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  1. #1

    Default Eligibility for V.A. Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

    I need some savvy interpretation skills to help me out. I'm trying to pursue flight training under Chapter 31. I found an accredited program that requires flight time, but I don't already have a private pilot license. The counselor is saying I need a private license first, but has yet to produce a reg that states otherwise.

    So far I've found these regs:

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/21.134
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/21.4235

    According to 21-134 flight training is authorized as long as it's part of a degree requirement, everything else should be the same as Chapter 30. Then 21-4235 says you can get the private as long as it's a degree requirement.

    The only documentation that the counselor has given to support what they are saying is the M28. Apparently this is their operations manual.

    M28R, Part V, Section A, Chapter1
    https://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/M28R.asp

    Page 1-40 of that section details flight training. They say that they can't approve flight training unless the veteran already has a private pilot license, and they reference 21-4235(a)(1) but they completely leave out the paragraph (f) exemption.

    How can they just pick and choose what part of the law they want to include? This would be like a 12 year old making a case that they can legally drink alcohol because alcohol is legal, all you have to do is leave out that little tid bit about there being an age requirement and voila!!! I have been assuming this whole time that my plan will get denied and I'll have to appeal. I'm looking to get the opinion of someone who knows this kind of stuff, what do you think the odds are for winning an appeal in this scenario? Any help would be amazing!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,595

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    (1) An individual who is eligible for educational assistance under 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606 or 38 U.S.C. chapter 30, 32, or 35 is exempt from the provisions of paragraphs (a)(2) through (d) of this section when his or her courses include flight training that is part of a program of education that leads to a standard college degree.

    The Private Pilot certificate requirement is in (a)(1) which is not part of the exemption based on my reading of the statute. That is probably their interpretation as well.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    (1) An individual who is eligible for educational assistance under 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606 or 38 U.S.C. chapter 30, 32, or 35 is exempt from the provisions of paragraphs (a)(2) through (d) of this section when his or her courses include flight training that is part of a program of education that leads to a standard college degree.

    The Private Pilot certificate requirement is in (a)(1) which is not part of the exemption based on my reading of the statute. That is probably their interpretation as well.
    Yes that is their EXACT interpretation!!! They are saying you aren't being exempted from (a)(1). What I'm saying is that (a) exempts you from (a)(1) as long as you're pursuing benefits under paragraph (f)

    "Except when enrolled in a ground instructor certification course or when pursuing flight training under paragraph (f) of this section, the individual must -

    (1) Possess a valid private pilot certificate or higher pilot certificate such as a commercial pilot certificate"

    So it makes more sense when you say it in a different order. You do require a private pilot cert "unless" you are pursuing under para (f), they are just conveniently leaving out the unless, or except in this case. Am I understanding that completely wrong, it seems logical. Why wouldn't they just come right out and have a law that says absolutely no training until you get the private? They leave all of this room for interpretation and that's how I'm interpreting it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,661

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Why wouldn't they just come right out and have a law that says absolutely no training until you get the private?
    Here's why:

    "For far too long, Congress and the state legislatures have been filled with men and women who are either unable or unwilling to write laws with the care and precision necessary to make them plain and unambiguous. It takes a lot of time and hard work to carefully draft a criminal law so that it is directed specifically at the kind of misconduct that Congress means to forbid. It is so much easier to write the statute as broadly as possible and let the courts try to sort out the mess." (Duane, James. You Have the Right to Remain Innocent (pp. 15-16). Little A. Kindle Edition.)

    That doesn't apply only to criminal statutes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,651

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    This isn't knew and when they changed it in the '70s it pretty much killed off all of the small mom-n-pop flight schools in the country.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    One of the most ridiculous aspects of the whole situation is that they are saying they will pay for you to get a private license after you've already gotten one first. This translates into a huge waste of time and money because most Bachelor's programs make you take their specific private pilot course even if you already have one! Not to mention this is a program that was allegedly designed to get you into a vocation, so now I have to go in debt just to start training all because of a ridiculously worded law!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,651

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Sorry, but this make total sense. VA will only pay for training that is in the pursuit of a certificate that is vocational. So you pay for the Private Certificate and if you then continue for the certificates and received them they pay for the cost of the previous time.

    I've never been a fan of most of the college run programs (there are exceptions) because they take too many hours, especially at the beginning, and they produce pilots that don't fly light aircraft properly.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Sorry, but this make total sense. VA will only pay for training that is in the pursuit of a certificate that is vocational. So you pay for the Private Certificate and if you then continue for the certificates and received them they pay for the cost of the previous time.

    I've never been a fan of most of the college run programs (there are exceptions) because they take too many hours, especially at the beginning, and they produce pilots that don't fly light aircraft properly.
    I wouldn't say it makes total sense, especially being that the law is written that they pay for a private as long as it's part of a degree program! I understand the logic behind them not wanting to fund a private cert all by itself, but that's not what is happening here. Why else even include paragraph (f)? And why even mention the exception in (a)? It looks to me like they are using a weak argument to screw people out of flight training plain and simple! Now I just need to find a lawyer who sees my logic in this who wants to help set a precedent, especially being that we're on the verge of a huge pilot shortage!
    Also as far as colleges taking too many hours, you'd have to elaborate. The VA only approves flight training under part 141 which actually takes less hours than part 61. And as I'm understanding it they will only pay for the amount of flight time required, and they won't exceed that amount.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,651

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Yes a part 141 school is allowed by law do less hours for any given certificate. In fact, and especially at the Private certificate level, I've seen and heard them take much longer. Again it is depending on the school. It doesn't seem to be as much of a problem at the schools with large training programs.


    I just realized that your post has the subject "Va Vocational Rehabilitation". Do you have a medical condition that might preclude you from attaining an FAA Class 1 medical?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Va Vocational Rehabilitation

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Yes a part 141 school is allowed by law do less hours for any given certificate. In fact, and especially at the Private certificate level, I've seen and heard them take much longer. Again it is depending on the school. It doesn't seem to be as much of a problem at the schools with large training programs.


    I just realized that your post has the subject "Va Vocational Rehabilitation". Do you have a medical condition that might preclude you from attaining an FAA Class 1 medical?
    That would only come into play years from now if I want to pursue an airline job. For the program you only need a 2nd class.

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