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Nostalgia4Infinity
Feb 27, 2007

"Forget it Jake, it's Sooze-Town" Is that me? Am I the Suddenly Sooze-Town of people??


Congratulations on your decision to leave the United States military. This thread will be your one-stop-shop for all things veteran related.

It is the consolidation of the following threads:
  • Veterans Megathread: Rose-Tinted Glasses, IRR Letters, Paunches and Beards

    Zeris posted:





    Welcome to the all-purpose Veterans Megathread.
    This is a place to talk about how great your last unit was (the one you hated while you were in), how you're going to start running again probably next week, and how much civilian friends suck.

    Veterans come in all shapes, sizes, genders, orientations races and creeds. There are combat veterans and non-combat veterans, liars and quiet professionals, fatties and folks in better shape after active duty than ever before.



    The term "Veteran" once applied to most American males after WWII. Fast forward to Vietnam and "Veteran" usually meant crazy homeless guys, and the population of smokey stale-beer VFWs and American Legions. Today, this term applies far more inclusively, both because fewer service members see combat (causing most to say "gently caress it" and call everyone a veteran), and the diversity of service members has increased greatly in the last 10 years (again, safer to apply the label universally).

    Some of us leave our units, and go on to lives in which our service is only a memory. But the opportunities for veterans are growing thanks to a national desire to help, empower, educate, etc. veterans that are often perceived as under-supported by the US government.

    Most veterans today (OIF, OEF, Gulf War, Vietnam, etc.) are finding opportunities for work, education and "extracurriculars" that have never before been so widely and freely available. Mostly non-profits, these organizations are usually founded in the name of helping veterans and/or getting those donations and grant money that (pre-budget crunch) existed in abundance. While money does indeed limit the effectiveness and reach of pretty much everything, it is common to see excess in the form of foundations that exist purely to chase money, marketing, logo-spamming, photo-ops and ridiculous amounts of swag (looking at you, WWP).

    But move out of the way, American Legion and VFW. These organizations are ignored by many thanks to flashier, more tangible benefits of investing time and attention with newer groups.
    Keep in mind many of these organizations are local. In my own experience you can reach out anywhere and folks across the country will help you find something of interest near you - whether that's a writing group, fishing club or art workshop for veterans. You have to reach and ask, though.

    When I left the army last year I avoided anything that reminded me of the military for several months. I ended up volunteering at a veteran community outreach center, and now I work there. A lot of guys I know now, especially the 100% disability ones, have a hard time interacting with the world in general. All of the programs below do great things in their particular field, but the socialization aspect is equally, if not more important.

    Education-Focused Organizations

    The Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Puts veterans with a disability rating through an intense "Mini-MBA" designed to prepare veterans for starting or running their own business. Its programs run at several universities throughout the country.

    Culinary Command is an intense 45-day resident cooking course in the Hudson Valley region of New York state. The course and living accommodations are provided for free. The course prepares veterans for a career in the culinary industry. The only hard part about this opportunity is that you have put your life (and income) on hold for 45 days.

    Artistic Organizations

    Veterans in the Arts is a Minnesota-based non-profit that offers classes in writing, visual art, music, theatre, woodworking and photography to veterans. They are affiliated with the...

    Combat Paper Project, which offers 5-day workshops in which you can recycle your old BDUs/ACUs/cammies/etc. into paper. Combat Paper Project has received some national attention and makes some decent money selling pieces. It's also nonprofit, limited but national.

    Veteran Artist Program is an east-coast based non-profit that has programs for veterans in film, visual art, and performance art.

    The Vet Art Project is a national nonprofit that offers workshops, stress-reduction and mindfulness classes, theatre, storytelling, poetry, and a lot more. They have exposure on NPR and other major media sources.

    Veterans Writing Groups (NYTimes Article) are common in most cities with universities. They are a good way to get into expressive writing, creative nonfiction, and a community atmosphere. Some groups produce their own publications, others are mentored by writing professors that will help you edit a piece into something publishable.

    National Journals that publish only military-related pieces (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) are growing. Ron Capps famously wrote a piece about his near-suicide in the Darfur desert as a foreign service officer, years after his ETS. He founded the...

    Veterans Writing Project, which provides free writing workshops to veterans.
    O-Dark Thirty (yeah, I know) is the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project.
    The Journal of Military Experience is one of the publications that consists solely of veterans' writing (I'll be published shortly in Volume 3).

    Physical Activity, Recreation & Disability-Rating Based Organizations

    TeamRWB is a nationwide non-profit open to veterans that focuses on group physical activities (runs, ski trips, etc.) and re-connecting with the community through volunteerism.

    Project Healing Waters is another national non-profit for veterans with a disability rating that organizes group fly fishing classes and expeditions.

    The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring every disabled veteran has a backpack. Experiences may vary - in my neck of the woods, WWP has a bad reputation due to refusing church donations, requiring guaranteed minimum donation amounts of fundraising events in its name, and appearing to prioritize marketing itself over offering anything of substance.
    That said, all veteran programs and non-profits will generate some negative buzz, bad experiences, etc. simply due to the demographic they cater to.

    Basically ever CrossFit Gym ever offers discounted memberships to veterans.

    Service Dogs are increasingly common as a method of helping veterans with severe PTSD re-engage with the outside world.
    There are several programs that partner a veteran with a service dog. Some provide fully trained service dogs to a veteran applicant at no charge, others find dogs with a fitting personality at a shelter (evaluated by professional dog trainers) and use an "Owner/trainer" model that requires the veteran to attend sessions, effectively creating their own certified service animal. All service dog programs typically require a diagnosis of PTSD (or physical disability), proof of ongoing treatment/therapy and recommendation by a therapist.
    Some programs include Patriot Paws, Veterans Moving Forward, Hero Dogs Inc., and Clear Path for Veterans where I am currently employed.


