (with up to a 70% Mental Health rating) can be employed without restriction.

    • Terry Bowman says:

      Two questions of Mr. Mike Carr of VBA.

      First Question: What position do you hold in VBA; is your position within VBA such that it includes sufficiently high chain-of-command authority that your statements (as in your July 6th post to Vantage Point) set rules and precedent that ALL VBA positions with disabilities/benefits decision-making responsibilities and authority are required to adhere to your statements?

      The following portion of your July 6th post

      “A Veteran engaging in volunteer work may be an indication that they are employable. On the other hand, the volunteer work may not be considered as “gainful” employment. As such, the nature of employment as a volunteer would have to be considered before any action is taken to reduce a Veteran’s total disability evaluation.”

      is (1) double-speak and (2) reads to me as “Veterans who are 100% Unemployable due to a VBA adjudicated disability and who perform volunteer services at a VA facility, may be providing VBA with evidence that VBA might interpret as proof that the Veteran is employable and that proof may result in VBA reclassifying the Veteran from unemployable to employable which would reduce the Veteran’s VA disability compensation benefits”.

      Second Question: In (2) above, is my interpretation of your July 6th post to Vantage Point accurate?

  18. Steven Louie, BSN, MBA says:

    I believe that this should be tested in court by some of the individuals so affected because the definition of “volunteer” is not that of gainful employment, where work is exchanged for pay and benefits.

    If the VBA in their Comp and Pen view volunteering as gainful employment, comparable to that in ALL areas (pay, benefits, etc.), then I would expect the IRS would declare that such remuneration would be taxable. Organizations benefiting from the services of volunteers must account for it, but not the other way around.

    Neither are members of the Mental Health Advisory Councils paid for their voluntary contributions to the reduction of stigma and the making of recommendation of improvement of mental health services to veterans.

    I am a member of a local Mental Health Advisory Council and was actually a silent participant in this portion of the above-described conference call. As long as no one steps forth to make this claim, then the issue is purely hypothetical.

    I believe the underlying concern would be of fraudulent claims made to obtain a disability rating, that would be proven as such by evidence of gainful employment. But even here, the federal government has a clear guideline that all vocational employment specialists understand with respect to Social Security, and that is that up a certain level of employment, even wity disability, one can obtain what is called a Ticket to Work permitting the vetern to obtain what is described in the VBA document (insultingly, I might add)as “marginal employment.”

    The criteria for membership in the Advisory Council is not arduous and does not require the ability to “work” regular hours. One has to be a “consumer” of mental health services.

    Thus, what we really have here is a potential stigma issue from within– but without fact, or known merit.

    Though I may seem and actually be highly functioning intermittently because of medication and treatment, it is no reason to assume fraud.

    If true, this represents a disincentive for efforts to reduce stigma and improve services. I am therefore going to approach my local Senators to make sure that language in VBA does more harm than healing.

    This should not be an issue that goes away.

  19. Steven Louie, BSN, MBA says:

    I believe that this should be tested in court by some of the individuals so affected because the definition of “volunteer” is not that of gainful employment, where work is exchanged for pay and benefits.

    If the VBA in their Comp and Pen view volunteering as gainful employment, comparable to that in ALL areas (pay, benefits, etc.), then I would expect the IRS would declare that such remuneration would be taxable. Organizations benefiting from the services of volunteers must account for it, but not the other way around.

    Neither are members of the Mental Health Advisory Councils paid for their voluntary contributions to the reduction of stigma and the making of recommendation of improvement of mental health services to veterans.

    I am a member of a local Mental Health Advisory Council and was actually a silent participant in this portion of the above-described conference call. As long as no one steps forth to make this claim, then the issue is purely hypothetical.

    I believe the underlying concern would be of fraudulent claims made to obtain a disability rating, that would be proven as such by evidence of gainful employment. But even here, the federal government has a clear guideline that all vocational employment specialists understand with respect to Social Security, and that is that up a certain level of employment, even wity disability, one can obtain what is called a Ticket to Work permitting the vetern to obtain what is described in the VBA document (insultingly, I might add)as “marginal employment.”

    The criteria for membership in the Advisory Council is not arduous and does not require the ability to “work” regular hours. One has to be a “consumer” of mental health services.

    Thus, what we really have here is a potential stigma issue from within– but without fact, or known merit.

    Though I may seem and actually be highly functioning intermittently because of medication and treatment, it is no reason to assume fraud.

