I don't know anything about California or Veterans but here in Texas there's a program in Galveston where you can do radiation therapy without ARRT. It takes 2 years (6 semesters) if you haven't been through an accredited xray program. If you already have, then you can do the rad therapy program in 4 semesters (1.5 years) and end up making like $70k/year. So...explore your options, maybe you can do something like that in CA.
Both of my parents are Navy Veterans. My mom enlisted from Texas so she gets 150 public school college credits free at any TX college. Also, she qualified for some other Veteran program right now so she doesn't have to use those credits (the Hazlewood Act). She gets paid $1500/month to go to school, as long as she passes her classes she doesn't have to pay it back. Not sure what program that is. She worked for over a decade as an Autocad Drafter, but all the jobs were outsourced overseas and she was unemployed for 3 years. Now she's 57 and trying to go back to school.
Maybe you could find a job getting paid under the table? All the jobs I see and apply for require ARRT here. But I have a classmate (had a D.U.I. and all kinds of issues with the law) but he worked in some kind of emergency clinic. Paid under the table like $15/hour. But then they went out of business and he lost his job :(
It's not just our field that is getting more and more stringent. Lots of careers are beginning to require Bachelors degrees. My last hospital started requiring RNs to have Bachelor degrees to be "level III" which is the most seniority and pay. My co-worker had worked there for 2 or 3 decades and is in her 60s...she wasn't going back to school! So they demoted her to level II and cut her wages.
Do yourself a favor and try to go back to school sooner rather than later so you don't end up like my mom and coworker. I'm sorry to hear ARRT didn't recognize your training...that really sucks. I wish you all the best.