    Lastly, Vet Centers (warning, VA.gov link) are a great low-key place to vent, talk, hang out or get away from all the crazy civilians out there.

    There are over 300 Vet Centers in the US. I can't speak for all of them (check first if this matters to you) but most have a one-way relationship with the VA proper. Vet Centers are funded and maintained by the VA, but the VA does not have access to Vet Center records. This means you can see a counselor (all Vet Center services are free to combat-deployed veterans) about anything that may be bothering you, talk about anything you want and not worry about it coming back to you. You may choose to authorize a Vet Center to release some or all of your records to the VA, if for example you decide to seek a diagnosis or other treatment and don't want to "start over". Usually, VA mental health professionals are able meet veterans at their local Vet Center for informal appointments, if you have a "regular" therapist. If not, you can meet with any of the VA professional that rotate shifts at the Vet Center. YMMV depending on location.

    Find a Vet Center near you


    Keep discussion focused on life as a veteran and relevant topics. Specific questions, issues and rants about VA benefits, education, and employment with the DoD already have their own threads.
    Related Threads:
    VA Benefits Megathread
    Educational Benefits Megathread
    "Get Help" Thread
    Civilian ThreadContractor Thread

    Last but not least

  • Educational Benefits Thread 2.0: gently caress bitches, get money, get a degree.

    Vasudus posted:

    Welcome to the Educational Benefits thread 2.0. The last thread was pretty successful but since I needed to overhaul the poo poo out of my OP thanks to the new legislation I felt it necessary to start a new one. Below you will find a bunch of useful information in regards to both your educational benefits directly, and useful (Veteran specific) college information in general.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    ----------
    Introduction
    Section I - For all GI Bills
    Section II - Chapter 1606 for non-deployed Reservists and Guardsmen
    Section III - The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB - Chapter 30)
    Section IV - The Post 9/11 GI Bill
    Section V - Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E - Chapter 31)
    Section VI - tl;dr
    Section VII - The Yellow Ribbon Program
    Section VIII - Tuition Waivers in certain states
    Section IX - Financial Aid
    Section X - General Questions

    ----------
    Introduction
    ----------

    My name is Vasudus and I'm a Veteran's Benefit Councilor for a large university. I have been doing this job for about 18 months. My job starts with getting Veterans into school, doing all their paperwork, providing academic advisement, providing transitional counseling, and anything else that is required. I do closed door social work type stuff and hang out in the lounge bullshitting. I call whatever respective departments that are giving my guys a hard time and I call them a bunch of unpatriotic communist assholes on a routine basis. I routinely travel around to speak at various institutions about education benefits and the cheesy-as-gently caress warrior to student speech. It is a sweet gig.

    I served in the Army from 2003 to 2006 as a 21B2O, Combat Engineer. My career was cut short when some jihadist assholes decided that there is no victory but through god. I've got PTSD like a motherfucker and I can never get an MRI again. At least I don't beep at the airport anymore.

    It should be noted that I am not an employee of the VA proper, nor am I official university staff. I am a work-study student paid by the VA. There may be things that I am wrong on or is simply out of my area and requires me to research or take a shot in the dark on. If it is something that I am not 100% confident on, I will state so.

    Before we start:

    This thread is based heavily on the following assumptions, which I have gathered based on my personal Veteran demographics for my school:

    You are single
    You have not used your benefits yet and still have 36 months
    You qualify at the 100% level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill
    You are going for your undergraduate degree
    You are going to a traditional, brick-and-mortar school in the US

    If this is not you, please note that sometimes I might make assumptions that it is. I will try to make liberal use of the phrases "Depending on your situation" and "Your financial mileage may vary" when people might find themselves in different situations.


    ----------
    Section I - All GI Bills
    ----------

    APPLY FOR YOUR BENEFITS AT http://gibill.va.gov

    For all GI Bills you are entitled to 36 benefit months of educational assistance. The key word in this statement is benefit. If you are in school from July 1st to July 31st, that's a benefit month. If you aren't in school you aren't burning time. The benefit month system only eats away when you are actually collecting, so there is no direct pressure to poo poo out a degree. You might want to for your own reasons, which I will cover later in the thread.

    Note also that the time is shared between all bills, so if you are a reservist/guardsman on Chapter 1606, and you deploy to get that sweet sweet Post 9/11, you don't magically get 36 months of it again. It is for this reason that if you are a new reservist/guardsman with no active time except training, and you know you are to deploy soon, it might be better to hold off.


    ----------
    Section II - Chapters 1606 and 1607 - The Montgomery GI Bill - Selective Reserve / REAP
    ----------

    Chapter 1606 is a bone thrown to our weekend warriors. It is currently 337 dollars a month paid to the individual. It eats your benefit months. It is poo poo. Depending on your situation, it might be worth it to collect this bill, as 337 dollars is better than no dollars at all.

    The only people who should ever use this bill are those who have not deployed.

    Chapter 1607, also called REAP, is a bill that is basically phased out completely. It was a halfassed attempt to reward deployed reservists/guardsman before Post 9/11 came out. If you qualify for REAP, you qualify for 60% Post 9/11, which is always better.


    ----------
    Section III - The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30)
    ----------

    The famous Montgomery GI Bill that was so heavily broadcast on TV in the late 90s. It currently pays out 1487 dollars a month to the individual who has served at least 3 years of active duty. It does not cover anything else.

    If you qualify for this bill, you are qualified at the 100% level of the Post 9/11 Bill. You should never be using this bill, and thankfully in about five years my job will be significantly easier as this bill will cease to be in rotation. There is one, and only one, exception to this statement:

    If you have less than 12 months of benefit time remaining on the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) you need to be aware of the following: Those who expend 100% of their Chapter 30 benefits are allowed a 12 month extension of the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). Depending on your situation, it may be in your best financial interests to expend your MGIB and switch over on the extension. Graduate school is expensive as gently caress, and having 12 months of Post 9/11 is likely worth it over shelling out for the rest of your undergraduate degree.


