If I am 100% P&T (mental health), can I start working and not have the rating reduced/re-examined?

brohammer

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I am finding very conflicting information on this. I want to work, I have been out of work for 6 months, I had one job after the military and I lost it due to the disability. I feel as if I am in a decent enough place mentally to start work, I recently received a tentative offer for employment for a GS-9 job, however this is a one-year term job. My concern is if I take this job, am able to keep it for the year, this could be used as 'material' evidence that I have improved in my condition(s). I am going through a counselor through the VA and seeing a psychiatrist, if I started work, they would be well aware. So I am worried that since I may be able to keep the job for a year, my rating could be re-evaluated and I could also be unemployed in the same time frame as it is a term job. I understand that even with a permanent rating, the VA can still re-rate your conditions at any time.

I am also 100% DoD PDRL. Ive had both these ratings for a short period of time (about 4 months). I don't want to lose them because, due to my diagnosis and the fact that my security clearance was taken away, I have lost a LOT of job opportunities, particularly jobs that I am interested in, so I feel like I need to be careful when seeking employment. I can't work any job that was related to my military job due to the clearance issue, and many GS jobs that I am interested in require a SEC or above clearance. I also cannot go into firefighting, law enforcement, commercial flying, truck driving, heavy equip, because of my medical background. I am very limited in the jobs that I can and WANT to do. I want to approach this carefully, so I don't shoot myself in the foot. I don't feel as if I have to just take whatever job I can get, because of the conditions that were caused by the military, and potentially lose the compensation.

Lastly, I am curious what 'gainful' employment implies...is a term job considered substantially gainful employment? Since it is limited to one year, am I taking a risk but accepting the job?

Thank you
 

THolleyH46

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I am 100% permanent and total for mental health and I have recently returned to work. I am at a GS 9 job too. I asked my Voc rehab counselor if I would lose my rating and she said no. I see VA docs too. I told my therapist I went back to work.

If you are permanent and total no re-evaluation is scheduled but I have heard conflicting info on this. Some people say if you are 100% for mental illness you can’t possibly work. It took me a long time to get here. I have had my rating for over 7 years.

Working is hard with a mental illness and I got a government job and self disclosed my illness. Significant Psychiatric disorder.

I would rather be still flying for a living but that dream is dead. I am on so much medication and my diagnosis is permanently disqualifying.

Good luck.
 

oddpedestrian

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By law no doubt you can be CUE for working with a 100% MH rating no one you met knows because they legally don't make the decision the RSVR and RO director will.
 

tony292

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It’s hard to justify a 100% rating while still working. To hold down a job you must be able to know your own name and job title (occupation)... and how do you hold down a job if you have Hallucinations and delusions? How do you work if you can’t even perform activities of daily living such as minimal hygiene? How do you show up to work on time every day if you have disorientation to time and place? How does your employer justify employing you if you are a persistent danger to harming yourself or others?

How does it make sense that someone can meet the following criteria and still be able to work? Logic dictates that you can’t meet this criteria and still work, unless there was some mistake...

Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as:
gross impairment in thought processes or communication;
persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate
behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent
inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance
of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory
loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name 100%
 
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THolleyH46

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I am schizophrenic. I am constantly paranoid and delusional. I hallucinate too but it’s mostly controlled with medication. I worked when I got out of the military and was undermedicated and psychotic and paranoid as hell. I worked. I went from job to job because I couldn’t keep one and was in and out of psych hospitals. I was very unstable.

It took over a year to get my VA rating. If I wouldn’t have worked me and my family would have been in the street.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I am giving up SSDI this month. My reviews were set for every seven years. If I just sit around waiting to get better I will be waiting all my life.

You can be disabled and still function. I am working for much less money than my education and experience are worth but I know I am disabled.

You can never stop trying to get better. Unfortunately there is no cure for schizophrenia. I will be incredibly sick until the day I die.

Reach for your goals despite your illness. Don’t give up on yourself.
 

brohammer

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I am 100% permanent and total for mental health and I have recently returned to work. I am at a GS 9 job too. I asked my Voc rehab counselor if I would lose my rating and she said no. I see VA docs too. I told my therapist I went back to work.

If you are permanent and total no re-evaluation is scheduled but I have heard conflicting info on this. Some people say if you are 100% for mental illness you can’t possibly work. It took me a long time to get here. I have had my rating for over 7 years.

Working is hard with a mental illness and I got a government job and self disclosed my illness. Significant Psychiatric disorder.

I would rather be still flying for a living but that dream is dead. I am on so much medication and my diagnosis is permanently disqualifying.

