Working with Disabled American Veterans

Over the past decade, my work with disabled Veterans in the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program has been the highlight of my time at Disability Network/Lakeshore. It has been my privilege to be part of their recovery and to support them in any way I can.

With many of my Veterans, Work Assessment (WA) is the primary service I provide. Under the WA program, I assist the Veteran in finding work, then meet weekly with his or her supervisor to determine whether that Veteran is capable of taking on additional responsibilities if the quality of work being completed is acceptable and whether there are accommodations needed to make the job easier. If the Veteran completes the Assessment phase of the program, he or she may be hired into that company. If the Veteran’s health issues prevent him or her from successfully integrating into that company, then the VA steps in and increases his or her level of disability, and financial compensation is increased accordingly.

Many Veterans who are not capable of working come to DNL for Peer Support Services. Oftentimes it is to determine if assistive technology (A.T.) devices can prove helpful to them in managing their activities of daily living, or to help them identify resources so they can meet specific goals, such as returning to school or participating in a specific activity again. I work with these individuals providing encouragement, support, and resources to help them reach their goals. I may assist the Veteran in finding a study group to help with a difficult college course or determine that the A.T. item the VA purchased for them requires an adjustment in order to be most effective. I may suggest a variety of coping techniques the Veteran can apply in managing health issues, or connect him or her with resources in the community that will enhance that individual’s life in some way.

It has been so enjoyable to be a part of the lives of these heroes who have given so much to our country. To be able to help them reorient into civilian society is my way of giving back in a very small way to the price they have paid for our freedom. It is an honor to work at Disability Network/Lakeshore and to be a part of this work.

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