    If true, this represents a disincentive for efforts to reduce stigma and improve services. I am therefore going to approach my local Senators to make sure that language in VBA does more healing than harm.

    This should not be an issue that goes away.

  20. Jason says:

    I am 100% overall, not unemployable. I’m 70% for mental health but this could go up. I don’t plan on working though cause I know I can’t. I have a hard enough time deciding if I want a cookie and I freak out, how the hell would I make a real decision. I also get Social Security Disability, they allow me to make 1k a month if I want. I personally feel that if you are rated as unemployable then that means you CAN’T work, at all! You’re only getting paid at 100% because you’re unemployable, not because overall your 100%. If you are able to volunteer at the VA and get to work, deal with the stress of being around people and help others out, well that’s great but that also proves that your not unemployable. If you want to volunteer don’t volunteer for the VA, you’re just giving them the ammo they need to screw your rating. Everyone knows the VA loves to screw veterans over and pay them less, so why would you give them that ammo, that power?

  21. Rick says:

    Veterans who are in receipt of Individual Unemployability benefits may work as long as it is not considered substantially gainful employment. The employment must be considered marginal employment.

    •Substantially gainful employment is defined as employment at which non-disabled individuals earn their livelihood with earnings comparable to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides.
    •Marginal employment is generally deemed to exist when a veteran’s earned income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Census Bureau as the poverty level for the veteran only. See the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds.

  22. Bryan says:

    When i was rated 100%and unemployable,it was suggested by VA mental health dept.that i volunteer at VA hospital.I don’t do it officially,but i do my best to help my brothers and sisters.

  23. Maurice Wyman Scott says:

    When you create a system that forces the health and safety of fellow Americans to be in jeopardy, because the system is broken, then you employ folks to sneak around and figure out how to take it back, then that’s corrupt in every condition. Volunteering is therpy for some, they get to spend their days with folks in mind they can trust, and that’s wrong. Most of you guys at the VBA are just pencil pushing, over paid, probably good folks told to do bad things, but its the bad things you do, or cause that makes us hate you so much. I’m a Godly man, but I’ve had it with the VBA, up to my neck in forgiveness, because you can only offer forgiveness if its an act unintended, but happened nevertheless, the hurt and pain, can be washed away in the stream of forgiveness. The backlog you claim is your fault, because someone had to sue you for you to admit the truth, when the admission would have been easier, much like the process today. On the 20th, with nothing else to lose, I am making my journey from Columbia, SC to Washington, DC on foot, this is because this system has placed me where I don’t have a place to call home, and a substitue just doesn’t work, when honesty could have allowed me to keep my own. That’s right honesty, something folks within the old guard of the VBA just aren’t use to. Now I’m on my way to the VA headquarters, realizing that I am going to be arrested, which at this point is expected, because every single soul who caused me distress, harm, and pain is displayed on my coat and tee shirts, because hidden, as they normally like themselves, they can never be made accountable for their actions, but revealled they will forever be haunted by their performance, much like veterans today. The greatest thing in America, is no one can shut you up for telling the truth, and there are truthful people at my VBA location, which is how I know the names of those who hurt me, and continue now to cause me pain, the system seemingly can’t be changed from within, but employees, the good ones know that the bad ones need to be exposed. You have force me outside, into the public domain, that’s dangerous as it maybe, but I have no choice, the VA made me homeless, when telling the truth would have been so easy.

    This one, almost retired employee last week told me, that I have just made the teams made, presidential, and congressional inquiries are always viewed as something that can’t be done, that the folks within my RO, think they are beyond reproach. So because I will never get a honest accessment anyway, its just not what folks do here when you question them, I figured I would get something out of this, so I’ll embarrass them, I win, and they win, I win because truth is the light, and they win because putting me in jail means they don’t have to pay. Two million dollars in salaries in Columbia, SC, and just on the VA’s own reports, the only thing happening with claims is moving from claims to appeals.

    • Mark says:

      Maurice, that was an incredibly random post that you made.

      Why would anyone put you in jail? That makes no sense.

      Also, you talk about exposing corruption, but you don’t lay out what that corruption is. Can you lay out, in precise detail, what the corruption is?

      Also, take a breather. Think through things instead of through an emotion. Take a step back and see yourself, and perhaps a better alternative will appear?

      • Robert Snow says:

        Hey Mark:
        You can shove that self-righteous criticism of one of my fellow vets who has every right to express his grief and disappointment. Those who need to be chided can consider themselves put in their appropriate places.