Good luck.
So I am confused, why did you not getting a rating if you were medboarded out? Judging by your other post you said it took a year to get a VA rating? Did you get the GS-9 job through your VOC-rehab or schedule-A? I completely understand on the flying aspect, I am a pilot as well (not commercially) and I can't pursue it any further because of the medical background.
 

brohammer

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By law no doubt you can be CUE for working with a 100% MH rating no one you met knows because they legally don't make the decision the RSVR and RO director will.
Can you clarify this? I can be CUE for working?

Some places I read it is ok to work while 100% as long as you are not TDIU. Then other places I read that does not apply to mental health disabilities. I am confused on this.
 

THolleyH46

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I did go through IDES. The base I was at didn’t use it at the time. They were legacy. I asked for permanent limited duty when I retired and after that the VA told me my rating wasn’t good anymore and I had to reapply.
 

johnbgately

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If the DVA has made a decision that you are 100% disabled and that rating is permanent and total, they have made a conscious decision that you will not be scheduled for future examinations. I respectfully disagree with the CUE analysis provided above as there would have to be evidence of such error at the time of the adjudication and not based upon subsequent improvement. Under 38 C.F.R. § 3.105(a), VA must reverse or amend a prior decision "[w]here evidence establishes [CUE]." The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) defines a determination of CUE in a prior adjudication to mean that: (1) "[e]ither the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied," (2) the error must be "undebatable" and of the sort "which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time it was made," and (3) a "determination that there was [CUE] must be based on the record and the law that existed at the time of the prior ... decision." Russell v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 310, 313-14 (1992). So, CUE would be an issue if you were working at the time of the C&P exams and failed to disclose this fact; otherwise, you should be in good shape as no future exams are scheduled under P&T decisions.
 

THolleyH46

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So I am confused, why did you not getting a rating if you were medboarded out? Judging by your other post you said it took a year to get a VA rating? Did you get the GS-9 job through your VOC-rehab or schedule-A? I completely understand on the flying aspect, I am a pilot as well (not commercially) and I can't pursue it any further because of the medical background.
I have flown a sport plane about 3 times since I got sick. You just need a drivers license. I got sick in 2008 and haven’t really flown since then.

I have a commercial pilots license for helicopters and multi engine airplanes I can’t use.

I did get my airframe and power plant license since I have gotten sick so I am also a licensed mechanic. If that paid better I would do that.

I went through Voc Rehab but I found my GS job on my own. I have been trying to get one since 2012 and had no luck. 6 weeks ago I was offered 4 of them.

The Air Force offered me a GS 12 job managing an airfield but it was far from my home. So I took a GS 9 job in my hometown. If I make it through the probation year I will get GS 11. I will be happy with that.
 

brohammer

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If the DVA has made a decision that you are 100% disabled and that rating is permanent and total, they have made a conscious decision that you will not be scheduled for future examinations. I respectfully disagree with the CUE analysis provided above as there would have to be evidence of such error at the time of the adjudication and not based upon subsequent improvement. Under 38 C.F.R. § 3.105(a), VA must reverse or amend a prior decision "[w]here evidence establishes [CUE]." The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) defines a determination of CUE in a prior adjudication to mean that: (1) "[e]ither the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied," (2) the error must be "undebatable" and of the sort "which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time it was made," and (3) a "determination that there was [CUE] must be based on the record and the law that existed at the time of the prior ... decision." Russell v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 310, 313-14 (1992). So, CUE would be an issue if you were working at the time of the C&P exams and failed to disclose this fact; otherwise, you should be in good shape as no future exams are scheduled under P&T decisions.

Thank you, appreciate the feedback, this certainly helps!
 

brohammer

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I have flown a sport plane about 3 times since I got sick. You just need a drivers license. I got sick in 2008 and haven’t really flown since then.

I have a commercial pilots license for helicopters and multi engine airplanes I can’t use.

I did get my airframe and power plant license since I have gotten sick so I am also a licensed mechanic. If that paid better I would do that.

I went through Voc Rehab but I found my GS job on my own. I have been trying to get one since 2012 and had no luck. 6 weeks ago I was offered 4 of them.

The Air Force offered me a GS 12 job managing an airfield but it was far from my home. So I took a GS 9 job in my hometown. If I make it through the probation year I will get GS 11. I will be happy with that.

Yeah I may have to go to a sport plane, I have a good med card for a few more years, but after that I will have to fly sport. Sorry to hear you didn't go through the newer IDES, I am glad you were able to eventually get the correct rating. So in your opinion, is it worth taking a GS9 term job? Do you think it would help to get other GS jobs? It doesn't sit well with me that its just one year, but I don't have anything else going on right now. So having that huge gap in employment was not an issue for getting your current GS job, or you were working other jobs?

