One would think that the vA would have a soft spot for those Veterans who are so horribly disadvantaged that they find themselves financially or medically strapped to meet their obligations. When they succumb to lack of funds and are forced to seek shelter or food from family, this would normally constitute the conditions I associate with hardship. Apparently I am wrong.
To put this in perspective, by 2008 I was in the hole about $250,000.00 and getting ready to find a new zip code for Cupcake and myself. vA looked at my numerous credit card balances, second mortgage and other medical info that said I was in deep medical doo-doo and granted my request for advancement so I could get P&T while I was on this side of the grass. Mind you, they don’t tell you they are granting it. They just speed things up after a 90-day review of your circumstances. If you pass the audition you move over to the Group W bench and are seen on a first come, first served basis.
Member JM and I have been working on his hardship filing for the last several months. He has intractible knee issues that are documented on his medical discharge yet vA insists he’s ready for the Ninja Warrior series on TV. Well, we’ve actually been trying to get him SC sooner rather than later. The hardship venue is just an attempt to get it done in 2012 rather than the mythological 125 day/2015 mantra being handed out like necklaces at Mardi Gras. No dice. vA is going to move at their usual snail’s pace regardless of how much plastique you pack under their ass.
JM emailed last night with this lovely rejoinder to his continuing saga. He’s been on the IRIS path for about three weeks pursuing this. I had no idea you need to actually occupy a house illegally to qualify. That’s right. You need to let your mortgage go south, quit paying the utility bills, stiff everybody you owe money to and mail in the proof. Homelessness and living in your parent’s basement is not considered a hardship. In fact, after you lose all the amenities of a home and job, you are still not in a hardship predicament unless you can prove they’re getting ready to cut off the power to the place you don’t own anymore. Huh?
|Response via Email Via Email (Department of Veterans Affairs)||06/28/2012 05:01 PM|
|IRIS #XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXDear Mr. JM:
There are specific criteria for hardship request. Unfortunately, your bankruptcy and overdue VA medical bill does not meet the criteria for a hardship request. A hardship request should include evidence such as foreclosure notice, past due utilities statement, and eviction notice.
Thank you for contacting us. If you have questions or need additional help with the information in our reply, please respond to this message or see our other contact information below.
DOUGLAS C. CHAPMAN
Douglas C Chapman
How to Contact VA:
By fax: (404) 929-5586
It’s odd. I was told by a VSO that the threshold requirement was a financial debt in excess of $3,500.00 and /or medical issues that might cause death before they finish the adjudication. JM is “existing” at the whim of his parent’s largesse in allowing him to occupy the basement rec room. He gets to eat there while he tries to weather this financial/medical maelstom that engulfs him. VA must think he’s kicked back in the lap of luxury eating popcorn and watching The Young and the Breastless and Family Feud all day.
Relax. This is the new, improved vA. Jm has graduated to the ranks of the 1%ers. He’s rich. No debt. No financial problems to mention. His bankruptcy erased his financial obligations and he has no outstanding overdue utility bills because…he no longer has a home. One of these days they’ll acknowledge the knee problem and he’ll be remunerated. Until then? Well, pilgrim thousands before you have bit the bullet and soldiered on. Where’s that fine entrepreneurial spirit that built America? Get off your dead ass and hobble off to work. If you can’t find any, why, try the Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program for disabled Vets. Whoops. Back up. Get that rating of 30% or more first and then go to VR&E. Pretty confusing? JM thinks so. vA doesn’t.