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Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

Cenen posted:

I really meant to post this sooner but got caught up with the holidays but right before I drove home for Christmas I got a letter in the mail for a VRE appointment the morning of the 3rd (tomorrow morning).

What should I expect from this and what are some tips to make this meeting productive?

It has been a couple years since I did mine, but from what I remember you should just be meeting with your counselor. They might give you an aptitude test to take there or I think I remember doing mine online. I actually did it twice in two different states(MN and KS). Take it seriously and do your best, it's mostly to see if you actually have a chance of being able to do whatever it is you want to do. If you want to be a brain surgeon but the test determines you're a moron they might not OK your plan. I did pretty decent so getting them to OK my engineering degree was pretty easy. I assume you want to do school or some sort of training, I do not know much about getting them to do much else. I have heard internet tales of VRE basically setting up a small business for a person but I don't know about that personally. There is supposed to be a website that shows what has been approved in the past. The purpose of the site is to use it as evidence that something has been done for another veteran that you want done for you I believe.
They might ask you about what your disability is and how it affects your employment capabilities as well.
It helps to have a plan, like I knew I needed to go to school and get a degree in something useful. I was not sure what in my first meeting, so my counselor gave me some homework to find job statistics for like 3 or 4 different degree plans. I brought those to my second meeting and we settled on one degree plan and then I had more homework for my third meeting: to find some job listings that would be acceptable career choices.
I will say if you want to do graduate school try to get them to OK it now. I am fighting to get them to add on graduate school for me so I can get a PhD, and my counselor isn't against it but she says it's not up to her. The guy that OKs it may just say that my undergrad mechanical engineering degree is good enough for suitable employment and that's it. Of course being 36 with a bachelors is a bit behind the power curve, but that's a different story.
Good luck!

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Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

Nick Soapdish posted:

Question for those that use the VA as their PCP, has that worked alright for minor issues? I realize, like any medical care, it depends on the facility. The second question is if I wasn't using the VA for primary care and only went to the hospital for C&P and get my service-connected VA ID, is there any issue with using urgent care/ER/ED before I get seen in a new location as a new patient?

I have been using the VA recently and I don't think it's bad, just slow. I can't actually see my PCP in person at the moment which is frustrating. I had a bump on my face removed last year and it was simple, made an appointment with the PCP, he put in a consult for it then I got a call and made an appointment with a local dermatologist. Was really simple.

Right now I am trying to get care for my knee and it's certainly been a process. Basically I woke up one day about a month ago with my knee swelled up. Took care of it for a couple weeks until it stopped going down and figured I needed to see a doctor. I called my local CBOC (community based outpatient clinic, I'm not near the actual VA hospital) and talked to the nurse over the phone describing my symptoms. She relayed that to my doctor who put in an order for an ultrasound on my leg to check the veins for a clot. Did that at the big VA hospital, called the nurse a couple days later to see what the doc thought (it was fine) then I had to get an x-ray. That was last week and I am still waiting for the doctor to make a decision but I called them today and the nurse said I am probably looking at physical therapy. No idea how that is going to work. I also talked to the nurse about what urgent care centers are covered by the VA and I ended up using one she recommended to get my knee looked at by someone. Urgent care put me on high dose naproxen and gave me a sweet knee brace.

Sorry I am kind of venting, back to your questions. Once you find out who your primary care provider is, also find out what team you are on. I have used two different state's VA systems and sometimes GWOT vets have a separate team than the old vets. ALWAYS GET CONTACT INFORMATION, I have heard too many times "we will give you a call" and it never comes. You gotta be proactive with them. Like I said in the story find out what urgent care centers are covered, I had to drive 45 minutes in my case to use one. I haven't used ER yet, but I was told if I do use the ER to let the VA know as soon as possible. I mistakenly did not ask who exactly, but I would start with my team and go from there. This might get complicated if you are at a new location and haven't been seen yet. Maybe give the new place a call and try to figure out what team you will be on? Anyway that has been my history with using the VA and I don't really understand everything, good luck.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
I was told once you are in VR&E you are in it for life. Like they told me a story about some Vietnam vet that drove trucks for a living but now it's too hard on his body so VR&E was gonna send him to school to get a degree in social work. No idea how true it is but that is what I was told.