    ----------
    Section IV - The Post 9/11 GI Bill
    ----------

    This is what people are talking about when they say 'gently caress bitches, get money, go to school'. This bill is what the MGIB should have been in the first place, and thank gently caress they went and future proofed this bastard.

    At the 100% level, the GI Bill pays the following:

    All of your tuition and fees paid directly to the university, to a maximum cap of 17,500 dollars per year
    1000 dollars a semester, split between Fall and Spring (so 500 each) for books paid directly to the Veteran
    A monthly BAH rate of an E5 with dependents paid out based on the zipcode of your school

    Now that is what I'm loving talking about.

    If you are a reservist/guardsman with a single deployment, you are likely 60% rated. Take what someone who gets 100% would be entitled to and do the math. 60% of the BAH, 600 a year for books, etc.

    Under all circumstances the Post 9/11 GI Bill is better for all Veterans, even those that are 40% rated.

    For those attending online-only schools, the GI Bill as of August 1st 2011 pays half the national average of BAH, or ~673 dollars a month. This change makes it immediately better than MGIB which was the single holdout, because Post 9/11 pays your tuition and MGIB is just a check to you.

    For those who took the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you do indeed get the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The bad news is that the timer for qualifying service starts after your SLRP obligation is completed, which is 3 years. So if you took SLRP, to qualify at 100% Post 9/11 you had to have done 6 years of active time. I hope you got your money's worth out of SLRP.

    For our commissioned goons, the same applies as it does for SLRP. You have to finish your commitment to AD time before the clock starts. Six year commitment -> 9 years AD time to get full Post 9/11 eligibility.

    Note that at 10 years, you can transfer your months to dependents. This is done on a benefit month system, in that you can assign whatever amount of months to whichever dependent you choose. Keep in mind that it eats out of the same pool, so 36 months split between say two dependents is 18/18.


    ----------
    Section V - Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E - Chapter 31)
    ----------

    This is for our disabled veterans. If you are 10% rated by your service or 20% by the VA (total percent, not on a per injury basis) you qualify for this. Prior to 1 August 2011, this was inferior to Post 9/11. This is no longer the case, because as of 1 August 2011, those who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Voc Rehab can get the BAH of Post 9/11 instead of the tiny stipend VR&E gives you. There are absolutely no guidelines at this time how the VA plans to go about this, yes it is as frightening as it sounds to people like me who have over 500 veterans they are responsible for.

    Applying for VR&E is a much different animal than your regular GI Bill as it serves a much different purpose. The GI Bills are fuckoff money and they give literally zero shits where you go to school or how you spend your money they give you. With VR&E you have a councilor that you have to meet with, your degree is planned out and the end goal is to make you a productive member of society.

    The benefit comes with the fact that VR&E will pay for literally any school, training or equipment that is necessary for them to in order for you to reach your goal. Want to be a welder and need a 5,000 dollar welding kit for school? gently caress it, done. Need a laptop to take notes on? Have one, complete with a printer. They pay for literally everything within reason, you just have to convince them it is necessary.

    Another neat thing is that you can apply for and participate in VR&E after you have expended your GI Bill. You usually get 12 months of benefits - to cap out at the standard maximum of 48 months. However, depending on exactly why you haven't completed your VR&E in 12 months can get you an extension until you do. My coworker, for example, is currently at month 45 and got approved to complete her graduate degree, which would take her to 54 months. It is a much different animal compared to the GI Bill.


    ----------
    Section VI - tl;dr
    ----------

    WHAT BUTAN I PRESS GET MONEY?!
    Reservists and Guardsmen who have not deployed: Chapter 1606
    Reservists and Guardsmen who have deployed once and are not disabled: 60% Post 9/11
    Reservists and Guardsmen who have deployed more than once, are not disabled, or Active Duty who took SLRP at enlistment: 70-90% Post 9/11
    Active Duty who are not disabled: 100% Post 9/11
    Disabled Veterans: Vocational Rehabilitation


    ----------
    Section VII - Yellow Ribbon
    ----------

    Yellow Ribbon is the ivory towered elite giving back to the community. If your school participates in Yellow Ribbon, and you are 100% Post 9/11, the following happens:

    Assuming that your school costs 10,000 for a full semester, it will cost 20,000 dollars an academic year

    The VA under Post 9/11 will pay 17,500 dollars of this, leaving you with a 2,500 dollar balance

    The Yellow Ribbon program will take that remaining 2,500 dollar balance and split it between the VA (1250) and the school (1250) leaving the Veteran with a zero balance.

    This allows the Veteran to attend just about any school they want and not have to pay out of pocket.

    As my boss says "If you're 100%, you're one-hundred-loving-percent."

    Just about every school worth going to participates in Yellow Ribbon, to include ivies, little ivies, liberal arts gently caress colleges, state schools and probably barber school and clown college. It applies for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


    ----------
    Section VIII - Tuition Waivers for certain states
    ----------

    In Connecticut, if you have served more than 90 days of active duty, regardless of any other factors, from 2 August 1990 to present, you do not pay tuition. This includes all the state schools and UCONN. You are still responsible for fees. NOTE: CT is one of the few states in the country that doesn't give a poo poo where you served or where you lived.

    The Wisconsin G.I. Bill provides a full waiver (“remission”) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to 8 full-time semesters or 128 credits at any University of Wisconsin System (UWS) or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institution for continuing education, or for study at the undergraduate or graduate level. http://dva.state.wi.us/ben_education.asp


    ----------
    Section IX - Financial Aid, AKA FREE MOTHERFUCKING MONEY
    ----------

    You DO NOT claim your education benefits on the FAFSA. Fill that motherfucker out every semester at https://www.fafsa.gov and get your free money in the form of grants. Also available are loans for those who may need it for whatever reason. You can get up to 5500/year, tax free, on top of everything else. DO IT.

