Top 5 Individual Unemployability Misconceptions

I recently talked with an evaluator for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The evaluator, a friendly chap, had some confusion about what the Dept of Veterans Affairs was looking for in finding disabled veterans qualified for Individual Unemployability ratings.

Here is the list of the top five reasons he thought would disqualify disabled veterans. They all center around whether or not disabled veterans could be temporarily qualified for Individual Unemployability. He thought, “No.” The VA General Counsel says, “Yes.”

What VA actual says:

Section 4.16 of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to assign a total rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU rating) based upon a veteran’s temporary (i.e., non-permanent) inability to follow a substantially gainful occupation…

Here, the Evaluator I spoke with made the following claims:

  1. Having a theory of future employment, post-rehabilitation, disqualifies veterans seeking individual umemployability because they think they will get a job at some point
  2. A college degree means veteran is employable
  3. Attending college is the same, or about the same, as having a job
  4. Ability to have a job prevents TDIU determination
  5. Shy of being a basket case, veteran could find some employment

First. There is no doubt that intelligence will allow any veteran a fighting chance at doing well in college. But college performance alone does not equal good employment performance or mean the disabled veteran will have an ability to get an offer after an interview or to land an interview.

Irrational exuberance at the prospect of future employment seems more like a theoretical hope than a practical conclusion.

No one can tell the future without a crystal ball, at least for me.

Accordingly, Evaluator’s conclusion must be based on practical footing rather than based on a “mere theoretical ability to engage in substantial gainful employment…” Timmerman v. Weinberger, 510 F.2d 439, 442 (8th  Cir. 1975). This means the Evaluator’s “theory” of being employable in the future does not pass the legal precedent requiring VA to draw a “practical conclusion.”

Second. A college degree does mean disabled veterans can work in sedentary type jobs unless a service-connected disability, such as a mental condition, precludes this option. Recently, a disabled veteran was held to not qualify for TDIU with a college degree for various reasons. They did not have a service-connected condition that would interfere with sedentary work, such as a mental illness. The same veteran had also not applied for sedentary work.  It was also not shown that the veteran had been terminated as a result of his disabilities.

Looking at this from the reverse, a veteran with a college degree who has been terminated from jobs as a result of their disability would likely have an easier time showing their disability prevents them from maintaining employment, despite the degree. Citation Nr: 1009771.

Third. Attending college is not the same as working for a company. In college, the college is paid money in order for a student to receive an education or training. I am sure many employers would be thrilled to receive payment from employees in order to be allowed to work. What a bargain. But, this is not a practice in reality. Attending college is not the same as gaining or maintaining employment.

Fourth. Veterans can maintain employment and still be eligible for TDIU. In South Dakota, the Board of Appeals agreed. They found a veteran to be eligible for IU despite working 30 hours per week as an automotive parts salesman for 4 years. Citation Nr: 1027075. Here, the veteran had long been employed in this field, with two years of college and experience in automotive maintenance.

Even if a veteran could find work, the work must be substantive and ongoing to disqualify the veteran from IU. Further, the term “unemployability” “is synonymous with an inability to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation.” VAOPGCPREC 75-91. In this decision, the veteran had worked in the specific position for 4 years. If 4 years in that job was not considered a “substantially gainful occupation,” employment for a lesser period would fall within this classification.

Fifth. It is not a requirement to be “mush” or a “basket case” to be qualified for TDIU. This seems to be a pretty straightforward conclusion from the Board. Citation Nr: 1023321.

In summary, VAOPGCPREC 5-2005 seems to completely contradict Examiners position. Veterans can be eligible for TDIU on a temporary basis, while seeking rehabilitation. The Evaluator was unaware of this decision and of the other contrary positions by the VA Board of Appeals.

Voc Rehab Survival Guide Benjamin Krause is the creator of the DisabledVeterans.org community, author of the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans, and numerous other guides. 

