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Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
There are a couple different ongoing lawsuits pertaining to discharge type that seem to be getting some traction.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/army-to-weigh-upgrading-less-than-honorable-discharges-11605720688

If you know any veterans with bad paperwork, it might be worth their while to see if these settlements apply to them.

Edit: Text behind paywall:

The Army will reconsider thousands of cases of soldiers who left the service under less-than-honorable conditions, part of a sweeping class-action settlement announced Wednesday that could allow for expanded access to federal and state veterans benefits.

The settlement, negotiated by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic, forces the Army to reconsider thousands of veteransí appeals to have their discharges upgraded, citing underlying mentalhealth issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder, that led to their departure from the service.
ďThis settlement is going to prevent former soldiers from going through the horrible traumatic experiences like I did,Ē said Kris Goldsmith, an Army veteran who appealed several times before the Army upgraded his discharge to honorable and who now advocates for others making similar appeals. ďThis is the Army catching up with reality.Ē

The Department of Veterans Affairs referred questions to the Army, which didnít respond to a request for comment. When soldiers leave the Army, they can be given an honorable discharge or a number of other less-than-honorable discharges, including dishonorable. Once discharged, veterans can appeal to the Army for an upgrade, specifically if they claim PTSD, sexual trauma or other mental-health problems contributed to bad behaviors that caused them to be discharged.
A less-than-honorable discharge, also known as a bad-paper discharge, often prevents veterans from getting federal and state veterans benefits including health care and GI Bill benefits. The type of discharge can also hurt them when they apply for jobs. 11/18/20, 22:46 Page 2 of 4 ďThis is a tremendous milestone because it changes the process for all veterans,Ē said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. ďThese measures are not selfenforcing. We need continued oversight.Ē

In 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed all branches of the military to give consideration to appeals by veterans claiming PTSD or other mental-health issues as they sought upgrades. Mr. Hagel noted that mental-health conditions often arenít fully diagnosed until years after leaving the service. Each branch of the military handles its own discharges and appeals for upgrades. The class-action settlement applies only to the Army, but the Yale clinic has a similar lawsuit ongoing with the Navy, said Andrew DeGuglielmo, an intern with the clinic.

The lawsuit will immediately affect more than 3,000 veterans whose upgrades werenít given proper consideration since 2011 and which will automatically be reconsidered. Any appeals since 2001 that have evidence of mental health-related issues will be invited by the Army to request an upgrade. The service will also implement new annual training for discharge review board members and will provide more information about the process to veterans seeking upgrades. Mr. DeGuglielmo said the clinic estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 veterans in total were likely discharged under conditions that could be affected by this settlement or by ongoing legal efforts by the clinic.

Grip it and rip it fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Nov 19, 2020

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Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
I was curious if anyone had any information about the process for the VA to return the MGIB booster I paid back when I was in bootcamp? I have since exhausted all of my eligibility under the post 9/11 GI Bill (I even got a 12 month extension for Voc Rehab) and I was not sure if I'm eligible / have to sign up / update payment information?

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

McNally posted:

I'm starting the process for voc rehab and I have my my initial VRE appointment on the 29th. Any advice?

It was pretty straight forward when I did it. My counselor had me get some job postings to show that what I was trying to do was viable.

Other than that it was just a bunch of filling out paperwork and discussion about what I needed to be successful. I ended up getting a laptop and a bunch of school supplies + an extension on my GI Bill time to cover all of lawschool

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
Do you have enough years in to transfer your post 9/11 benefits to your kid? I'm not sure if it's possible, but it seems like the min/max approach to your benefits at this point would be to make that transfer and then either attend school using your state benefits or see if it's still possible to utilize Voc Rehab after transferring your benefits. It doesn't seem like the cost of attending a 4 year university is going to drop in the next 10 years or so, if anything those expenses might go up, so the value of the post 9/11 benefits may increase along with those expenses.

The only reason I suggest this is that you've indicated that you're still trying to figure out what you want to do now that you're retired. the G.I. Bill can cover a lot of expensive programs and educational pipelines and if you want to preserve value, I'd recommend seeing what you can do with the benefits available to you presently and maybe seeing what can be done by taking on some minimal student loan debt / signing up for grants. Anyway, that might be something to check on the viability of / run some numbers on.\

In the alternative it is possible to get your degree with your post 9/11 benefits and then sign up for Voc Rehab to pursue a graduate program. I did that with law school and managed to stretch out 6+ years on BAH and received my undergrad and law school education all on the government's dime. The educational benefits you have are pretty excellent, and with the right academic plan you can really come out ahead.

Grip it and rip it fucked around with this message at 20:36 on Jun 26, 2021

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

lite_sleepr posted:

What is the point in going to school and wasting time chasing a 4-year degree when I'm 38? I'll be 42 by the time I graduate, more than twice the age of the average 20-something entering the workforce already with a degree. If my experience is already worth less than nothing at the age of 38, it's going to be worth only slightly less once I get a degree.