    Vasudus posted:

    ----------
    Section X - General Information
    ----------


    How long does it take to get my stuff processed and when do I get paid?
    -----------
    It takes 2-4 weeks to get your Certificate of Eligibility from the VA
    It takes 1-2 weeks for your Certifying Official's paperwork to get to the VA, and for the VA to pay the school
    You get paid on the last day of the month unless a holiday or other factor fucks it up
    You get paid your Fall book stipend somewhere around July-ish, and your Spring stipend around late December


    ----------
    How do I get an answer from the VA about something?
    ----------
    Use the VA's 'Ask a Question' feature on their website. You get a written response in 2-3 days for most issues so it is often worth it, versus spending an hour on hold. It is also in writing so that if someone tells you otherwise, you have a written record of it.


    ----------
    Should I get a second undergraduate degree?
    ----------
    No. In fact, hell no. The only time you should get a second undergraduate degree is when you do them at the same time, such as (Subject)/Education, or Math/Physics. Although the GI Bill will pay for it, VR&E will not because it's a dumb idea.

    Even if you are drastically changing fields of study (like say, English -> Chemistry or Biology -> Economics) it is always, always better to just take whatever undergraduate classes are required to get accepted into a graduate program.


    ----------
    Should I go to a Community College first and then transfer?
    ----------
    Not unless you absolutely want to or you have to because of past academic performance (or lack of). There is a common misconception that community classes are easier, and thus are better to ease into the college environment as a veteran. A 100-level class is a 100-level class, regardless if it is being taught at Harvard or Big Bob's Community College. If you want to ease into college, take 4 classes (12 credit hours) worth of intro classes.

    What will happen, unless you are extremely careful, is credits from a community college will not transfer over to your 4-year university. I've personally seen people with an associate's degree come to my school and have around 30 credits count.

    The exception to this rule is what we call feeder schools. Generally you enroll in a specific community college for a specific degree that upon completion of their program automatically enrolls you into a specific four year institution.


    ----------
    My grades were poo poo when I started college, now I want to go back. What are my options?
    ----------
    If you want to go back to the same school, see if they have some sort of Fresh Start option. It generally allows you to keep your completed classes and wipe the GPA slate clean if you fall under a certain number of credits.

    If you want to go to a different school, be aware that you are required to disclose that you attended another one and provide transcripts. That school must also be paid in full. It is an extremely bad thing if you hide this fact. Extremely bad.

    Worst case, you have to pull 9-12 credits (so a full semester's worth) at some arbitrary GPA (typically 2.75+) at some community college to get accepted to a regular school. It's not the end of the world.


    ----------
    What is the fastest way to get my degree?
    ----------
    You can realistically get your 4-year degree in 3 years without giving up too much of your GPA. The problem lies in the fact that when you go from 5 classes to 6, things will likely get much more difficult for you. Going to 7 classes, which is the absolute max at most institutions, is for those with gigantic academic brass balls. Seriously, it is loving hard. My school even requires you to pay 200 dollars to sign up for a 7th class, we call it the idiot tax.

    Doing 18 credit hour Fall/Spring semesters, with Winter/Summer classes when available, can get you out of school in three years. Your GI Bill will deplete pretty fast doing this, so make it count (ie: don't take one summer class if you can take two)


    ----------
    What military credits will transfer over to my school?
    ----------
    This is a common question that I deal with at work, and the answer is always the same: It varies wildly on the individual. I've seen people come in with 60 credits and I've seen people get credit for Public Health and Exercise Science for a total of 2 credits. My job (21B) got me absolutely fuckall except for health/gym.
    Generally speaking if you have a technical job (as most Veteran goons seem to have) your odds are much higher that you will be getting credits. Us knuckle draggers are poo poo out of luck for the most part.


    ----------
    What is the entire process, from start to finish in regards to my benefits?
    ----------
    1) Veteran applies for benefits at http://gibill.va.gov
    2) Veteran applies to school
    3) Veteran is accepted to school
    4) Veteran provides Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to the school's Certifying Official (me)
    5) Certifying Official processes classes into VA-ONCE
    6) Veteran gets paid
    7) Veteran gets laid


    ----------
    What does a Certifying Official do?
    ----------
    Officially, all we do is put your information into VA-ONCE so the school/you get paid. Start time, end time, credit load, done. At many schools, this is handled by someone in the bursar's office.

    Some schools have a full time Veteran rep that is a certifying official in addition to whatever else they might do. My school has a Veteran's Lounge, where dudes can take a loving nap, use the computers, print for free (my school charges 5c/page) and hang out. When Osama died we had 10-12 of us getting smashed in there. My campus is dry except for here. We also have around 550 Veterans out of a population of 13,500 so they tend to allow us to do whatever.


    ----------
    I never collected my kicker / my kicker paperwork was never submitted. What do I do?
    ----------
    This happened to me. The process is as follows:
    1) Use the 'Ask a Question' feature on the VA website.
    2) In your post, include copies of your kicker contract + enlistment contract as an attachment.
    3) Wait 15ish business days
    4) You will be backpaid what was due, and then all future semesters will have it.

    Keep in mind that the process used to calculate the kicker is borderline financial sorcery so don't expect that 50,000 or 70,000 or whatever. There is a reason they say 'up to' in the recruiting lines.
  • US Veterans Benefits Megathread: They Give Me What For Why?