Benjamin is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Law attorney, and a disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, Benjamin began his decade long fight for benefits after being lowballed with a 10% rating in 2002. During that fight, he received degrees from Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School while using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

You can connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. richard golden says

    Have 70% rating for ptsd. Have applied for IU and or appeal of original rating. If approved be either will the back pay go back to my original filing date for benefits in 2009

  2. Lisa Garner says

    I am 100% p &t. Sc for lupus. I would like to work part time. Can I work without losing my benefits? I’m also a single parent of a 16 year old son.
    Lisa

  3. Jorge Ortiz says

    I am 100% P/T with statutory housebound criteria due to having 100% plus 60%. I was just recently awarded this rating while attending school through voc rehab. I have graduated and been offered a position for full-time. My question is am I at risk for loosing or being reduced of my rating by working? Thanks.

    • Paula minger says

      Off topic. Did your benefits increase when 60%was added? My husband is 100% and just rated with 70% more all secondary. Comp increase was $100 per month

      • Ken C says

        Homebound statutory is only awarded on the additional combined rating of 60%, if those components composing that 60% rating are unrelated to the basis for the 100% rating on which the TDIU is based.

  4. Veronica says

    I just don’t understand. I’ve been on IU since 96, and I went to Court to get my SSD approve because of service connected illness. Now, it’s been 17 yrs since I’ve been on IU and now I received my first application employment questionary since I received my disability 90% SC with 100% IU. i Received this application but no letter explaining why I am getting this now. So, can anyone explain to me why after all these years I am just receiving this form? I am still not working. So, please tell me something before I return it back to the Regional Office.

    • Steven E Stuart says

      Well Veronica until you reach the 20 year period your TDIU can be taken. I will find and post the CFR in question. Here I found it:

      § 3.951 Preservation of disability ratings.
      (a) A readjustment to the Schedule for Rating Disabilities shall not be grounds for reduction of a disability rating in effect on the date of the readjustment unless medical evidence establishes that the disability to be evaluated has actually improved.

      (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1155)

      (b) A disability which has been continuously rated at or above any evaluation of disability for 20 or more years for compensation purposes under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs will not be reduced to less than such evaluation except upon a showing that such rating was based on fraud. Likewise, a rating of permanent total disability for pension purposes which has been in force for 20 or more years will not be reduced except upon a showing that the rating was based on fraud. The 20-year period will be computed from the effective date of the evaluation to the effective date of reduction of evaluation.

      (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 110)

      [34 FR 11970, July 16, 1969, as amended at 57 FR 10426, Mar. 26, 1992]

  5. zcullcandy12 says

    Hello,
    I am veteran with 90% connected disability, I am currently working, but I spend more time at the dr’s and on sick time or leave without paid due to my disabilities. I am supposed to work 40 hours in the week, but I only clock between 26-36 hours per week. Several people have told me to apply for unemployability because of that. My conditions have got worse and I have told my dr, which I will be seen again this coming week. Should I tell my intention? Who do I seek help? What documents will I need to start this? Do I need to quit my job or continue to work?

    Thanks!

  6. Don Schneider says

    Hello friends, I am a 68 year old Vet rated 60% for back condition (lower and upper, service connected) I was rated at 100% by Social Security in 2000, and received SSDI until I reached 65 and was transferred to social security retirement program. I applied for 100% unemployability with the VA sending in the statement of findings from the Social Security admin. as soon as I received the SSDI rating (2000). I again sent in the required paperwork with the assistance of the DAV. in 2005 since the VA had not responded to my 2000 application. The VA office in St. Petersburg claimed they did not receive the 2000 application , or the Social Security ratings statement of findings sent with it . In 2009, the DAV claimed that they were continuing to represent me, but had not had a ruling yet on my 2005 application . When I got our senator involved in 2009, he was told by the VA and DAV that records of my applications were not available for scrutiny and “no adjudication had been rendered”. On the advice of Senator Nelson, I re-applied In November of 2010 for IU and 100%. I sent all the papers sent earlier along with more recent information from local physicians in support of my assertion of unemployability and 100% rating justification. To date, I have received NOTHING since the inquiry on my behalf by our Senator. I cannot seek the help of an attorney without a denial of my application. So here I sit….waiting still !