Also I got a bachelors from a for profit using 2 years of the GI Bill (Don't go to a for profit, if you read anything read that again) then I got on VR&E and they sent me to a proper state university. They just kept extending my GI Bill. When I asked about the possibility of grad school they said it was a possibility but they might just look at my real degree and say that that makes me employable enough. Still have like a year left of the GI Bill. As with everything VA YMMV, everything is made up and the points don't matter.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
Come play civilian Army m'lord. I've been a GS-7 for a month and half now and it's pretty sweet so congrats!

If you have VA disability make sure they know, you can start with 13 days of sick leave specifically for disabled VA stuff and appointments.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

life is killing me posted:

I got a D in chemistry after failing the final pretty hard. The school considers this passing, and my GPA is still above 3.0, but Iím trying to transfer to another school and Iím concerned I wonít get credit. Does this depend on the school Iím trying to transfer to? I do not want to take chem again, and at any rate the VA wonít pay for it again. Everything I can find only mentions that the VA requires maintenance of a certain GPA and doesnít mention passing or failing individual classes, but did I miss something?

I think it is going to depend on the school you transfer to. I was in a similar situation where I got a D in Circuit Theory as a Mechanical Engineer. I actually wanted to retake it during the summer with a different instructor but because a D is acceptable for graduation (vs. the ME classes that had to be a C or better) the VA wouldn't pay for it. Now this was under Voc Rehab as well, not sure if that makes any difference. I do think if this new school requires a C or better the VA would have to cover it as you would need that to graduate. Ultimately check with the new schools VA people.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

life is killing me posted:

I am also taking the path toward ME. Not sure what is in store for me there, would actually love to get some perspective on that if youíre willing.

I ended up maintaining my C. I donít know if she curved or what, but I ran out of time and straight-up just filled in scantron bubbles. This final was brutal. The grade I had seen was one sheíd mistakenly put there when checking something in my profile. Canvas has a thing where you can test out hypothetical assignment and test grades to see the potential impact on your average, and this was a real permanent grade put there by mistake because it wouldnít go away. Then she returns my email saying she hasnít finished grading yet.

What a week it wasóI had the module 4 Chem exam, and two days later the Chem final. Iím ecstatic I donít have to go through that class again, at least with her.

Yeah sure. I assume you are pretty early in the degree. Be aware that Calculus 2 is a weed out class. Generally this is where people say gently caress it and become business majors. Use whatever means available to you for help. My school (K-State) had a student support room where some students that had passed the class already had time available to be of help. Sometimes they can explain things better. If you aren't already, look into Voc Rehab if you have any sort of disability rating. They can cover the cost of tutors (as well as equipment, I got a laptop, printer and reimbursed for my wifi router when it poo poo the bed during COVID lockdown). I will admit I do not consider myself a mechanically inclined person, nor was I ever very good at math. I was stronger in English and History in high school. My motivation was I wanted a stable job for the rest of my life and so far I can say I got that. Beats retail and the uniformed Army.

There is some specialization within ME that you might want to look into. Fluids and Thermodynamics just was not my thing. I passed the necessary classes, mostly because I had a good instructor but I wanted no more of that. Nuke interested me, if I honestly thought this country might utilize more nuclear energy I would have thought about it. Especially since K-State has a nuclear reactor there. Materials science is interesting, this also covers a lot of quantum/micro machinery. I wanted to take a class on quantum mechanics but only ended up taking a class on micromachinery. Robotics and mechatronics is really cool, I took some computer and electrical engineering classes as electives to learn C and made some stuff with arduinos. I will never, ever do machine code again though, gently caress that. Took some extra machine design classes, final project was designing a brake system for a sedan which was cool. I don't understand controls at all. I think that was just my instructor being bad though. It was never really explained how it's used or why or where. We just figured out the equation and moved on.