The kind of work that pays decently with a degree is significantly less physically taxing and can be done for significantly longer than well laying work that doesn't require a degree. I'm in my mid 30s working as an attorney, and regularly rub elbows with contemporaries who are in their 60s and going strong.

But if you don't see the upside to going to school, don't go. Or do some vocational / tech training to learn how to maintain server farms. I hear that's well paying work

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
You could rent while going to school for a year while you wait for your job prospects to develop. Hell you could do a semester and then break your lease / sublet your place in a city like Atlanta.

Keep in mind that unless you attend school year-round you wont have BAH payments in the summer. Its a system that uou have to try and work around but its still pretty luxurious, once you get things started.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
We had the "Hero Clinic" at the local dental school which would do free cleanings and xrays for veterans. Might wanna ask around if you have access to something similar, though hopefully less stupidly named.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

McNally posted:

There's the speed of government, then there's blowing off a senator's office which is what this feels like.

Maybe try to find an alternative target for the Senator's office to contact? Light a fire under the rear end of someone who does gaf. I have no idea who that would be since it sounds like you found the person who us supposed to bottom line your request.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

Mustang posted:

I'm doing two short term study abroad tours next year and I have to pay about $5k in fees next month, they have associated classes but they're not until next year and I won't be registered for them until then. I have 100% GI Bill, does it usually cover/reimburse you for fees for things like studying abroad? It's all done through my university, so there's no having to worry about paying a foreign school or anything.

They're essentially electives I'm taking where at the end of each quarter we spend a couple weeks in each classes' respective country.

I sent an email to my school's veterans office but figured I'd ask here too.

My understanding is that id highly dependent on what the fees are designated for, with some designations getting covered and others not. IIRC educational expenses will be reimbursed but living expenses wont. I wouldnt bet on my memory here though, you should talk to your program director / student vet coordinator / VA office

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

Mustang posted:

Yep, that's what it looks like. Found this on my schools FAQ.

I'm using post 9/11 benefits, and these are electives for me so it looks like it won't cover those fees. Sucks I'll have to pay $5k($7k with flights) out of pocket but I think it's worth it for the experience, especially considering they're probably one of the only things I'll end up paying for out of pocket during 2 years of grad school.

My school (CU Boulder) had a vet grant for overseas travel and expenses - you might check and see if there is anything similar at your school

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
Grab onto the best social safety net in the USA and share the perks with your friends. Any money you dont claim (you have already earned all of these benefits) will be used as an excuse to par down these services in the future.

If you feel uncomfortable taking the monthly payments then donate them. The federal government blows money fast on a ton of bullshit - injecting cash directly back into your community is undoubtedly superior to letting the congress determine how they would like to reapportion those funds.

There is no actual scarcity here. You arent taking money put of the hands of the poor or destitute. You are entitled to these benefits for the work and sacrifices you jave already performed.

Grip it and rip it fucked around with this message at 17:47 on Dec 16, 2021

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

Bit I read suggested they can only go up, not down.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

berzerkmonkey posted:

Has anyone done a tinnitus / hearing claim? I was in artillery, and while I did use hearing protection, I think I have tinnitus and maybe some hearing loss, though stuff like that is difficult to pinpoint as it's a progressive thing, but I was wondering as to how the process goes and how they diagnose tinnitus.

I have done a claim and an unsuccessful appeal - My claim was denied on the basis that I didn't discuss it during my separation physical and while I have hearing loss, they claim it's not enough to warrant a rating with the VA.

Generally the way it works is you submit your claim, and at some point they will reach out to you to set up an appointment with an audiologist. That audiologist will then ask you about your symptoms, severity, when they started, etc etc and give you an audiogram. Those results will then be sent off for evaluation and on the basis of that evaluation and whatever information is contained in your medical records you may or may not receive a rating for tinnitus and/or hearing loss.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020
I just got a letter from the department of the Treasury telling me I own 8k in mature bonds that were purchased during my time in the military. I don't specifically recall purchasing them, but it seems entirely possible.

Anyone dealt with the same letter?

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

berzerkmonkey posted:

You probably signed up in boot camp - I know they pushed that for us when I went through. If you don't have them for some reason, you'll have to submit a claim for lost bonds: https://treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav0107.pdf

Hopefully your letter will have numbers and purchase dates which, I assume, will make things easier.

dang, that does sound familiar. I'm gonna give them a call and get it sorted. Thanks!

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

life is killing me posted:

So Iíve actually started school, and the VA counselors here are pretty unhelpful, so I come to you, goonvets, for your wisdom.

I called the school to check and see that my paperwork for the GI bill was received and being processedólike, just wanting peace of mind that the school wasnít gonna drop me from classes because I hadnít paid. The only thing they could tell me was that there was a hold of some sort on my account up to August, which she said indicated everything was going how it was supposed to, because they donít know when the VA will pay and just flag accounts to show that it will get paid. Is there any other way to know? I thought I was supposed to get an enrollment verification text message from the VA around the time I started, but that never happened. When I uploaded my letter of eligibility and did all the applicable requirements of the school and the VA, I never got confirmation the paperwork was received.