    • brian says

      you can call 1-1800-827-1000 and speak with a compensation rep. they document every time you call and then ask to speak with a supervisor about your case. they should be able to tell you how far along it is. You can also contact your local DAV and have them represent you. they can be your power of attorney and get your claim completed. you can contact me if needed. I am a medically retired combat medic. Email brianky84@yahoo.com hope this helps you.

  7. jon says

    What moot means exactly os ot does not matter. what happened did you get 100% p/t and the letter said your claim for IU was moot?

  8. Jon says

    Fausto. Yes you should apply for ssd. you will probably get denied first, but then just get a lawyer it is worth it . I did… I got my ssd back in 2007 retro to 2004 and finally gor my 100$ p/t from the VA in april 2012…. Now I am geting reevaluated by ssd… I sent ssd all of my va paperwork I hope they take the VA decision into consideration….

  9. Benjamin Wisenbaugh says

    I am 80% with IU so I get 100%. I had a job last year for about 5 months and made a lot of money but it was temporary and I haven’t worked since. My 100% pay started in March and I worked from mid Jan to mid June. Would I count the income from when the VA started paying me? I am confused and nervous that I might not be able to support my family if I get reduced. I got an Employment Questionnaire today and am scared to send it in. I can’t go back to work. I tried but it’s too much. Can anyone advise. Thank you.

  10. ARD says

    Let me see if I get this right. I’m in the process of claiming disability compensation for Major Depression PTSD and Sleep Apnea all service connected.It’s been more than 3 years since I lost my job for the reason stated above.If I enroll in college could I risk the chance of not getting TDIU compensation or it doesn’t affect the decision?

  11. Tim Ryan says

    This information may give me the help I need with Voc Rehab. Councilors in the past have verbally denied me Voc Rehab based on my APPLICATION for TDIU. I am 90% service connected disabled with appeals and claims pending. I am also applying for my SSDI. If the Voc Rehab councilor still deems me disqualified for the program even though they will obviously be in error I am not leaving his office until I have that in writing to use for my appeal and in my SSDI claim.

  12. armymom4 says

    I am a vet also just went through my comp appts ii have bipolar 2 and server anxiety I have not been able to work since my disorder I had just came out of the hospital because of this all with sexual assault. When I was in her office and she was asking me all these questions I wanted to run out of her office I hats leaven my house I don’t like to be around anybody I don’t go to the store thank God for fiancee cuz he does everything for me I was just wondering what do u think I would get … any help would be great I am in thearpy but I struggle even going to those cuz I don’t like to be around people or large crowds thanks for reading maybe u will be able to help me figure. It out

  13. Please Help says

    My Husband is a disabled VET and he got a letter stating they assigned a permanent 100%. It says he is 70% PTSD with insomnia. It says his overall or combined rating remains 80%, we are continuing to pay you at the 100% rate based on entitlement to individual unemployability. My question is can he go to school? He would still be able to use his GI bill, I think.I am a RN and I see thathis condition is getting worse. He is so depressed, feels worthless and feels he has nothing to live for. I hate to see him like this, it breaks my heart. I know he is not getting the prope treatment at the VA but there is nothing I feel as if I can do. I know with the right help he can get to wrking on feeling better but he is 28 and feels like a prisioner in his own house. He and I think if he can go to school to get out of the house and have something to do he would feel more productive. I know he will not be able to work or use any degree he could get but I think it would be a therepy, The PTSD will never go away and will always be on meds and the back problems will always be there reguardless of surgery. Ok, so I gave a spill about my hubby but I really need some info on what his rights are about going to school because he thinks he cant go and cant even volunteer anywhere without being in fear of the VA messing with his amout of money being recieved by ratings.

    • Jessica Patterson says

      Have you looked into the VA Caregiver Program? This program is for Veterans of Afganistan and Iraq. The money is paid to the caregiver (Spouse, Friend, Relative or hired Caregiver). You should look into this program at http://www.caregiver.va.gov this program has helped me take care of my husbands depression and medical issues.