I graduated 2 years ago, Dec 2020, still in the heart of COVID so it really sucked. My goal was to do an internship that last year but a lot of them were cancelled. Got a short summer job working at a place that makes grain dryers and helping with drawings and clerical work. Had one interview before I graduated and that was for the DOE nuclear campus in KC, MO. Didn't get it. Spent the next ~4ish months getting ghosted by everyone. Jesus loving Christ no one answered me. But I did get a job off USAJOBS for, wait for it, the Army, again. The jobs great, I hate NJ but I can deal with it. I only got the job because of my military background because I am honestly not using anything from school. Being able to understand charts and data is handy I guess. I will never integrate or derive again, unless I go for my masters. Which they will pay for.

One thing I do feel like mechanical engineering students should know, and this is from my short time in the real world after graduation is this: Look, everyone gets into engineering because we want to design poo poo. Just realize that 90% of engineer jobs are not design. They're life cycle support and maintenance. This is what I do for the Army now, it's for tank rounds so it's interesting at least. But again, I got into this for a stable job and that's what I got. It ain't exciting most of the time but it's stable. Let me know if you want me to talk about anything else, if you have questions about school or what to do after school or whatever. I can talk about USAJOBs as well.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

life is killing me posted:

Thanks! This is all awesome info. I too want a stable job (I live ten minutes from Lockheed-Martin in north Texas and they are my goal), because my current job (the company at least) isnít stable. Iím looking into a nascent company because our maintenance planner just resigned and said he would put in a good word for me as he will be a QA manager and thatís what Iím doing now. That is a meantime thing, but I am kind of excited to get with a startup aviation company that is backed by a billion-dollar investment company, if they hire me. Iím hoping to be a shoe-in there, they have no QA inspectors at this time, just management.

But all that said, Lockheed is still the ultimate goal. Right now I drive an hour to work and back. They are hiring way more engineers than aircraft mechanics right now, which is one of the reasons I decided to go for this just a year after I obtained my A&P cert.

Ok, see I spent my first couple of months looking for jobs in the Midwest, from north Texas to MN. I would also look into L3Harris. I really wanted to work for them but again I just got ghosted. After that couple of months I started looking for work all over and that's what led me to NJ (Picatinny Arsenal). You seem to be getting some experience already but definitely look into internships whenever you can. Don't wait like I did. I honestly think that is what held me back but I don't know. There is obviously a lot of government work out there as well I would recommend looking into. I think I was looking into the Red River Army Depot down there. They do stuff with vehicles from what I remember. L3Harris is all over, I was honestly hoping to talk to the one in Colorado but there are places in north Texas as well. I wanted to work on the quad NVGs but they do a lot of aviation stuff as well.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

El Mero Mero posted:

disability rating question for folks here. My dad's a vietnam era vet. After getting out he had PTSD so bad he ended up homeless for a decade or so and never even sought a rating. I got one for him 5-6 years back finally with the help of a VSO and VA gave him a 50% (PTSD service-connected, presumptive ALS/parkinsons risk non-service connected).

I've had a friend beating the drum at me telling me that that rating is too low and we should use a rating re-assessment service like vaclaimsinsider for him. I don't know if it worth it though or how to gauge whether he ended up with a way-too-low rating or one that's average/appropriate.

Any advice?

