From the former College Student side: Many, many years ago I was in the Regular Army. I joined within a few months after graduating from high school. My high school graduation was more of an “sort of honorable discharge” because I didn’t really do much but go to auto shop class in my senior year.
After I got out of the Army, I didn’t now what I was going to do. I figured my skills as an Infantrymen would either get me a job as a hit man for the Mafia, or into Police work. Some of my buddies from high school were going to the local Community College and said that the Administration of Justice (A.J.) classes were easy and you could meet "chicks."
(A point here, guys think about this…would you want to meet a chick who’s taking classes to become a cop?)
I was at an advantage over my friends who stayed home, getting drunk and smoking weed…I had VA benefits that would help me through college! I had it made in the shade.
I was about to learn how incompetent and fouled up one Federal organization could be on a daily basis. Almost as bad as FEMA is today.
I went to the college and talked to the college VA rep. He was pretty helpful and explained the tight procedures that I had to follow to get VA money to go to school. I was not going to be enough to live on, but my dad was going to let me rent a room from him until I could find a job etc.
I don’t remember in great detail all I had to do, but there was a lot of forms to be filled out…nothing any soldier wasn’t used to. There was an order of things to do, who to talk to, more forms, talk to this person, more forms, etc, etc.
I had a plan, filled out all the forms correctly and even spelled everything right. This was going to be easy.
I was given an approximate date, within a 4 week time frame on when I should start getting a check in the mail. It never came. I sold my favorite rifle to pay rent and buy gas. I sold tools, I was working a part time job that paid crap knowing I could count on the VA money.
I finally talked to the VA rep at the college and he let me use his phone to actually call the VA office in wheretheheck USA. I got ahold of a VA worker who must have been a brain injury patient from the VA hospital. He asked for my SS Number. I told him. I could here the keyboard on the (at the time) new computer system they were using. I could here the keys clicking away…a pause…then he’d ask: “Can you give my your SS number again?”
I did….I gave it to him 20 more times. I think each time he’d type it in, then hit “DE-f---ing-LETE” each time. After 20 tries, I suggested that he write the number on a sheet of paper. He sounded like I had just called his mother a name---and I was being nice an polite the whole time!
After 22 tries, he said: “I don’t see any files for you in our system.”
I felt like just telling him to forget it…I just spent all those years in the Army for nothing and then to have to deal with such retards was more than I could handle.
2 months later, they finally got things fixed. I almost dropped out of college, but my dad was smart enough to tell me to stay in. Things eventually got fixed and I got a little money each month. It wasn't much, but it paid for most of my college expenses.
So, for all those new former military folks going to college now and having to deal with a fu--ed up VA, just remember “The US Government, 200 years of tradition unchanged by progress.”
Never give up! Don't let the idiots win!