  14. richard j. wakely says

    i was told by dav rep after my c/p i was 100% schedule p/t no c/pi have been waite ing 7 month still no letter award also i have have 7 years reto come i called r.o. they said they are crossing the t,s dotting the i,s i called and they seem to know less if you can help good

  15. Steve Reynolds says

    Hi Ben. I just received a 100% service connected disability from VA for bi-polar and depression. It does not say unemployabilty.
    1) they have me scheduled for a review in 5 yrs. Did they just put that on my disability cert or will they re-evaluate me? I thought 100% serice connected is for life.
    2) I was approved for the VRAP program before I received my rating. Can I still go to school or does it jeapordize my rating?
    THX!

    • Richard says

      Hello Steve , would have said You cann feel safe for 10 Yrs back back then
      ” my case .. any way” am entitled 150 % with my Disabilties. An felt all was fine like You .. I assume , but after 10 Yrs ” 1992 ” they tried to bring me down to 40 % !!!
      going to school shouldnt jeopordize your disabilty rating

    • Melissa Persinger says

      i am currently waiting for my decision from the VA Nashville,TN. i am 50% bipolar with major depressive disorder and severe anxiety, 10 tinitus. I went back in 2011 for a C&P for mental, i seen the same dr. that had been the one who completed my inital claim. I spent 5-10 minutes with hhim. i recieved notice of denial of increase. i appealed. i then decided 1 year later to go to VSO still had not heard heard anything. I went C&P july,27,2012. I asked to see different evaluator. female to be specific. Husband went in the exam with me. She didn’t say muvh, She asked him lots of questions, i had all my notes my brain tends to run everything together. at the very end she said ” i have evrything I need.” concerned a little. Not sure if it went for me or against me. I have documents from both my phscologist, and phyciatrist, station i am 100% unable to be around people in groups, and unable to have a job, due to severity. I can’t stop thinking and obsessing, as i am manic now.

      I think a little insight on how you eval. went would give me a rough idea on what i am about to recieve within the next few weeks to couple of months at most.

  16. iwasndwcorp76 says

    Today, 14 Jul I just received back my claims for Clothing Allowance which I received last year with no problem. Well, the VA sent me another request that said I needed to submit another claim for multiple clothing allowances which had already been approved 2010. But,  he said because last year we paid you CA for both knee braces. Now, because of a new law they have to pay us for each brace and they will have to approve off on it again. So how do I fill the paperwork out for the second claim because I have to have surgery but I don’t want a knee replacement. What should I do?

  17. Fausto Lagombra says

    50%ptsd , 30%migrane, 30%skin condition 30%skull fracture, 10%tmj,10%high blood pressure. combine rating 90%. quit working last july, apply for IU in Nov 28,2011. 3 C+P Exam in March 10,12,22. what next, help anyone , I’am comfuse? should I apply for Social Security

  18. masseyboysk says

    I have 70 % ptsd 10% back and stomach . Rated at 80% I’ve been out of work for the 4 yrs. Can not get medical DOT card ! But nobody will not let drive without card, what should i file or keep looking for a job

  19. Susan says

    Donna- I just wanted you to know that if your husband is 100% P&T there is no additional benefit for TDIU. TDIU brings the veteran up to the 100% rate. If your husband is already 100%, then TDIU becomes moot. Now, if you are trying to get special monthly compensation, that is additional above and beyond the 100%. That may be why the VA hasn’t addressed the issue, even though they should have sent you a letter telling you it was moot, and asking you to clarify if you were trying to get an increase via SMC. Also, you can always send in a photocopy of the one you have showing the date stamp, to prove your claim. And as to the effective date thing- you would have to check the rating narrative to see why they didn’t use the earlier date- it should say why the date chosen was used, and if it was a good rater, will also address why the 2004 date was not used. Hope this helps.

    • Ken says

      no it is not moot…if you are 100% due to tdiu and other disabilities not related to your tdiu combine for 60% or more you are entitled to receive homebound pay on a statutory basis whether you are actually homebound or not.