I think the thing to remember is that the rating is based off his symptoms right now. I hope he is doing better than being homeless but his times being homeless isn't going to give him 100% right now if that makes sense. Without knowing his current symptoms is would be hard to say if he could get a higher rating. There is a chart stating what symptoms warrant what percentage, here is a quick link I found on google: https://www.hillandponton.com/part4-rating-ptsd/

See the chart about half way down the page. If there is anything in the 70% and 100% that applies to him then he might warrant an increase. Documentation of it will certainly help, or statements from witnesses/people close to him. As for the services I don't know about vaclaimsinsider, I would talk with whatever VSO got him his initial rating since they should at least be familiar with him. If it's the Legion or VFW they shouldn't charge him, I don't know about the other services like the one you mentioned. Good luck, I am not a lawyer.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

lite_sleepr posted:

When does a GS start getting six hours of leave per pay period? Is it the second year?

3-15 years is six hours leave per pay period. After that it is 8 per pay period.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
Are you a vet? Your time in will count. I was active Army for 6 years so when I started my GS job I started with the 6 hours per pay period.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
Welcome to USAJobs, I love you.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
I believe Microsoft actually worked with the VA on making their adaptive controller. If Xbox isn't your thing, Sony also has their own thing going on called the Access Controller that dropped recently. I don't know much about how they work exactly but they are supposed to be highly customizable.

Like Zero said the VA might not be too much help, still try them I think. Worst they can say is no. WWP, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and maybe even IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) could be helpful. You might even try some local regional vet organizations. They tend have more of the younger vets (versus stuff like the VFW) so they will actually understand your plight. Like I am in NJ and there is a group called Warrior Strong that operates in the NJ/PA area. Maybe see if there is a veterans center in your area to find out what groups are in your area?

And you should absolutely be able to live your life to the fullest and that includes being able to tell COD pubbies that you hosed their mom. Seriously though, you know what I mean.

Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code

Eason the Fifth posted:

The PACT Act says that granulomatus disease is now presumptive. I got an X-ray and a CT scan a couple years ago that found I have granulomatus disease. However, it isn't a disability, like I don't have any major breathing problems or anything, and it isn't getting worse. Just a bunch of nodules in my lungs. Does that qualify for a VA disability claim? If so, and they send me to a C&P, would it even be worth my time to go?

I am not a lawyer nor do I work for the VA. If I remember correctly a big thing with the PACT act was you had to have a presumptive exposure to burn pits or other toxic substances. Do you have something like that? (from https://www.va.gov/resources/the-pact-act-and-your-va-benefits/)

quote:

If you served in any of these locations and time periods, weíve determined that you had exposure to burn pits or other toxins. We call this having a presumption of exposure.

On or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations:

Afghanistan
Djibouti
Egypt
Jordan
Lebanon
Syria
Uzbekistan
Yemen
The airspace above any of these locations
On or after August 2, 1990, in any of these locations:

Bahrain
Iraq
Kuwait
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The airspace above any of these locations

I think it would absolutely be worth it to go. I don't know if they would give you a percentage without some sort of symptoms but even a 0% means that they will take care of it (lol) if you end up requiring surgery or something later in life. And if it does become symptomatic (I don't know the disease, sorry) you can always get it bumped up. But there could be a set disability percentage tied to it, I don't know. Sorry, just my thoughts. Also tell them you have tinnitus because you have tinnitus.

fake edit: Quick google search of "granulomatous disease va rating" from some random blog says : Diagnostic code 6524 is used for granulomatous rhinitis, which is in the nasal cavity. It is rated at 100% for Wegner's granulomatosis or lethal midline granuloma, which are severe cases, and 20% for other types of granulomatous infections.
Could be an automatic 20%, add another 10% for tinnitus. And all the disabled bennies you can get like shopping at commissaries with a big ole beard or womanly equivalent.

SMEGMA_MAIL posted:

Has anyone been able to ever use VR&E? I was told about it and it seem great on paper, but the last time I tried to use it for classes 8 months ago they have been "still processing" as it's now been two months after the classes I was hoping would be covered by it would have started.

