Individual Unemployability (IU) is one of the top VA benefits for disabled veterans, but a lot of confusion and myths surround the benefit that trip up deserving vets.

Throwing out the legal jargon, the benefit, formally called Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU or just IU), is a benefit you might qualify for if you cannot work due to your military (service-connected) disability rating.

Boiled down. If you cannot work but your rating is less than 100 percent, you might qualify for “individual Unemployability” benefits (IU).

Over the past few years, the Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly floated cutting these benefits for certain veterans to help balance the budget. While most veteran organizations have opposed this specific cut, I anticipate a cut will come at some point in the future.

If this happens, my guess would be the benefit might be cut for veterans over 65 who are not already receiving the benefit but who otherwise qualify for it. Presently, some severely disabled veterans who are elderly currently receive the benefit.

RELATED: Can I Lose My 100% If I Work?

The point in raising this possible alarm is that you should seek the benefit if you think you might qualify for it. So let’s get into what the benefit is and how to know if you qualify. I will include some links to resources at the bottom of this post.

This article gives you an overview of TDUI, the general criteria, and it provides some insight into common myths and how to overcome claims obstacles.

What Individual Unemployability Means

IU is an extra-schedular rating for veterans with service-connected disabilities who are unable to secure substantially gainful employment. It is usually called extra-schedular TDIU not to be confused with a normal extra-schedular rating.

The latter is a situation when a veteran argues that the existing rating criteria are not sufficient to reflect the disabling impact on the veteran. The former is a reference to the extra-schedular impact on Total Disability to get the veteran’s rating at 100 percent.

As for substantially gainful employment, I will explain what this means in a bit since the term does not mean you cannot work. It simply references the amount of money you can earn that will result in disqualification of the benefit.

The IU benefit pays the veteran at the 100 percent rate even though their overall combined disability is less than 100 percent.

The Joy Of VA Math

To get 100 percent under regular scheduler, it basically means you need a combined rating, using VA math, that adds up to 100 percent or one solitary rating at 100 percent.

For most of you, VA math simply means the unusual way VA calculates combined disability ratings. For readers unfamiliar, VA math does not mean 1+1=2. The agency uses a weighted scale. For example, a veteran with one 80 percent rating and one 70 percent rating would have a combined rating of 94 percent, not 150.

That 94 percent would be rounded down resulting in a payout of 90 percent unless the veteran receives IU benefits.

TDIU VA Benefit Payout In 2019

If a veteran qualifies for the benefit, the amount the person is paid is substantial to anyone unable to work as a result of their disabilities.

For a single veteran without dependents, rated at 100 percent, the amount of the benefit in 2019 is over $3,057.13 per month tax-free.

Take a veteran with a 90 percent disability rating who cannot work. We will call her Veteran A. That veteran would receive $1,833.62. Let’s look at another veteran with a 60 percent rating called Veteran B. Veteran B would receive $1,113.86.

Either of these veterans could be entitled to IU benefits due to an inability to gain substantial employment. I’ll get into this in a second.

Three Key Unemployability Criteria

The three key criteria to qualify for IU benefits are rather straightforward, but keep in mind that some variances exist for other veterans. I will touch on that below.

To be eligible for the benefit, you must have evidence of the following criteria:

  1. Be a veteran
  2. Have evidence of at least one service-connected disability where: A) One rating must be at least 60 percent OR; B) You must have at least two ratings with one 40 percent rating and a total combined rating of 70 percent
  3. Be unable to obtain substantially gainful employment

About the ratings, there is apparently an exception.

On VA’s website, the author says veterans “may qualify at a lower disability rating” in instances where, as an example, “you need to be in the hospital often”.

Now, a veteran could seek an extra-schedular rating increase to an underlying rating to secure the overall percentage required to then qualify for the benefit in the same adjudication.

Aside from that strategy, the second part of the relevant regulation allows veterans not meeting the above criteria to still qualify for IU based on their own set of facts. This is addressed at the bottom of this article.

To apply for the benefit, you need to file a claim for disability compensation. The evidence will need to show your disabilities prevent you from finding and keeping a steady job. I include an idea on how to prove this using VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment at the bottom of this post as well as some ideas on documenting work history.

VA has a full article explaining the disability comp application process here.

Why Substantially Gainful Employment Matters

Substantially gainful employment is a type of employment where the disabled veteran earns the same or similar to that of a non-disabled person in the same occupation in the same community where the veteran is a resident.

VA describes this on its own website as:

You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.

Veterans can maintain marginal employment or work in a sheltered work environment. Below is a general description of these concepts.

Marginal Employment

Veterans employed in a marginal employment scenario cannot earn more than the poverty level during a given tax year. Veterans receiving IU who do earn more than the poverty level in a given tax year will have to pay back a portion of their disability.