Thank for the insight
 

THolleyH46

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Yeah I may have to go to a sport plane, I have a good med card for a few more years, but after that I will have to fly sport. Sorry to hear you didn't go through the newer IDES, I am glad you were able to eventually get the correct rating. So in your opinion, is it worth taking a GS9 term job? Do you think it would help to get other GS jobs? It doesn't sit well with me that its just one year, but I don't have anything else going on right now. So having that huge gap in employment was not an issue for getting your current GS job, or you were working other jobs?

Thank for the insight
While I was on Social Security I got stable and went back to school so I got a third degree so I only had like a year of gaps on my resume. I really had more but I went TDRL in 2012 and PDRL in 2014. So I just put 2014 for the end of my military career. It doesn’t match my DD 214 though. I did attempt to work all that time but like I said I went from job to job and I didn’t have any good references.

I went back to work in March for the Census Bureau and it was a temporary job so I was worried about it and losing my SSDI for a temporary job. The GS 9 job I have I am on probation but if I succeed it will be permanent so that’s something you have to consider if it’s worth it. I am willing to risk it at this point but I know it will be hard. I have to sleep 10 to 11 hours a day now or I get symptomatic with active psychosis. In the Marines 5 hours of sleep and I was good.

I used up my trial work period in 2017 and 2018. I worked as an aircraft mechanic for 6 months in 2017 and I had a part time government contract job that paid $400 a day so I had that also for experience on my resume. It was a month at a time but only three times a year. If I could have made that full time I would have.

I think it’s wrong for people to tell you to abandon your dreams because of a label.

The worst thing that can happen is the VA lowers your rating. I would just try to find a more stressful job then which certainly wouldn’t be good for my condition and I would probably relapse. But I have been there many times before. What’s one more trip to the psych ward.

If you ever want to chat just pm me.
 

brohammer

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While I was on Social Security I got stable and went back to school so I got a third degree so I only had like a year of gaps on my resume. I really had more but I went TDRL in 2012 and PDRL in 2014. So I just put 2014 for the end of my military career. It doesn’t match my DD 214 though. I did attempt to work all that time but like I said I went from job to job and I didn’t have any good references.

I went back to work in March for the Census Bureau and it was a temporary job so I was worried about it and losing my SSDI for a temporary job. The GS 9 job I have I am on probation but if I succeed it will be permanent so that’s something you have to consider if it’s worth it. I am willing to risk it at this point but I know it will be hard. I have to sleep 10 to 11 hours a day now or I get symptomatic with active psychosis. In the Marines 5 hours of sleep and I was good.

I used up my trial work period in 2017 and 2018. I worked as an aircraft mechanic for 6 months in 2017 and I had a part time government contract job that paid $400 a day so I had that also for experience on my resume. It was a month at a time but only three times a year. If I could have made that full time I would have.

I think it’s wrong for people to tell you to abandon your dreams because of a label.

The worst thing that can happen is the VA lowers your rating. I would just try to find a more stressful job then which certainly wouldn’t be good for my condition and I would probably relapse. But I have been there many times before. What’s one more trip to the psych ward.

If you ever want to chat just pm me.

Well the job I am looking at is a term one, not a probation type where I could become full time. That is my biggest concern, if I do find that I can work, I will be out of work after that year and potentially have a lower VA rating. It is a risk, I am still weighing it out.
 

THolleyH46

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Well the job I am looking at is a term one, not a probation type where I could become full time. That is my biggest concern, if I do find that I can work, I will be out of work after that year and potentially have a lower VA rating. It is a risk, I am still weighing it out.
There lies the problem. If you don’t try you won’t know. That’s why I took the Census job. I thought it would give me experience and lead to other federal jobs. Ironically as soon as I started the Census job I got offered 3 other federal jobs. I think it would be a good stepping stone.

Federal jobs are hard to get.

Why don’t you apply for SSDI? My SSDI is almost as much as I am bringing home as a GS-9. Honestly if I stayed on SSDI and worked at McDonald’s part time I would be bringing home more money.

But I am paying into another retirement system and the TSP. So I am willing to risk it. I will get Social Security back hopefully when I retire again if it doesn’t go broke.

I applied for SSDI late in the game and after about 7 failed work attempts. I refused to believe I was sick and had a problem the first several years. It only took about 3 months to get SSDI and I didn’t need a lawyer or anything.
 

brohammer

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There lies the problem. If you don’t try you won’t know. That’s why I took the Census job. I thought it would give me experience and lead to other federal jobs. Ironically as soon as I started the Census job I got offered 3 other federal jobs. I think it would be a good stepping stone.