  20. DONNA JORDAN says

    Not sure if anyone here would know but thought I would ask an if no answer maybe be sent in the right direction. My husband is rated 100% total an permanment service connected disabled. we are in the AO group for Parkinsons an Ischemic Heart Diease. We have been told he should be getting TDIU, so we filled out the form never heard back either way they just never addressed the issue. When they did his rateing an sent the package they only paid back 1 year instead of from the first time he went out to apply in 2004. So in May we filed for them to reconsider that date an once again filed another form for TDIU, sent return rec. requested. 41/2 weeks later VA said they have no record of receiving anything(even tho they signed for it) so refiled it in person in June we have a copy that is date an time stamped, you guessed it 91/2 weeks later they have no record again it is now 13 1/2 weeks in an they say wait another 2-3 weeks while they try to find it an then we can refile again. according to them VRO in atlanta is taking an average of 190 days to process a claim. That would have the time at 40.5 weeks. Is there any recourse?????

  21. Robert Leadbeater says

    I have been fighting with VA for over eleven years now. Two years ago they awarded me 10% disably which is only ($123@month). Well two years ago when I recieved my 10% I applied for social security disablitary and was approved for it (for the condictions that I have from the army). Before I went into the army I worked two jobs trained and taught martial arts, and played football. Well I can’t work two jobs, can’t train in martial arts, can’t play football, and I can’t even play outdoor sports with my children. I work as a pizza hut driver at about 15-18 hours a week. I even have a letter from my civilan doctor who was my doctor from 1987 and still is my doctor (except for when I was in the military). From feb 17, 1995 until March 21, 2000. In the letter he states Mr. Leadbeater is incapable of finding substantial gainful employment due to his conditions sustained in the US Army.
    My conditions are as Follows:
    1.) Shin splints stress fractors both legs.
    2.) Lower back pain (which is spers in my lower back).
    3.) Degantive Disk deasies in my back
    4.) 40% hearing loss in left ear (VA gave me a hearing aide that works about half of the time.
    5.) Right arm nerve damage (which a new VA doctor states is not nerve damage at all but cuff and rotaty damage and wants to inject it with steriores).
    6.) Color vision blind
    7.) High blood pressure (came down with it two months after I got out of the army).
    8.) Depression (from the army).

    I have been fighting with the VA and I’m on the verage of lossing my family because of this….
    If anybody can help me please e-mail me at alphabetcracker@yahoo.com
    and let me know where I can turn to. PLEASE HELP MEEEE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    • xyz says

      Yeah, you Sir needs to consult a lawyer that handle Veterans situation. Look them up there is a couple of them around. Check online.

  22. scott says

    @cindy thanks, honestly… I haven’t found anyone with worse stories than mine. Everything is fine. I’ve just started to get into the internet more frequently and see all this debt cieling stuff going on and started freaking out… thanks for the info though. I did go to a vet center. Not the va

  23. Jerry D. Rexford says

    What about schedular perecentages to qualify, 1 disability at 60% or more than one disabilites total of 70% one at lest 40%. How many non-scheular claims have you seen approved for IU

  24. Cindy says

    Scott,
    Did you ever try the Vet Center? It is completely separate from the VA… they don’t share your info with the VA (so it is confidential)… but in case you need them to write a letter (when it comes time for a review)… your counselor will do it for you… in case that day comes, when they do want to bump down your percentage.
    Plus, they are really helpful there, and they ACTUALLY care, UNLIKE the VA.
    You might want to give it a try.
    A caring vet.