        God bless you, Mr. Scott. I appreciate your comments and your “emotional” reply to the subject at hand. It may take more that emotions. It may take a trip to the VA in DC. It may take knocking around a few noggins. Thanks for being willing to do your part!

  24. Scott K says:

    I think it depends on a case by case situations; i have 100% and im very ill with multiple diagnoses……I would gladly give everything ive know if i couild only get my HEALTH BACK….GO ON A CASE BY CASR BASIS

  25. LED Signs says:

    I volunteer to help veterans on my good days which seem to be far and few between but that little time I give helps me so much in making me feel like I am still a productive member of society and it is also a way to give back a little- Boredom causes our illness to grow in many cases and depression sets in hard when you no longer feel you can give of yourself when you are having a good day.

    • Robert Snow says:

      Your post is so true. I am afraid of another possible threat to my disability comp. I rhetorically ask if anyone is filling out opinion questionairs or doing mystery shopping.
      Because of my mental health and orthopedic awards I am afraid to step out my front doors. “What if someone sees me carrying in the groceries?” I would appreciate a response.

  26. Great Post, thank God we have people like you

  27. Emily says:

    I question the truth of this story. The VBA is completely separate institution than the VHA. They don’t share computer systems. If your address changes you need to change it at both. The idea that volunteer work is equivalent to gainful employment is laughable. I can’t repeatedly take stops during an eight hour day but I can hold someones hand or serve coffee. I can’t actually volunteer at my local VAMC because I am an inpatient every few months and they have a restriction period of 6 months. So, I volunteer at a Children’s hospital. Before I Left San Diego I was a brief member of their Mental Health Advisory Council. There should be no reason why veterans would fear participating on these councils because they are completly independent of the hospital they are working. Only veterans are supposed to be voting members and any staff that is a part are only their to assist them in their function and take their concerns to the hospital.

    None the less I do hope these stories are not true

    Em

  28. John says:

    I’m 100% for PTSD which is helping me pay for my education. If I get a part time job for some extra cash the would take away my disability. I mean I don’t want to collect forever but I need help getting my life back. Why does it got to be like that?

  29. Jessica Alfalla says:

    I just had a ptsd review in Dec.2011. . I have been rated 100% for about 2 years. And all of a sudden here they come with review time! Right before Christmas. I haven’t had lasting employment. I tried to work one day in 2010 and that was just a trial at a retirement home and quit due to my agoraphobia and anxiety attack at that place. And then I tried to work work study for one month in july 2011 at the va but had to resign due to my anxiety.
    So they asked me a lot of questions like how is your sleep. I told them bad, I have nightmares and panic attacks of incidents in my career. And then lets see… It also caused my divorce, I was hospitalized in a mental ward 2 years ago for 3 weeks because I stopped sleeping and had hallucinations and a manic episode. And then the va put in my record that I had a cannabis addiction. I have a medical card now even though I don’t partake that often.
    I try to just make it each day without feeling depressed. I have a 100 percent and I still feel depressed daily sometimes. If I could go back to the way I was before I would.
    Anyhow, unless I am near death, which I am not, I am only 27 I don’t know how in the world they are going to be able to explainably revoke my ptsd rating. This will be terrible if they do and they have 41 days to make a decision now as they have made a decision. I am living on pins and needles each day.
    I just thought I would share all of this. I would like to feel assured that they won’t take it away or at best down grade it. I don’t think it is right.

  30. Will says:

    Im 100% VA diabled non-employable for PTSD and a few other physical injuries from Iraq and being on airborne status. I’ve been out of work for 3, going on 4 years now, and the VA told me that because I am going to school they are going to try to take my disability away when I come up for review next year. I take 90% online classes and when I have to go to campus for a class, I usually have a deal set with the professor that I can either still work from home, or I have special priviledges (for lack of a better word). I sit close to the door with my back in a corner or against a wall, I do not get in front of a class, I get called on minimally, etc. I am also enrolled with my schools Students with Disabilities Services office which allow me support and other disability related help such as double time on tests due to my TBI and Im allowed to test in a private room to minimize my anxiety and allow me to concentrate better on my exams. The VA doesnt care though, if I can leave my home, in their eyes, Im fine. :/ Its a messed up system. Now, if they do take my disability, I have no prospects, no training, nothing to fall back on to support myself. Im already dreading graduation because Ill be losing my GI Bill and am too scared to seek non-guaranteed employment and give up my VA benefits. They are great at putting us between a rock and hard place.