Federal jobs are hard to get.

Why don’t you apply for SSDI? My SSDI is almost as much as I am bringing home as a GS-9. Honestly if I stayed on SSDI and worked at McDonald’s part time I would be bringing home more money.

But I am paying into another retirement system and the TSP. So I am willing to risk it. I will get Social Security back hopefully when I retire again if it doesn’t go broke.

I applied for SSDI late in the game and after about 7 failed work attempts. I refused to believe I was sick and had a problem the first several years. It only took about 3 months to get SSDI and I didn’t need a lawyer or anything.

Well I worry about both getting the VA rating dropped and then being out of work, or being fired if my symptoms start acting up and then having my job record tarnished. I thought with SSDI, you were not able to apply if you are receiving VA monies?
 

brohammer

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If the DVA has made a decision that you are 100% disabled and that rating is permanent and total, they have made a conscious decision that you will not be scheduled for future examinations. I respectfully disagree with the CUE analysis provided above as there would have to be evidence of such error at the time of the adjudication and not based upon subsequent improvement. Under 38 C.F.R. § 3.105(a), VA must reverse or amend a prior decision "[w]here evidence establishes [CUE]." The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) defines a determination of CUE in a prior adjudication to mean that: (1) "[e]ither the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator or the statutory or regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied," (2) the error must be "undebatable" and of the sort "which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time it was made," and (3) a "determination that there was [CUE] must be based on the record and the law that existed at the time of the prior ... decision." Russell v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 310, 313-14 (1992). So, CUE would be an issue if you were working at the time of the C&P exams and failed to disclose this fact; otherwise, you should be in good shape as no future exams are scheduled under P&T decisions.

While the CUE is likely not an issue I do still concern of getting re-evaluated just do to this information:

The VA can change your rate, but can remove it only if they can prove fraud, after a certain amount of time.
https://themilitarywallet.com/can-the-va-reduce-disability-benefits/
Certain VA disability benefits are considered Protected Ratings, according to the VA (though others say the term “protected” is a misnomer). This is where it helps to be able to find and read the appropriate regulations or find an expert who can help you through the task. Here is a document that quotes some of the ratings protections for the 10- and 20-year rules (Word doc on VA site).
  • 5-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 5 years, it cannot be reduced unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis (The VA must have documentation supporting this is a permanent improvement).
  • 10-year rule: A service connected disability rating cannot be terminated if it has been in effect for 10 years. Compensation can be reduced if evidence exists that the condition has improved. The sole exception is if the VA can prove fraud, in which case the VA can terminate the benefits.
  • 20-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 20 years, it cannot be reduced below the lowest rating it has held for the previous 20 years. The only exception is if the VA can prove fraud.
  • 100% rule: The VA must prove your medical situation has materially improved and as a result, you are able to perform substantial work.


My only concern is taking the term job and losing it after one year as that is when the contract would end and then also having rating being reduced, as I was able to stay employed for one year (if that happens). Although this scenario is all speculation, from everything I have read it is unlikely I would be re-evaluated even if working, but that it is possible.
 

THolleyH46

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Of course you can apply for SSDI. You can get both. VA and Social Security. If you only got rated 4 months ago you are probably not that stable. If you are 100% VA and 100% DoD it shouldn’t be that hard to get

Only you can be the judge on whether or not you are ready to work. I thought I was several times and I wasn’t. I got a job in 2013 that was paying me $90,000 per year. I lasted 6 weeks. I have tried getting another job with that company. 2013 has been a while ago. They won’t touch me.

My wife doesn’t think I will last at the job I am at now either but I am going to try.
 

tony292

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While the CUE is likely not an issue I do still concern of getting re-evaluated just do to this information:

The VA can change your rate, but can remove it only if they can prove fraud, after a certain amount of time.


https://themilitarywallet.com/can-the-va-reduce-disability-benefits/



Certain VA disability benefits are considered Protected Ratings, according to the VA (though others say the term “protected” is a misnomer). This is where it helps to be able to find and read the appropriate regulations or find an expert who can help you through the task. Here is a document that quotes some of the ratings protections for the 10- and 20-year rules (Word doc on VA site).