    Steven CatFingers posted:

    [Editor's note: The following is Part One of a multi-part series on post-service benefits. This covers VA-specific shits. Education is covered in another thread. Upcoming updates may include career assistance, transitioning from military to civilian life, PTSD management, Agent Orange/Gulf War Syndrome/Burn Pits/other era-specific issues that may arise, and anything else you're curious about.]

    Part One: The VA and General Veterans Benefits

    So you got out yesterday. Or 25 years ago. You served in combat, or in peacetime, or in an unnamed location, or did half your contract before your MOS became obsolete and you decided to hitchhike home.

    Congratulations, you’re now a veteran!

    What the hell do you do now?

    You’re going to have to deal with a monolithic organization called the Veterans’ Affairs Administration, or VA. The VA will be your best friend and your biggest frustration, but just remember it’s a bureaucracy like all the rest and with patience and persistence you can usually get what you need. Later on we’ll go into veterans service organizations (VSOs), and advocacy organizations that can help you learn the rules of the game, but for now let’s conquer the mystery of the VA.

    THE VA

    Who can go?

    How the hell?

    Do you like telephones? The VA’s Benefits Assistance line is 1-800-827-1000.

    Do you like internets? Hit up the VA E-Benefits Online Portal.

    Do you like interacting with others live near a metropolitan area? Find a VA Regional Office near you and bother someone ‘til they help you.

    Why should I bother?

    Look, even if you don’t think you did a lot when you were in service, you still deserve some stuff. In the civilian world, when you have a cushy job and it includes a retirement plan, you will use the gently caress out of that bitch. Same thing here. VA benefits are your retirement plan. Use them.

    The VA offers disability compensation, preventative health care, emergency health care, transportation, job training, loans, and a ton of other stuff that you’d be a fool not to milk like there’s no tomorrow.


    Mommy I’m scared of the big buildings!

    Well, the good news is there are a lot of resources that can help you get what you need from the VA. Remember those regional offices we discussed earlier? They’re generally a lot smaller and friendlier. Otherwise, try:

    VA Vet Centers

    State Veterans Affairs Offices

    County Veterans Service Offices

    Or use this search tool to find a local VSO, vet-friendly attorney, or VA claims agent.

    I dunno…they’re gonna try to trick me…

    Well yeah. The VA is a government agency, and as such, they will try to keep costs down by making you go through a billion hoops before they give you any money or help you with anything. If you had decades worth of vets asking you for free stuff, and another several thousand OIF/OEF folks realizing free health care might help with that dislodged anus, you might be a little backlogged and clusterfucked too.

    So should you ask Crazy Uncle Jimbo who got his earlobes blown off in Saigon? Well, if you want terrible advice, yes. A better idea would be to find an advocate who has helped hundreds of other people in your situation through the process. They can generally guide you on who to ask what, what to say to whom, when to call where, and they best part is they can usually do all the ridiculous amounts of paperwork for you.

    Who will advocate on your behalf? Those smaller offices mentioned above may have a person or two to spare. If you live in a busier area, however, you may need to get help from an organization. They generally require membership, but it’s worth it if you qualify.

    Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offers national service offices. Find one here.

    Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW - that includes WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm/Shield, OIF/OEF, and any service OCONUS) can give you crazy assistance with a lot of poo poo, including your VA benefits and transitioning back to civilian society.

    If you served CONUS, or anywhere else, you can join the American Legion and get this stuff.


    TL;DR – Once you’re out of the military, you can get stuff. However, it is your responsibility to either apply through the VA directly, through a regional office, or an advocate.

    Busket_in_Posket is an employee for a non-profit VSO. Busket welcomes your input on this thread and has access the resources to find you answers if needed.



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Flying_Crab
Apr 12, 2002



"Chapter 1607, also called REAP, is a bill that is basically phased out completely. It was a halfassed attempt to reward deployed reservists/guardsman before Post 9/11 came out. If you qualify for REAP, you qualify for 60% Post 9/11, which is always better."

This isn't necessarily true depending on what your state offers for benefits and what your BAH rate is. In my case, I receive 100% free tuition through the state which means that portion of Post 9/11 is basically irrelevant. 1607 with the buyup will pay me about $200 more per month, although to use the state benefit you have to also use Post 9/11 if eligible. That said, my state will make up that $200 difference that I lose by not using 1607.

Diarrhea Elemental
Apr 2, 2012

Am I correct in my assumption, you fish-faced enemy of the people?

Is it a good idea to take mini-mester classes (ie 4 weeks, one 3 credit class counting as full-time) while using the Post-9/11? I know just from a get your degree as fast as possible standpoint it's obviously better, but I'm considering my options to see if it's in the cards to stretch the blood money and go for a PA program (90% are graduate-level, a few undergrad left) without taking a ruinous amount of loans for grad school.

Nostalgia4Butts
Jun 1, 2006

WHERE MY HOSE DRINKERS AT

FOURTH WAVE LESBRO posted:

Is it a good idea to take mini-mester classes (ie 4 weeks, one 3 credit class counting as full-time) while using the Post-9/11? I know just from a get your degree as fast as possible standpoint it's obviously better, but I'm considering my options to see if it's in the cards to stretch the blood money and go for a PA program (90% are graduate-level, a few undergrad left) without taking a ruinous amount of loans for grad school.

i took interim courses every chance i could, just as a way to bang out stupid classes i didnt want to sit through for a semester.

an online intro to theater course to count as my arts elective.
a 2 week public speaking course where every speech is improvised.

poo poo like that, you bang em out quick, get the credit, and only have to sit next to a 400 lb blob wearing the same anime t-shirt every day for 2 weeks instead of a full semester

Diarrhea Elemental
Apr 2, 2012

Am I correct in my assumption, you fish-faced enemy of the people?