  25. scott says

    Hi, I was rated 70% ptsd, they seemed to ignore my back and hearing and leg… anyways I’ve been getting paid 100% via iu. I don’t even try to work anymore. The stress that comes alnog with just the interview part [I know this sounds dumb] is very overwhelming to me. I don’t do the voc rehab, I stopped going to counseling, and I refuse to take pills. I had a review… a year ago. Nothing changed, they didn’t cut my benefits, they didn’t make me seek counseling. But I’ve ben getting paid iu for 5 or 6 years now. I’m really worried what would happen if they reduced me to 70% or cut me off for not atteneding seminars and what not. Wtf would I put on an app? My last job would still be 4th id 2nd brigade toc ncoic for camp warhorse, baqubah iraq. I, like a fool thought when I got home from iraq employers would see that and just roll out the red carpet… interview after interview after interview… nothing. Securiatus told me I would be considered high risk, the lowes manager looked me in the eyes and asked “so, am I going to have to worry about you?” Wtf am I supposed to say to that? I wish I never told anyone I went to war. I would prob have a low paying job and be normal and miserable like everyone else. West field insurance told me I’m not qualified to patrol their parking lot… so me personaly. I’m not going to be applying anywhere ever. I started woring at the age of 14 pourng concrete, 15 I started subway [I was a sandwich artist], 17 on to tgi fridays dishwasher bus boy, 19 boot camp, 21 in 2003 I sat in a tent and played “that mortar didn’t get us” for 9 months. Now I’m 28 almost 29. What would I do if they stopped paying me? Ill tell ya id be another suicide. I’m just writting this incase your thinking about scamming the govt for a 2671$ check. Unless you feel there is no other alternative, unless you want to live a meaningless worthless life for the remainder of your days. Don’t give up. Don’t do what I did. After 2 years of job denials I cracked. Well, I actually cracked durng a mass casualty exercise at my gaurd unit. People were laying around with fake blood, screaming, crying… once you have been in a mass casualty event… well its not funny at all. I can still hear them screaming in the dark. 8 years and I can still fucking hear them. One of my friends joke about me not being able to handle people dieing, I told him, “no death is peacful. Its the ones who get shrapnel in there head, or their eye, or lose a leg. Those are the ones I can’t handle. The dead are silent, the living scream.” If your having trouble seek help. Godbless you all.

    • Boots says

      Scott. If you’re not seeking psychological help at the moment I strongly suggest that you do so. As to your interviews and job woes, go ahead and start learning something that makes you happy. For me its Engineering. I want one day to help this country of mine out with renewable energy, that is one thing I can do. I am going to school right now for engineering(and if you think you can’t do it: you can). I find if you have a purpose in life it helps. What do you want to do?? once you’ve identified what you want to do make a plan to get there. Voc Rehab is a great tool for that.

      B

  26. HEJ says

    I’m 70% SC (with a 40% SC disability rating for “one” body system). I was granted IU and back paid from 2008 – 2001. From 2001 – 2008, I attended grad school and earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. When I initially applied for IU in 2001, I presented a letter, from my VA physician, which stated that I was unemployable. The VA denied me and I appealed. During the 7 yrs of appeal, I asked my primary care VA doctor to write a letter substantiating my IU. He did. When the Board of Veterans Appeals remanded my claim back to the local VARO, I submitted the additional letter. Because I had been terminated from my last employment because of my SC disability (and I had that proof in writing), and because I had two letters from two different VA doctors corroborating my IU, the VARO rating officer had no choice but to grant my IU. I was back paid $103, 000.00 and provided with a DoD ID card (for AAFES/MWR benefits not healthcare). The VA is not designed to help you receive benefits; rather, it is designed to deny you what is legally your’s. One suggestion for anyone who desires to file a fully favorable claim— READ THE APPLICABLE CFR (specifically Title 38, namely the Schedule of Ratings). The CFR’s are online and free to access by all. Remember, you, the disabled veteran, will probably know more than the benefits specialists from the VARO’s or the VSO’s. It’s the sad truth. Hope this helps at least one veteran.

    • Tony says

      Hello sir. I have a question about unemployability wondering if I should apply for if I have increases pending and thinking about re-opening old claims. I’m at 80%. Thank you.

