13
Dec
07

90.What sort of Therapy is this? Veterans: working their way to MINIMUM WAGE?

Where does on start?  

Dear Friends,

This is going to be a series of articles on Veteran Programs that I have either analyzed or been involved with. There will also be quotes from interviews that I have conducted with certain officials of the Department of Labors at both the Federal and State levels. I have also interviewed several members of the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) on these issues. To say the least none of these groups have a clue to whats going on,

The Veterans Administration otherwise has come up with program to assist homeless and disabled veterans called Veterans Industries. This agency is an insult to ALL VETERANS.

To quote from the Veterans Administration the following for your enjoyment:

Veterans Industries

In VA’s Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence (CWT/TR) Program, disadvantaged, at-risk, and homeless veterans live in CWT/TR community-based supervised group homes while working for pay in VA’s Compensated Work Therapy Program (also known as Veterans Industries). Veterans in the CWT/TR program work about 33 hours per week, with approximate earnings of $732 per month, and pay an average of $186 per month toward maintenance and up-keep of the residence. The average length of stay is about 174 days. VA contracts with private industry and the public sector for work done by these veterans, who learn new job skills, relearn successful work habits, and regain a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. 

Wow! A program that pays a veteran $732.00 a month for working 33 hours a week?

 The mathematics here is simple. $732.00 / 4.33 (there are four and a third weeks in a month on the average) = $169.05 a week for 33 hours. Now a little further here $169.05 a week / 33 hours = $5.12 an hour! I definitely feel self esteem and social worthiness dropping among the veterans in this program. Then now we deduct $186.00 a month for maintenance expenses (greater than a weeks wages), $732.00 – $186.00 = $546.00 a month / 4.33 weeks = $126.10 a week / 33 hours = A Whopping $3.82 an hour! Oh by the way that is without deducting FICA, Social Security, Federal Witholding, State and Local Taxes.

Ok I must have missed something. I will now take my $126.10 a week (minus taxes, of course) and finish the program. It says the program is just shy of Six months at 174 days (must have earned and unpaid weeks vacation). Oh by the way there are inicidentals in life like soap, shampoo, lunch on the job site, etc.  I still now have no money.

These workers go through either Veterans Industries inside the VA, (which is a TEMPORARY STAFFING AGENCY cloaked in the form of therapy for handicapped or mentally ill veterans) Goodwill Industries which Oldtimer pointed out that they recieved a VA Grant of $1,540,000.00 from the VA to pay the veterans with I guess. Now here is some interesting math! $1,540,000.00 Grant / $5.12 an hour = 300,781.25 man hours. 300,781.25 man hours / 825 hours (avg. hours worked 33 hours @ 25 weeks by 1 veteran)= 364.6 free veterans to Goodwill Industries. I am just sick!

Now wait folks it gets even better with the veterans paying the VA $1.30 an hour from their wages for their care. That is $186.00 a month per veteran X 364.6 vets = $67,890.00 in returned grant money to the VA and the U.S. Government is teaching these veterans how to pay taxes. If Old Timers figures are correct and the VA spends 28 cents a day per veteran with these programs, then in this group the VA is making a profit.

IT IS AN INSULT THAT SINCE THIS IS CALLED “THERAPEUTIC WORK” THE VETERAN IS PAYING FOR HIS RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE For below Minimum Wage.

After this Therapeutic Work Experience and training for six months, what happens to the homeless veteran? Well based on the VA’s Chaleng Report due to lack of permanent housing for veterans since there is according to the VA only 1,780 section 8 housing vouchers for over 200,000 homeless veterans, it looks like life back on the streets normally unless one of the Faith Based or Veterans Organizations (please do not get me started on the Fraternal Veterans lack of involvement here) steps in with some form of housing.

Training in menial tasks for below minimum wage jobs does not get these veterans housing and these jobs are a joke and insult to all of our Veterans needing or requesting job training. This is just the VA’s, Congresses, and some Businesses exploitation and bias against its mentally ill, disabled and homeless veterans.

Things like this always makes me want to slap someone at the VA when they say “Thank You For Your Service”.

Wanderingvet

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5 Responses to “90.What sort of Therapy is this? Veterans: working their way to MINIMUM WAGE?”


  1. 1 tbearly
    December 13, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    And yet another self-promotion from the VA, of something very close to my heart (PTSD & TBI ed.), which deserves far more attention than its received thus far. We had better begin to get a better handle on all of this. Thought you and/or your readers might wanna take a look:

    http://www.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=256823

    Hang in there; it’s the season of hope, yes?

    -Tracy
    http://tbearly.wordpress.com

  2. 2 An American
    December 13, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I have an idea. Let one of the administrators who creates such programs go through the program to have a first hand idea how this benefits and enriches the veterans …..it’s only by “living” that idea that these folks will get a clue.
    It’s presumptive if not downright insulting to assume all veterans have skills that are at the level of minimum wages. How about teaming up with industry to fit skills wtih jobs?. Clearly, this would be more work on the part of the VA but a one job to fit all approach isn’t productive and certainly doesn’t strive for economic independence or long term success.

  3. December 15, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    The IRS and Tax Courts reversed the taxing decision on the CWT monies earned by veterans in this program. Go to http://utahstatevablog.blogspot.com/2007/12/disable-veteran-payments-ruled-tax-free.html to see the full article

    W.

  4. 4 August
    January 6, 2008 at 9:47 am

    In reality very few CWT positions come with any housing. Most veterans are warehoused in rescue missions that charge for everything and force their religion on the vets or back to the street. Who in the world considers sorting clothes at Goodwill job training? I call it slave labor. Like I’m going to apply with Intel/Cisco and tell them about my great training in sorting stained shirts and pants and expect to get a technician position with them. I want a good job and training. I’m not mental or addicted (homeless agencies/ VA just say that about the homeless; it’s a lie!) After my six month position in CWT it was back on the street and I was headed for another city, back pack and all. I’ve been through $300,000 in VA programs and still have no training in anything and still homeless. And I’m getting into another useless program by the VA; just want to tell you I do not believe in that 12 step witchcraft they force on all the veterans. All the vets want is a chance at something, but if you only knew what 20 years of being used and treated like crap does to some people you’d know why so many of us are homeless. Why is it everything but training and affordable housing? At five times the cost!

  5. 5 Vicky
    January 16, 2008 at 9:11 am

    August, after working 27 years and retired from the VA I can tell you now that the VA will never do any more for veterans than they do now. The VA is set up that even people with 30 PhDs and thousands of ideas they still have to follow the VA protocol. It does not matter if there is a better way, it can’t be done and might actually take years for one little change. We would have to send homeless patients after ongoing treatment to a local shelter we had contract beds with even though I would not even send my worst enemy to that place. In reality for the price we paid for the shelter beds we could of paid for the veteran to stay at the downtown Hilton Inn, and still save money. The VA protocol is not to trust veterans; one thing is if you go to the VA hospital anywhere- look how poor all the veterans look and then look at the staff- how preppy and snooty they are- that says the whole story. Sorry for you plight. I’ve seen veterans go through 1 million plus in programs and still nothing has changed in the veteran’s life, because the money was not spent on him.


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