  • 5-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 5 years, it cannot be reduced unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis (The VA must have documentation supporting this is a permanent improvement).
  • 10-year rule: A service connected disability rating cannot be terminated if it has been in effect for 10 years. Compensation can be reduced if evidence exists that the condition has improved. The sole exception is if the VA can prove fraud, in which case the VA can terminate the benefits.
  • 20-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 20 years, it cannot be reduced below the lowest rating it has held for the previous 20 years. The only exception is if the VA can prove fraud.
  • 100% rule: The VA must prove your medical situation has materially improved and as a result, you are able to perform substantial work.



My only concern is taking the term job and losing it after one year as that is when the contract would end and then also having rating being reduced, as I was able to stay employed for one year (if that happens). Although this scenario is all speculation, from everything I have read it is unlikely I would be re-evaluated even if working, but that it is possible.

If I were you I’d be worried about the “100% rule”. If they find out your working and able to keep a job they could reduce the rating.

I say if you have tricare, use it! Getting away from VA psych doctors helps you in several ways. First you don’t see them, they’ll never know your working. Second, you can get better care outside the VA, they can prescribe you things that VA can’t because they aren’t in the VA “formulary”... I am now on trintellix that the VA could not prescribe, but civilian doctors can. Last, the civilian doctors don’t have any agenda, like VA doctors may have. They have to actually perform!

I’ll give some examples:

VA ENT said I’m not a good candidate for sleep apnea surgery, civilian ENT has done septioplasty and will do a tonsillectomy in 2 months, septioplasty has already improved my sleep apnea, I sleep much better.

vA mental health could not prescribe lunesta above 2 mg and above 20 days a month, civilian doc prescribed 3 mg all 30 days of the month. So I’m no longer running out of insomnia meds and simply not sleeping a third of the month anymore

VA can’t prescribe trintellix and lots of other newer psych and other expensive meds, they stick to the cheap/old meds and can’t go outside the “formulary”.

VA PCM refused to prescribe both high blood pressure and cholesterol meds, even though my BP was as high as 186/121. She just said I needed to lose weight, and VA wouldn’t even take responsibility because some of the meds they prescribed like depakote are know to cause weight gain. Civilian doc had no issues prescribing cholesterol and BP meds and now that I’m off depakote I’ve lost 15 pounds!!!

I could go on and on. The point is if you’re 100% PT with no future exams scheduled, get away from VA docs... there are many reasons to switch and none to stay...
 

brohammer

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If I were you I’d be worried about the “100% rule”. If they find out your working and able to keep a job they could reduce the rating.

I say if you have tricare, use it! Getting away from VA psych doctors helps you in several ways. First you don’t see them, they’ll never know your working. Second, you can get better care outside the VA, they can prescribe you things that VA can’t because they aren’t in the VA “formulary”... I am now on trintellix that the VA could not prescribe, but civilian doctors can. Last, the civilian doctors don’t have any agenda, like VA doctors may have. They have to actually perform!

I’ll give some examples:

VA ENT said I’m not a good candidate for sleep apnea surgery, civilian ENT has done septioplasty and will do a tonsillectomy in 2 months, septioplasty has already improved my sleep apnea, I sleep much better.

vA mental health could not prescribe lunesta above 2 mg and above 20 days a month, civilian doc prescribed 3 mg all 30 days of the month. So I’m no longer running out of insomnia meds and simply not sleeping a third of the month anymore

VA can’t prescribe trintellix and lots of other newer psych and other expensive meds, they stick to the cheap/old meds and can’t go outside the “formulary”.

VA PCM refused to prescribe both high blood pressure and cholesterol meds, even though my BP was as high as 186/121. She just said I needed to lose weight, and VA wouldn’t even take responsibility because some of the meds they prescribed like depakote are know to cause weight gain. Civilian doc had no issues prescribing cholesterol and BP meds and now that I’m off depakote I’ve lost 15 pounds!!!

I could go on and on. The point is if you’re 100% PT with no future exams scheduled, get away from VA docs... there are many reasons to switch and none to stay...

Yes, the 100% rule is what I am concerned of. Even if say I got to a place where I was good enough to hold a job for some time, I will never get my clearance back, but can still have my rating reduced. It is not really fair. I agree that many times the VA or military docs have an agenda, it was very apparent when I went to the hospital following my deployment. I don't really know how to back out of the VA gracefully and get new docs, without it looking bad on my record. I may be just thinking too much and it would not effect it at all.

Also given that statistically, only .02% of security clearances are denied, suspended or revoked, based on mental health alone and that it happened to me...makes me weary even though the statistics of getting re-evaluated with P&T is showing that it likely won't happen. My luck hasn't been so great in the past. I am going to try to call the DAV when they are open tomorrow to see if I can get any last minute information before saying yay or nay on the job.
 
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