  27. Jackie Cunningham says

    I retireed from Navy in Oct 1997 under the TERA progarm aiwth 16.5 yrs of service. I was in a rush to leave Guam so that I could fly out with my spouse who was transfering in September 1997. I was approved for retirement over the Labor Day weekend and I flew out of Guam on September 9th. Once I processed out in Norfolk VA I discovered my active duty pay had changed the Navy stop pay dependent pay and accidently stop my spouse pay. For a while we had to live on our savings. He went out to sea his command did eventually fixed his pay. But I was told I had to go thru the board of corrections to get my pay fix. This took over a year. I did not get around to addressing my VA problems until almost four years later. I had spent most of this time unemployed or working odd jobs here and there. In February 2002 I submitted a VA claim and it was flat out denied because I waited too long. The problem was that as long as I wasn’t working my pain was in remission, when I started working my pain returned. To this day I have been fighting with VA and going to Physical Thearpy after two surgeries. They still refuse to acknowledge my complaints. Even with a statement in my active duty medical record written by the sick call doctor stating that I would be repremented if I continue to use sick call for chronic pain. This was the basis for me requesting early retirement. The chronic pain is still chronic pain even after surgery. The navy never did anything but prescribed NSAID drugs for the pain. I also have other documented complaints. Last month they did send me to a VA doctor for one of the other complaints but I haven’t heard anything from this. They say my case is in an Appeal process. My question is, What can I do presently I’m not working. The only way I can work is to lie about my health. This is not just a statement but a proven fact in two cases. After my surgery I had applied for a job with an agency I truely qualified for. After a question about my GAP in my employment I had to reveal my surgery. I received an email three days later stating I was nolonger being considered for the position. Next after listing this conditions on an application for a GOV’t job the receptionnist told me that I wouldn’t get the job if I didn’t remove that condition. I was badly in need of work so I decided to take her advice and conceal my condition. I got the job. I struggle to do the job because of my chronic pain it was a struggle. But my supervisor was great and understanding. This was only temporary position. Now I’m back being unemployable. I have also applied for Social Security Disability. I’m still waiting to hear something from them. WHAT CAN I DO..

    • Mary Hampton says

      Make sure you get order your pain pills in a timely manner . and never for get to refill your meds. go to pain management clinic, you can claim depression for pain and you can ask to see a psychiatrist and psychologist. You can Ask to go to physical therapy if you need it. Read up on all you can about your pain .
      you can put this information in your claim if it applies to you.

  28. bruce w jaurigue says

    Im currently in Philippines,,,have had appeals in for IU,since N0v08,,an one IU in Jul09,an TDIU appeal,,filed out by my DAV,,till date,,(my son lives in my home in states) has told me,no mail,from the VA has yet to come to our house,,,so I assume,,they are still in effect??..herd many of us,wait years,,an still get a letter ,fr VA denie the appeal,,,then hav to wait,like two years,for a court date,,,does anyone have any background like this??..Im 50% PTSD..and my other ratings,(seperate) are almost to 200 now,,but Im still rated at 90%..it took me over ten yrs ,to get that,,,,,thanks,,,,,,,Nam Vet………………..

  29. Big Thunder says

    I am a Vietnam Veteran who’s 100% TDIU was reduced Illegally in 1977 and reinstated back to the 1977 reduction date in 2002 which means my 100% has been effect for 41 years and further if you will check the VA’s rules on employment when a 100% rating has been in effect for more than 20 years u will see that u are able to work and make as much as u want and your 100% can not be reduced.

  30. matthew says

    I am medicaly retired from the Army. I recieve 60% disability v.a. pay for my heart. I have ptsd and am bi-polar. I recently had my voc rehab appt and was told that I would be doing an extended evaluation for a few months. My councelor advised me that I would probably be found unemployable. What does that mean? Would I have to file my own claim or does voc rehab handle that; how long would I have to waite; would that put me up to 100%; would IU pay be permanent total?