I think a bunch of us have used VR&E. I just finished my "case" about 3 years ago when I got my big boy job making fat stacks. Have you spoke with an actual person yet? You should have a counselor. Don't know if it's something the Legion or Amvets could help with. Maybe they could at least get you in touch with the local office? Your school VA rep might at least know some counselors as well. (I can't tell if your in school already)

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Wrong Theory
Aug 27, 2005

Satellite from days of old, lead me to your access code
Retroactive Induction is new to me. Some quick searching though (from https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/vocational-rehabilitation/eligibility/)

quote:

But if you already used other VA education benefits and we determine that youíre eligible for VR&E, we may retroactively approve your previous months of entitlement and return them to the other VA education program. This is called ďretroactive induction.Ē Ask your VRC if you meet the eligibility criteria for a retroactive induction.

Sounds like you need to get in VR&E and then discuss it with your counselor. Don't know if there would be a way to contact a counselor first and discuss it but you should really sign up for VR&E if you are eligible.

Bare in mind the reason why a lot of us push vets to get in VR&E (formerly Voc Rehab I guess) is because, and this is how it was explained to me, once you are in the program you are in for life. The example told me was of a Vietnam vet who drove a truck his whole career, as he got older his body couldn't handle it so he went to then Voc Rehab and they asked him what he wanted and what he could do. He asked to be a social worker and they sent him off to school to become one. No idea if it was shitthatdidn'thappen.txt but it sounds like they will be there to make sure you get and stay employed throughout your life.

I will tell you my experience, that is relevant as of probably around 6 years ago. How much is changed I don't know. When you finally get in you will have to take a general knowledge test, take it seriously. They use this to determine if you can actually accomplish what you say you want to do. If you do bad and say you want to be a doctor, they probably won't agree to the plan. They will also ask you to research a couple jobs that you would like to do. Something from LinkedIn or Indeed will work. Then you look at government websites and determine what the demand is going to be by the time you graduate, if school is your thing. I remember I had like 2 engineering jobs (Mechanical and Optical) and a photojournalist job as well. We decided on Mechanical Engineering. Photojournalism wasn't really in demand and optical engineering was too niche (great pay, too few openings). So I went Mechanical.

I went to community college first to get my math skills up mostly then I transferred to a state school. My counselor got me a laptop and printer from the school computer store. I also got $75 to spend on supplies at the store each semester. Now I had used like 2 years of my GI BILL already at this point on a different, worthless art degree* so my counselor added more GI BILL months to pay for my school. I basically never even used anything I had left, still have like 2 years left. I did get the monthly stipend, to get it you need at least 1 day of GI BILL benefits left. I was also told by my counselor that if something came up that would interfere with my schooling they could help. Example she gave me was if I have a toothache that is making me miss class they will pay for the dentist visits. Same way if you have disabilities that will interfere with your program they are supposed to help.

* Please don't go to art school, especially not a for profit. If you are interested in the film industry just ask and I will tell you what I know.

I graduated and it took 6 months to land a job (yay covid), that was 2.5 years ago and in 6 more months I will be making six figures. Barely but still. Dollar Dollar Bill Y'all.

Now school is not the only option. If you don't want to go back to school they are supposed to help in whatever will make you either employable or self sustainable. Like if you were a photographer by trade and needed studio equipment or software or something they are supposed to help you out. Your counselor has to agree to this though.

Does anyone remember the website that was searchable for Voc Rehab decisions? Supposedly if you could find a situation in this database you could use it as evidence to get them to support your chosen program (like the photographer thing above). Supposedly people have gotten equipment to become small business people. If I find the website I will let y'all know.

SMEGMA, are you in like a high volume area or something? 8 Months sounds excessive. Of course 10 years ago that would sound about right. If you know where the physical office is you could go there and try to schedule something with someone. I really don't know what to do for you. Is there a help number on the website you signed up on? I still say hit up the Legion or something. They know how this voodoo works. The reason why I was trying to get you in touch with a counselor is I believe they can look up what your status is.

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