Nostalgia4Butts posted:

i took interim courses every chance i could, just as a way to bang out stupid classes i didnt want to sit through for a semester.

an online intro to theater course to count as my arts elective.
a 2 week public speaking course where every speech is improvised.

poo poo like that, you bang em out quick, get the credit, and only have to sit next to a 400 lb blob wearing the same anime t-shirt every day for 2 weeks instead of a full semester

Oh I understand that it's a lot faster to bang out some classes in these mini-mesters, but is it worth it to burn 4 weeks of blood money for one 3 credit course?

Pandasmores
May 7, 2009



FOURTH WAVE LESBRO posted:

Is it a good idea to take mini-mester classes (ie 4 weeks, one 3 credit class counting as full-time) while using the Post-9/11? I know just from a get your degree as fast as possible standpoint it's obviously better, but I'm considering my options to see if it's in the cards to stretch the blood money and go for a PA program (90% are graduate-level, a few undergrad left) without taking a ruinous amount of loans for grad school.

If your major has some stuff that could be applied to research fields, maybe you could see about helping out a professor or something through a program like the NIH offers at some schools. Might get you a few grand.

sharkbomb
Feb 8, 2005


FOURTH WAVE LESBRO posted:

Oh I understand that it's a lot faster to bang out some classes in these mini-mesters, but is it worth it to burn 4 weeks of blood money for one 3 credit course?

You have to crunch the numbers and figure out the total value you can extract from your GI Bill for a 4 week course - we can't do this for you because we don't know your tuition, whether your school is Yellow Ribbon, your school's zip code for BAH, or what kind of program you would be potentially saving benefits for in the future. Find all of those numbers and determine the dollar value of your GI Bill for a 4 week course. (Tuition benefit, housing allowance, probably not book stipend).

You can convert this info into a benefit-dollar/credit hour ratio or something like that. Now, is your benefit burn rate worse than it usually is during the school year? If so, it may be worth paying with cash, especially if you KNOW you've got years of schooling ahead of you and want to use your GI Bill conservatively.

Example: I did a 10 week summer course as an undergraduate and used my GI Bill. I wish I had paid out-of-pocket, because I now go to school in an expensive city and my benefits would have been more valuable because of the housing allowance alone.

Good luck

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007



Any Army Aviation goons in here? Looking into getting my A&P license and I want to test out, but not sure where to start. I know I need an FAA form or endorsement to start it, but also not sure where I can find a DME to let me do the hands-on portions. Eventually want to land a job with Boeing or Lockheed or another aerotech company, and I am pretty certain most jobs that would pay me well (at or more than my current job does) will want an A&P license.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

I'm signing up for a teaching certificate program at my school. For the summer stuff, I want to use Hazlewood instead of GI Bill so I don't use up all my benefits before I graduate, and the summer stuff includes a paid internship. Can I do that?

Also, just keeping folks updated on the saga of blue squares, I am now teaching weekly creative writing courses in a jail in my area.

sharkbomb
Feb 8, 2005


blue squares posted:

I'm signing up for a teaching certificate program at my school. For the summer stuff, I want to use Hazlewood instead of GI Bill so I don't use up all my benefits before I graduate, and the summer stuff includes a paid internship. Can I do that?

Also, just keeping folks updated on the saga of blue squares, I am now teaching weekly creative writing courses in a jail in my area.

You can elect to use GI Bill benefits whenever you want, though I don't know how the program interacts with Hazelwood. I submitted a question to the VA asking whether I could elect to only use GI Bill benefits during fall semesters and they said it's fine. Just make sure your school certifying knows NOT to certify you for a certain term, especially if they have been johnny-on-the-spot and doing it automatically for a few terms.

Nick Soapdish
Apr 27, 2008



blue squares posted:

I'm signing up for a teaching certificate program at my school. For the summer stuff, I want to use Hazlewood instead of GI Bill so I don't use up all my benefits before I graduate, and the summer stuff includes a paid internship. Can I do that?

Also, just keeping folks updated on the saga of blue squares, I am now teaching weekly creative writing courses in a jail in my area.

Unless I am misreading it, which is certainly possible, Hazelwood applies after you've exhausted your Federal benefits.

quote:

Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits

http://www.tvc.texas.gov/Hazlewood-Act.aspx

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007



If you're getting benefits from one, you can't have the other going. They can't be concurrent, is my understanding. I can't use the Texas Vet program (or Hazelwood) at the same time I'm using the GI bill because as far as the government's concerned, they'd be giving me twice the money for the exact same thing.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

poo poo... I can afford to go without GI Bill for the summer but I don't know if I can do that while also paying for 6 credit hours. Thanks for the responses.

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


I've asked this before, but was hoping someone had an answer this time around-

Does anyone know if the projected turnaround times listed on Human Resources Command's website re: CRSC is realistic? I am seeing forum posts claiming poo poo like 20-30 days, but all are from the 2012-2014 timeframe.

Pandasmores
May 7, 2009



My Ombudsman sent me a link that might be useful if some of you guys have spouses that are interested in going to school or know of a spouse of a wounded/fallen service member that is having trouble funding school. The spouses that can apply for scholarships need to meet any of the following:

-a military spouse with a valid military ID.

-are married to an active duty, reserve, guard, retired, medically retired, wounded or fallen service member (must be a service-related wound, illness, injury or death that took place after September 11, 2001).

-are a dual service military spouse are a divorced spouse, but ONLY if you receive 20/20/20 benefits or 20/20/15 benefits.

-are married when we ask for verification paperwork, usually a month after the applications close.

The link is:
[url] http://www.militaryfamily.org/spous...holarships.html [/url]

Cole
Nov 24, 2004

DUNSON'D

Does the VA have a central database for your address?

Let me explain this stupid situation.

I never got an ID card made when I got out. I got one made at an appointment at the local in/out patient facility here over a month ago, but it has to get printed at the main facility about 90 minutes away, then mailed to you.