  31. jason says

    I was just told by DAV that if I work one day I will lose my IU. How am i supposed to begin to integrate back into the work force after Voc Rehab if trying to work makes me lose my IU 100%? With PTSD I won’t know if I can work full-time until I try to work-full time. I planned to start as an adjunct professor working in short 8 week accelerated learning programs. If my PTSD allowed me to handle that I would increase and increase until I knew I could handle full time. But DAV says if I work one day i lose IU 100%. How do i ever get out of this trap? I need to go in easy, but I can’t if that means automatically losing 15,000 a year?

    • Ben Krause says

      I would strongly encourage you to do your own research.

      As I understand the regs on IU, you lose it if you earn over the poverty level in one year. So, when they audit you after ever year, if during that year you earn more than the Census Bureau consideres the poverty level, you have to pay back the money you received for the whole year. The poverty level was around $9,000 last year. If you earn more than $9,000 you could lose the IU benefit. If you earn less, obviously it’s a non-issue.

      Do your own research and find out what the regs actually say. Stop trusting others to give you the truth. The VA and Federal Gov post the regulations online. It’ll save you a lot of hassle.

    • Cheryle says

      I am 90% disabled and 100% UI. Voc rehap say I can continue to go to school under their program. My question will it affect my benefits

  32. Jason says

    I’m rated at 80% total and permanent, mostly from PTSD, and receive 100% IU. Can i receive 100% IU and Voc Rehab at the same time? I was told by my service rep that I could not.

    • Ben Krause says

      A person can be temporarily allowed on IU. While you may have the intent to work, it means you are currently unable to find work due to your disabilities. Voc Rehab recently starting making it tough for people on IU to get into the program, but that doesn’t mean you are disqualified. I know of a few guys with 100% Total and Permanent who were able to get approval. One of them got a degree in Sociology and the other got flight training paid via an Aviation degree after already having an undergrad in something else.

      It can be done. We sell a pretty comprehensive guide on here to help you put your plan presentation together prior to your first meeting: http://www.disabledveterans.org/guides-appeals.

      • Karla says

        I received unemployment prior to being awarded my IU. I am up for a review probably because my unemployment showed up as well as the income in 2011 prior to my being awarded IU. Will I have an opportunity to explain? My scheduled exam was not until 2016, but was informed I had a review as of 5/3013?

        Karla

  33. Cindy says

    Ben,
    My State Vet Rep advised me not to apply for IU, b/c I currently hold a Federal job (for about 6 months), before that I held a State Job as a Disabled Veterans’ Rep (DVOP), which I couldn’t mentally take anymore, due to the mountain of my own issues, in addition to the Veterans’ problems each day, and a year before that I was a Vet Tech (for animals)… which I left. The last job I had before that I left as well. Since I got out of the military, I can’t seem to get a job that satisfies me, because nothing will ever match what I did before. Despite this, I have been medically and physically going downhill for years. No one thinks it is serious, because I look completely healthy and normal on the outside. I am able to fake my social interactions very well… but when I go home, I break down. The VA counselors don’t take me seriously when I tell them these things, nor do the counselors, which is why I stopped going to the VA for therapy and all Dr. Appts all together. The system has failed me, b/c I am not missing a limb or because I am not 60 years old. I am desperate.

  34. David Gander says

    Why is a spouse able to get schooling, but the 100% veteran who is over the 12 year rule cannot?

    Also, what is the simple answer to my question on October 15th?

  35. David Gander says

    I am rated at 100%. I received this rating in 2005. I retired in 1993. When I got out of the service my rating was 50%. This 100% rating is service connected that I got in 2005. I am a college gradute but cannot get a job. Am I eligible to get another degree or training in a different field. I was told I am passed the 12 year point when I retired. Was that person wrong or am I still eligible to get another degree through the VA?

  36. Moira E. Croley says

    I would like to go to graduate school, but I keep running into a barrier with my Voc Rehab advisor. What do you suggest I do to get around her? Moira

    • Ben Krause says

      You will never be able to “get around” your VA Voc Rehab counselor. The best thing is to listen to what they say and do what they request. If you want to go to grad school, you’ll need to show you cannot find work with your current skill set/education. A solid way of doing that is applying to jobs. If you do not get an offer, show the counselor all of your applications.

So what do you think?