I love going over to talk at John Basser’s and Jerrell Cook’s Hadit.com Talk Radio show. It’s also a bit of a rude awakening to have to get up at the crack of 5 to go feed the animals and still be on top of enough coffee to make sense by the 0700(L) start. Jerrell works on East Coast Time. Go figure. If he moved out here on the left coast he could sleep in another three hours every morning.
Tomorrow we’re going to go over the basics of the Independent Living Program . The nuts and bolts. What controls it. Why Bill gets a tractor and why Jim gets something to pull his socks up with and a grab bar next to the crapper. This is VR&E 101 for beginners. Most VR&E employees will steadfastly deny it until you point it out. Even then they think it has to have some magic “vocational”-i.e. of or having to do with working, training or preparing to get work- connotation. This is where they lack training. If you only had one copy of the Bible and the guys up at the monastery were in charge of the production of same, you’d have no idea if a chapter was missing. If no one told you, Mr. GS 8 VR&E Intake specialist in Oz , Kansas, that there was a program for the severely disabled that entailed avocational pursuits (read hobbies), you’d be forgiven. When the guys in charge in Wichita tell you there’s no such thing, you have an agency-wide conspiracy to suppress the true scope of a valuable program.
We’re going to learn how they deny. Why they deny. Where all the money goes that ISN’T used for ILP and the scalawag salaries paid for this travesty of justice. As some know, I am appealing my denial for a greenhouse to the BVA. It could just as easily have been a riding lawnmower, a woodworking shop or a photography suite of software and a computer to assemble beautiful graphic video productions on an amateur scale. The actual pastime is immaterial. The pleasure and mental well-being derived from it is the essence of the program, always has been and is now being demolished as “too rich for our blood.”
So here’s the skinny to get in.
Call 347-237-4819 to get a front row seat @ 1000 Hrs on the east Coast and walk it back to 0700 (L) at the other shining sea.
Or listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/haditcom
Folks, this is like shooting cottonmouths with a 10 gauge and #4 from about 5 feet away. The information kicks a little because you’re not used to it. You’re gonna walk away with a whole new idea on VA entitlements but no sore shoulder.
From my Form 9
Points to ponder. I love regulations. When VA sets out the parameters of 38 CFR, they often don’t realized they, too, have to conform. It’s one thing to put the onus on us to perform. Always read the their regs wherein they mention even more regs. This is like giving a blind man sight.
1) 38 CFR 21.362(d)(2) Responsibility for determining satisfactory conduct and cooperation. VR&E staff with case management responsibility in the veteran’s case will:
Provide assistance which may be authorized under Chapter 31, or for which arrangements may be made under other programs to enable the veteran to maintain satisfactory conduct and cooperation.
“Will” constitutes a command such as “shall”. They are interchangeable. It’s not optional.
38 CFR § 21.362(a) : General. The successful development and implementation of a program of rehabilitation services require the full and effective participation of the veteran in the rehabilitation process.
38 CFR §21.92 (b) Approval of the plan.
The terms and conditions of the plan must be approved and agreed to by the counseling psychologist, the vocational rehabilitation specialist, and the veteran.
Far too frequently, your VR&E gomer is going to hand you “the contract” and force you to sign it as an “all or nothing” proposition. When they gave me my computer, they tried this. I said “Where’s the greenhouse?”. Their short answer was “There will be no greenhouse. If you don’t sign here, we take the deal off the table.” It was only after a long, heated discussion that I elicited the fact that I could file an appeal on what they were not giving me.
38 CFR §21.90(a): Individualized independent living plan.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of the IILP is to identify the steps through which a veteran, whose disabilities are so severe that a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible, can become more independent in daily living within the family and community.
38 CFR 21.160(a) Purpose. The purpose of independent living services is to assist eligible veterans whose ability to function independently in family, community, or employment is so limited by the severity of disability (service and nonservice-connected) that vocational or rehabilitation services need to be appreciably more extensive than for less disabled veterans.
Here is where you can make a killing. Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is awarded based solely on “service connected” illness/injuries. ILP is awarded based on the total sum of your disabilities- both service connected and not. That’s letting a large camel’s nose in under the tent. VR&E folks don’t tell you that.
When I got my VR&E c-file back last week, there was an extreme amount of ratings info. They wanted to know down to the last percentile what I was rated for and how much. Obviously they are attaching much importance to this as the qualifier for granting ILP.
As some of you know, there’s more wrong with me than there is right. I compare myself to a Weeble- as in Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down®.
I’m going to teach you how to become Weeble people.
Please share more information on the VR&E ILP – How did you weeble through the red tape/ was the greenhouse therapeutics resolved? Did they pay you for training? What classes did you take? Were you able to learn from home?
A big VRE ILP is very hard to win and even harder to enforce, Katrina. I filed in 5/2011 for a greenhouse, a computer and a sewing machine ( a throwaway request).. They denied everything as I expected. I filed my NODs and an administrative request for review of the computer. I won it in 3/2012 but they continued to deny the ghouse. I went to an occupational therapist and got her to write a “nexus” letter saying it would be good for me. They continued the denial. I filed my VA 9 and they “lost” it. I had a certified mail receipt showing they got it and presented it at my Travel Board Hearing to the Judge. I showed my medical condition (Porphyria Cutanea Tarda) precluded me from gardening in the sun and that I had done this for years with damage to my skin. The Judge granted the ghouse 9/2015 and VRE tried to give me a 15×20 with a 60 watt pull chain light overhead. I refused and filed a request for a review and several CAVC Extraordinary Writs demanding they comply. At this stage, I am in a new NOD requesting a 24×28 with hydroponics and an incinerating water closet. I hope to get that SOC soon and file my VA 9 again to go to the BVA again. This time I’ll be anally specific about the need for a 24×28 to encompass all my indoor needs. VRE will fight you tooth and nail over it. The regulations read that the item, whatever it is, must be “necessary and vital” to your activities of everyday living. Look on the right hand side of the blog here and scroll down to Blogs by subject. Click on Independent Living Program and there are 119 blogs on the subject that will help you assemble and win an ILP. It’s a recipe and you need all the ingredients to win. ILP is a great program but you have to know how to do it correctly if you expect to win anything. Getting a computer with all the peripherals is the easiest.