VAC University Education Issues

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VAC University Education Issues

Post by Idioventricular Rhythm on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 21:51

Good evening and a thank you in advance to anyone that can offer any advice.


I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010 and received a pension and completed my education at a local college to become a paramedic. From the point of graduation on, I worked full time as a paramedic. The lifestyle and profession continued to exacerbate my anxiety and depression along with my comorbid insomnia/sleeping issues. While working I began taking some university courses part-time and did quite well in them. During this time period it became apparent that I needed to leave my current job and re-evaluate my current situation, as the ill effects of my current profession were beginning to take a toll on me physically as well on my psyche (began developing hypertension, chronic headache, and other physical symptoms).

I wound up back in Ontario and VAC agreed that the profession that I had chosen was done without much foresight and was obviously a hinderance to my PTSD and it's related mental health issues. I re-entered the rehab program in October of 2015 and began the process of seeing my psychologists more frequently and exploring avenues that would make for a more sound environment for me professionally in the future to overcome this mess.

As I had been doing well in my university studies in Alberta before moving back to Ontario, I took it upon myself to enroll at York University in Toronto. I knew from my past experience that for me personally, sitting idly by while I waited on VAC would be deleterious to my psychological well-being. During this time I was formally assessed by the March of Dimes here in Barrie to test my aptitudes, psycho- vocational options, etc. The psychologist who formally marks the testing determined that I tested somewhat high in many of the areas tested and felt that I would be best suited to continue in university. His formal recommendation was 4-6 years of university study.

I provided March of Dimes with the three professions that I would be comfortable doing as they requested and all seemed well. I finished the semester with an A+ average and continued my treatment with my psychologists. During this time I was also approved for the PIA but I didn't feel that I fulfilled the criteria for the TPI designation so I didn't pursue it. My goal was to finish my education and during this time, finally concur this PTSD and move on the best I could with my life while still seeking out long-term psychotherapy.

As VAC stated that I would be reimbursed for this past semester because it fell after the date for which I was approved for school, I was sure to keep my receipts for my tuition, textbooks, etc.

They told me on numerous occasions this summer that my plan would be approved before each of the summer semesters. My school has two summer semesters so I enrolled in both but had to drop all of my classes because there was still no plan in place for me formally and I didn't have the money to pay for it out of my own pocket.

Finally this week the March of Dimes came back and said that they cannot support my university education and that I should look into taking a college/technical type education. The manager of the March of Dimes office would like me to use my "transferable skills" as a paramedic and not pursue a degree despite my identified aptitude from their testing. The manager informed me that this was a "need and not a want service" and that my undergraduate was too costly. I am a psychology major, so my program is the same price as most any undergraduate in Ontario

The reason that my case manager and my March of Dimes rep cannot approve my current plan (which they have attempted twice), is that it exceeds the maximum that they are able to approve themselves. Again, this is just a bare bones psychology undergraduate, but due to whatever the associated cost is, the March of Dimes manager is the only one that can approve my plan.

Is there any kind of action that I can take to remedy this for the future? To prevent missing another semester, I applied for OSAP as of today and hopefully it is processed before the Fall semester.

If I have to pay for my own education then so be it. I am mainly worried about other veterans in the future who will also want to take a degree/diploma but based on the cost will be told they cannot pursue something and also the fact that I don't have TPI status that I could lose my ELB, etc anytime which would make me finishing my education, at least on a full-time basis, nearly impossible.


I apologize for the length of this post but felt it was best just to get all the information out there.


Thank you.

Idioventricular Rhythm
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by bigrex on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 22:51

Unfortunately, you are not alone in this struggle. As of yet, the Liberal promise to fund a 4 year university program has not materialized, so they continue to push people into more "convenient" careers, because they do not require an expensive education. Seriously, what skills as a paramedic can be translated into a different career? What they should do, is decide how much they are willing to pay, and if the costs exceed that, the Veteran decides if they will pay the difference out of their pocket. It would be better than the veteran having to pay for their own education, in the field of their own choosing, because VAC refuses to accept that Veterans will not thrive in a career, if they are pressured into it.
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Vet1234 on Thu 11 Aug 2016, 23:14

I was approved for a 4 year economics Degree.....
they can approve it. For me, the justification was "suitable gainful employment", compared to pre-release salary wasn't possible with a 2 or 3 year college diploma. The rehab plan was close to $100,000.
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by 1993firebird on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 08:55

Rehab is $100,000.

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Vet1234 on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 09:29

I was told the maximum was $75,800, but my IVRP plan was over $90,000.
Where did you get those numbers firebird?
They also told me that they didn't cover University degrees... but then they agreed to cover one for me.
Seems like these "policies" are just guidelines and not set in stone.
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Guest on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 10:04

(3) The maximum amount that may be paid under subparagraphs (1)(a)(i) to (ix) is $75,800 unless a higher amount is necessary to enable the person to meet an occupational goal in an approved rehabilitation or vocational assistance plan.

propat

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Vet1234 on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 10:09

Well there it is. Thanks!
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Idioventricular Rhythm on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 10:43

Thank you for the information so far.

The greater concern at this point in time isn't necessarily the cost of my education, but the fear of losing my ELB before I have the education needed to move on in a new career, as I don't feel that going back to be a paramedic is a feasible option.

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Trooper on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 11:10

Your ELB will continue until you have completed your rehabilitation plan or have reached age 65.

Did you complete your rehab plan?
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Idioventricular Rhythm on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 11:35

No, I have not.

It's just more a fear of the future I suppose, as with long-term education and ELB comes some fear that it will fall out from underneath me before I complete it.

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Trooper on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 11:49

I understand your concern, this is what VAC states;

The benefit is paid until you have completed your rehabilitation plan or have reached age 65. After that, you may qualify for the Canadian Forces Income Support.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/rehabilitation/earnings-loss

The way I read that is that you will continue your ELB until you have completed your rehabilitation plan, or have reached age 65.

So as long as your on rehab, you should be OK.

As far as fearing losing your ELB payments before your education is completed, my only advice that I can offer is to keep in contact with those that are responsible for your file regarding the rehab program. They should alert you of any changes in this regard, however it's a good Idea to keep in touch with them in keeping them up to date on your quest to finish your education plan.
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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Idioventricular Rhythm on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 12:43

I do keep in touch with my CM as frequently as possible and I will be sure to continue to do so in the future.


Thank you for your help.

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by 1993firebird on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 13:04

Sorry about that everyone , I have memory loss , $75,000 , and it can also be used by a spouse if the Veterans is unable to go to school. This I know because my spouse was offered it.

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Re: VAC University Education Issues

Post by Guest on Fri 12 Aug 2016, 16:33

its all good firebird they can approve 100,000 or more if they see fit so experience will see different amounts that don't jive with the 75,8 mark .

IDIO id be working on that rehab plan with finishing your degree AS YOUR GOAL . I would stick to that goal come hell or high water . ITS YOUR PLAN make it work for you .

propat


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