Did that. Told them what address to send it to, and went on my way. I never got it, I called and asked, they said it wasn't released yet.. or something, and the lady told me she released it and it would be sent to my house. I even confirmed the address they had again.

Had another appointment there last week. Asked them the status on my ID card. They said it wasn't released yet... or something (yes, again). So the lady released it or whatever and I confirmed, face to face, that they had my address.

About four days later my mom called me and told me that she got my ID card three states over.

This has been happening ever since I enrolled in the VA, and every time I call I change my address. I've changed it on eBenefits as well (everything on eBenefits is current to where I live now). But my Aunt still sends me appointment slips every now and then.

Seriously, who the gently caress do I need to call to get my address sorted out? It's not so much that they are sending me anything important that I need ASAP, but they might in the future, and I don't think my Aunt or Mom still needs to be sorting my mail if I have a perfectly good mailing address.

Also, what is the book stipend time table? Is it $1000 for January-December, from Fall semester to the end of the Summer semester?

Cole fucked around with this message at 13:00 on Dec 6, 2015

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

Cole posted:

Does the VA have a central database for your address?



Nope. At least it seems like each VA office has their own database that they copy you into. Even my clinic and the hospital it falls under had two different addresses for me at one point. When you update your address you need to contact every single part of the VA that you do any business with separately to inform them and even then it's not guaranteed that it will be updated everywhere in their system.

When they were doing the choice cards I didn't get mine for awhile because they had my address from when I was still in the military, more than 12 months out of date and updated with every part of the VA I had interacted with, and they thought I had a VA clinic with 10 miles of my house instead of the actual 140 miles it was to nearest clinic.

Cole
Nov 24, 2004

DUNSON'D

Delizin posted:

Nope. At least it seems like each VA office has their own database that they copy you into. Even my clinic and the hospital it falls under had two different addresses for me at one point. When you update your address you need to contact every single part of the VA that you do any business with separately to inform them and even then it's not guaranteed that it will be updated everywhere in their system.

When they were doing the choice cards I didn't get mine for awhile because they had my address from when I was still in the military, more than 12 months out of date and updated with every part of the VA I had interacted with, and they thought I had a VA clinic with 10 miles of my house instead of the actual 140 miles it was to nearest clinic.

oh jesus christ

this is how people die

Soulex
Apr 1, 2009


Cacati in mano e pigliati a schiaffi!



So, I was talking to some of my coworkers and Hiring For Heroes is pretty legit. https://www.hireheroesusa.org/resume-tools/

Essentially they'll write your resume, and work with you until you get a job that you want. They won't stop calling you or emailing you until you tell them to stop, and are there to help you network to get the job you're looking or and tailor your resume to such. I like it, and figured others could use it too.

e.pilot
Nov 20, 2011



So I've got a little over a month break between my last fall semester class before spring semester starts up, does anyone know if I am able to use the GI Bill to sneak in some flight training in that time? I really need to get my instrument instructor rating.

Godholio
Aug 28, 2002

Does a bear split in the woods near Zheleznogorsk?


As I recall it's only good for ground school, not flight time unless that flight time is part of an actual college program.

e.pilot
Nov 20, 2011



Godholio posted:

As I recall it's only good for ground school, not flight time unless that flight time is part of an actual college program.

It's a 141 school and is technically part of ERAU, so it does pay for flight time, so that's already sorted out. It's a military aero club too so I'm not too concerned with them doing shady poo poo like the helo schools were to get money.

I'm just not sure if I'm still technically considered "in school" during the winter break between today and January 19th. I'm definitely not getting BAH for those days, which leads me to believe I am not, but it's the VA so who knows.

I do know I can't double dip and do flight school at the same time as college, which is why I asked the question.

e:
After talking to the VA rep at my college and talking to the flight school, the answer to this question is yes.

e.pilot fucked around with this message at 21:31 on Dec 11, 2015

Soulex
Apr 1, 2009


Cacati in mano e pigliati a schiaffi!



Wanted to give an update on that Hiring for Heroes thing. I just got my resume back and the dude working with me is going to help me get a linkedin account and start to network. The resume was great, took a few days, but looks really good. Naturally it will be modified to each job I apply to, and he'll do that for me. Seriously, if you give it a go, it'll help out if you're hurting trying to get a job.

Victor Vermis
Dec 21, 2004

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


Do I need to sign up for OBAMACARE if I'm still within that 5 years-post-discharge window for the VA stuff?

Is it possible to sign up with the VA online? I found the 1010ez form but it doesn't seem like I can submit it online.

I don't give a gently caress about health care I just don't want to pay the government money for something I'm not using.

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

VA health benefits count as health insurance under Obamacare. Easiest way to do it is to go to a local Veteran's Service Officer in person or call them and get them to enroll you. Some counties have VSO offices or you can go to organizations such as Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, etc. They should all be able to help get you enrolled.

Victor Vermis
Dec 21, 2004

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


Thanks.

Apparently I did submit that 1010ez online, because I got a phone call today to setup an initial appointment and all that.

Neato.

Cole
Nov 24, 2004

DUNSON'D

Can I get lasik at the VA and if I can how big of a risk is lasik in the hands of the VA?

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

Cole posted:

Can I get lasik at the VA and if I can how big of a risk is lasik in the hands of the VA?

The VA only performs lasik in very specific circumstances that makes it medically necessary to have corrective surgery instead of glasses/contacts. Tricare doesn't cover it either.

However, I did come across this article from a few years back: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20...y-veterans.aspx

quote:

LCA-Vision Inc. (Nasdaq: LCAV), a leading provider of laser vision correction services under the LasikPlus® brand, announced today that it has joined forces with the Wounded Warrior Project to provide free LasikPlus® corrective vision surgery to U.S. military veterans and their spouses/caregivers across the nation. LCA-Vision supports the Wounded Warrior Project, and is doing its part to enhance the lives of America's heroes.