Are they gonna pay the stipend around the same time they pay the school? Iím considered full time even though Iím taking two classes because they classes are accelerated over four weeks, one online meeting per week. But itís tough to sit on my laurels while I donít know because neither the VA nor the school tell you poo poo.

Is the person you spoke to your school's certifying official? If not you want to call them pronto and ask them exactly what the status of your enrollment verification is. Whenever I had any kind of issue or deviation from how things were going to work, my money got delayed. If you're not super dependent on that BAH to get things going then it's not a big deal, but I usually had a new lease going at the start of the school year and delays in those payments were a real pain the rear end.

So I would start by contacting your veteran services department at your school and asking to speak to your certifying official directly. If that's who told you things were flagged, then I would ask them for a number to call their counterpart at the VA to see if you could get some further explanation. if that's a non-starter then you may need to call the VA directly, which is a massive boondoggle pain in the rear end.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

life is killing me posted:

So I called the veterans advisor at the school because Iíve been getting about a stipend, but thereís been some discrepancies. I had never received notice that more than one of my classes had been certified, and when I inquired about this, he said it looked like only chemistry was certified. I told him Iíd been getting more than Iíd think of only one was certified, and that somehow after weeks Iíve not been dropped from my classes for nonpayment. That last weird thing was that he said my other two classes that arenít certified yet, are also on my degree plan so there is no reason they shouldnít have been certified.

On another note, Iím looking to drop a classóten hours is kicking my rear end. What are the financial implications for dropping a class? If the classes are indeed certified, what happens when I drop a class and what do I need to do?

Depending on whether you're passed the add/drop date you may be on the hook for a class you drop iirc. You may be able to get it waived one time though? You need to talk to your academic advisor and certifying official

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

Woof Blitzer posted:

Jeeze what the hell is that all about

Presumed miscreants, rarely wrong

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

life is killing me posted:

Next question: waiting to hear back from my transfer schoolís VA registrar/counselor, but thought Iíd ask here. I am transferring to a university (from a small community college), and the GI Bill doesnít cover all of the tuition. Does the yellow ribbon program just kick in automatically to cover the rest, or is that something I need to sign up for separately? Like, once Iíve switched schools and all my VA stuff is switched around to the new one, do I need to like, opt in or anything?

Do you have a disability rating greater than or equal to 20%?

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

maffew buildings posted:

Having it be all online basically equals lol lmao for the hit to GI Bill and BAH. I've already gotten run over once on BAH and made this post when I was in 'oh no!' mode versus thinking slightly more rationally. I'm just switching out to an in person course that fits the degree requirements and letting the vets office know. It fucks up my life schedule but it beats the alternative. Thanks for the prompt response and reinforcing that fixing it is the move.

You should also contact the registrar or the Dean and ask what the gently caress is going on. It's a pretty significant fuckup for them to switch something like that up on you last second, and you're entitled to an explanation and apology.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

maffew buildings posted:

The VR&E info is confusing as heck. If I've got like 5 months of post 9/11 left and use VR&E for professional school, how does that work? Am I able to use all 48 months of VR&E still? Do I take a hit on the housing allowance? My main goal is to get the "gently caress my life" tuition costs taken care of, any housing and additional stipends are just a bonus

I believe as long as you have any eligibility left on the GI bill, you can get the GI bill housing allowance rate. They've shifted how things work a few times, but iirc now VR&E and GI Bill pull from completely separate entitlement pools, so you essentially have 48m of VR&E and 48M of GI Bill, provided you qualify.

Signing up for classes also work a bit differently. For VR&E you have to be working towards a particular job that is currently hiring. All of your courses have to work towards that goal of getting gainful employment with the position you select. The GI Bill just has to be part of a degree plan. So it can kind of limit what courses you can take, but there are a few ways around those limitations.

VR&E is also much more expansive in the kinds of assistance it will provided. As a rehabilitation program it will purchase whatever kind of equipment you need as a result of your own personal ratings to make thing work. This can include customized vehicles, computers, etc etc. There is a separate requisition process for these items but I wouldn't hesitate to make a request if you have a genuine need.

I managed to attend College + Law school on a combination of GI Bill and VR&E benefits. There wasn't a huge difference between what the experience was like between using different programs. I still have about 6 months of GI Bill eligibility left, but I don't think I'll ever exhaust all of that even if wanted to.

Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

LtCol J. Krusinski posted:

Thatís kind of what I figured but it was worth a shot.

I think the trick to doing what you want is to find a community college that serves as a feeder for a larger educational institution that has online courses. Most large academic institutions have some type of feeder program that should allow you to attend in-person courses locally while also taking online courses that go towards your degree plan.

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Grip it and rip it
Apr 28, 2020

Mr. Nice! posted:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-888_1b8e.pdf

I don't know exactly how this is going to work, but those of us with multiple periods of service where we qualify for both MGIB and post-9/11 are now eligible to use either of them up to 48 months of total benefits. Based upon my reading, those who have exhausted post-9/11 but also qualify for MGIB should have another year of benefits.

Hmm, any idea how this interacts with Voc Rehab?

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