I have no idea if this program is still ongoing, what kind of lasik they provide or what the qualifications are, but I am thinking about calling them up to get some more details after the holidays. I was planning on paying for lasik out of pocket, so that could be a nice alternative.

For the best results from lasik you want to make sure that whoever is performing the surgery is doing it will all lasers and use a machine to measure your eye to find all the imperfections and then correct them. A lot of places call this wavefront technology or custom lasik, but it probably has other names as well. If you get the older style lasik it is a more generic procedure that is based on your prescription so the results can vary a lot more.

Godholio
Aug 28, 2002

Does a bear split in the woods near Zheleznogorsk?


If you do get some details, mind posting them? I was going to look into this in 6-8 months, but if there's a reasonable program to get a deal sooner that might sway me.

Cole
Nov 24, 2004

DUNSON'D

Delizin posted:

The VA only performs lasik in very specific circumstances that makes it medically necessary to have corrective surgery instead of glasses/contacts. Tricare doesn't cover it either.

However, I did come across this article from a few years back: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20...y-veterans.aspx


I have no idea if this program is still ongoing, what kind of lasik they provide or what the qualifications are, but I am thinking about calling them up to get some more details after the holidays. I was planning on paying for lasik out of pocket, so that could be a nice alternative.

For the best results from lasik you want to make sure that whoever is performing the surgery is doing it will all lasers and use a machine to measure your eye to find all the imperfections and then correct them. A lot of places call this wavefront technology or custom lasik, but it probably has other names as well. If you get the older style lasik it is a more generic procedure that is based on your prescription so the results can vary a lot more.

Definitely let us know. My vision isn't horrible, but it is bad enough that I can't read the board at school even from the front row.

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

Yeah, I'll definitely post some details, especially if it is worthwhile. Hell even if it is just a 5-10% discount that is pretty sizable on something as expensive as lasik.

Naked Bear
Apr 15, 2007

Boners was recorded before a studio audience that was alive!


The last VA location I went to mentioned that they might be able to get me LASIK when I first showed up there, but my dumb rear end forgot to inquire further. I'll have to ask the OIF/OEF folks at this one, because they seem to be more or less on top of their poo poo.

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

I called up the main appointment number for LCA-Vision and after a bit of searching for answers the women I spoke with told me that she was told that they are no longer participating with the Wounded Warrior Project to give free lasik to people. I guess it might have started costing too much and they didn't divert funds from the main goals (fundraising, paying executive salaries) of the charity to cover the expenses. I do hope some people got to take advantage of it while it was still ongoing though and it wasn't just a press release meant to demonstrate all the good they are doing without actually having to do anything.

Soulex
Apr 1, 2009


Cacati in mano e pigliati a schiaffi!



Cole posted:

Can I get lasik at the VA and if I can how big of a risk is lasik in the hands of the VA?

I'd recommend PRK instead of Lasik. I got PRK and it's awesome. Apparently if the doctors gently caress up or weird happenstance, the flap they open from lasik can rip off.

McNally
Sep 12, 2007

Ask me about Proposition 305


My wife was eligible for 100% Post-911 GI Bill, which I believe passes to me. My question is that if I use her GI Bill, do I get to keep mine also? Can I exhaust her 100% benefits before resuming my lovely 60% or once I use hers does mine go away?

Delizin
Nov 9, 2005

It may not be interracial, but it is black and white.

I don't know anything about the GI Bill transferring. The only thing I could find about it was an article about a law maker attempting to amend the Post 9/11 GI bill in 2013 to add a provision for that, but I couldn't find anything about whether or not that was successful.

As far as other VA benefits, you might want to look into Survivor's Education Benefits. The VA decided I probably wasn't much longer for this world, so they gave it to my wife prematurely. They gave her approximately $1,000 every month that she goes to school, paid at the end of each month. They scale the payments based on how many credits you take up to full time, and I think they give you less if you are going to a trade school or certificate program. Not quite as good as the GI Bill, but you can probably stack them. Possibly even if you are able to transfer your wife's GI Bill.

There is a bit more info about it here as well as some other programs for surviving spouses.
http://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/ben...orsBenefits.pdf

Best of luck

The Slithery D
Jul 19, 2012

by zen death robot


Delizin posted:

I don't know anything about the GI Bill transferring. The only thing I could find about it was an article about a law maker attempting to amend the Post 9/11 GI bill in 2013 to add a provision for that, but I couldn't find anything about whether or not that was successful.

You can transfer it to your child or spouse, but it's a positive election by the service member, not something that just happens. In the Army it's a retention tool that incurs ADSO.

http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/post911_transfer.asp

There are survivor benefits, but the death has to be under certain circumstances. See the DEA link.

http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/s..._assistance.asp

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Soiled Meat

So one of the things I am considering post-college is moving to a place like Indonesia where I can easily live on my $360 a month of disability, and try to do some internet stuff for extra cash. Is there any reason why relying on my disability pay while in a foreign country could backfire?

http://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-abroad.asp This link seems to say I'd be fine.

Edit: this would be a temporary thing, and it was an idea I had while drunk at midnight

blue squares fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Jan 12, 2016

The Slithery D
Jul 19, 2012

by zen death robot


blue squares posted:

So one of the things I am considering post-college is moving to a place like Indonesia where I can easily live on my $360 a month of disability, and try to do some internet stuff for extra cash. Is there any reason why relying on my disability pay while in a foreign country could backfire?

http://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-abroad.asp This link seems to say I'd be fine.

I can think of reasons why moving to Indonesia to do some internet stuff for extra cash after graduating college could backfire, but risk to your $360 a month isn't one of them.

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tyler
Jun 2, 2014



Do it, pussy.

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