Examples of marginal employment types could be:

  • Self-employment
  • Fast food
  • Nonprofit work

Sheltered Work Environment

Veterans can also work in a sheltered work environment. There are a thousand examples of these. Normally, this arrangement is a type of employment where the veteran receives accommodations for their disability and outside that job, the veteran would likely not be able to work in the same field.

Example of this arrangement could be instances where the employer tolerates less reliability or less productivity than they otherwise would.

Examples of sheltered work environments could be:

  • Family members
  • Previous employers

Are IU Benefits Permanent?

Each veteran’s case will be different depending on the underlying disability rating relied on to create the disability rating.

In instances where the underlying rating will not change over time, VA may provide a rating of “permanent and total” for the rating. This means the veteran likely will never be called back in for another exam.

Veterans with certain mental health ratings including posttraumatic stress disorder will frequently get called back into VA for subsequent exams every few years.

Myths On Individual Unemployability

1. I cannot work and receive IU.

This is obviously false in some instances based on the above. You can work so long as you are marginally employed or in a protected work environment.

Be careful here. If you secure employment after receiving TDIU or earn more than the poverty level, you may end up paying back VA lots of money. In this scenario, you should inform VA right away of your changed circumstance and save any money you receive above what you would normally receive without the IU rating.

As above, if you have an underlying 90 percent combined rating, you should save back approximately $1,300 each month of the $3,071 you receive until VA adjusts your payout back to your normal amount.

2. You can’t be IU with a college degree

I can think of a host of examples where a person with a college degree may still be unable to gain and maintain substantial employment.

The easiest situation could be a veteran who received their degree prior to the military or while in the military. They were disabled. Then, after the military, the veteran was unable to secure employment and had proof by way of job logs or job applications.

Another example could be the unfortunate veteran who also was a victim of predatory for-profit college recruiting after the military.

Take the ITT example where the school shut down and the veteran earned the degree online without human interaction other than on cyber.

In that instance, the degree may be worth less than the paper it is printed on. Again, proof of an inability to secure employment via job logs or job applications could go a long way.

3. College attendance means you can’t be IU

Here is another area that is commonly misunderstood.

Veterans attending school, especially while using VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment, may run into this myth at the hands of a VA examiner.

College attendance is not the same as being employable. Veterans using Voc Rehab, for example, have not overcome their employment handicap until after they complete training and are deemed “rehabilitated.”

But, more practically, colleges receive money to provide the veteran with something – – hopefully an education – – while employers pay an individual to do something. Notice, the person or entity paying money is not the same.

Employers will expect reliability and productivity among other things. Many college students, especially over the past decade, may not be competent or qualified to do much of anything on a reliable or productive basis, but they may get great grades sucking up to a professor. While it is important to learn how to suck up effectively, the latter qualities will be more important for most veterans seeking work.

Again, attending college or even doing well in college does not mean you are a person who can gain and maintain substantive employment.

4. You must be a basket case to qualify for IU.

This is another classic myth. Some VA examiners believe a veteran must be “mush” or a “basket case” to qualify for IU benefits. Veterans frequently qualify for this benefit without being reduced to an invalid.

5. You cannot temporarily receive IU benefits.

I have an entire post on this topic from 9 year ago. The rule still holds, so if someone repeats this nonsense, you should know VA is lying.

When the agency addresses this issue of IU on a temporary basis, they will consider:

Ability or inability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation on a case-by-case basis, taking into account such factors as the frequency and duration of periods of incapacity or time lost from work due to disability, the Veteran’s employment history and current employment status, and the Veteran’s annual income from employment, if any.

A Regulation To Start 38 CFR § 4.16

For now, I suggest starting here. Below is a copy of the relevant regulation on IU benefits that provides the specific criteria. If you are familiar with regulations, they are blocky and someone difficult to read. I include it below in italics.

Regulations addressing total disability span 38 CFR § 4.15 to 4.17. Below is 38 CFR § 4.16:

§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual.

(a) Total disability ratings for compensation may be assigned, where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities: Provided that, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, and that, if there are two or more disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. For the above purpose of one 60 percent disability, or one 40 percent disability in combination, the following will be considered as one disability: (1) Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor, if applicable, (2) disabilities resulting from common etiology or a single accident, (3) disabilities affecting a single body system, e.g. orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric, (4) multiple injuries incurred in action, or (5) multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war. It is provided further that the existence or degree of nonservice-connected disabilities or previous unemployability status will be disregarded where the percentages referred to in this paragraph for the service-connected disability or disabilities are met and in the judgment of the rating agency such service-connected disabilities render the veteran unemployable. Marginal employment shall not be considered substantially gainful employment. For purposes of this section, marginal employment generally shall be deemed to exist when a veteran’s earned annual income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person. Marginal employment may also be held to exist, on a facts found basis (includes but is not limited to employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop), when earned annual income exceeds the poverty threshold. Consideration shall be given in all claims to the nature of the employment and the reason for termination.

(b) It is the established policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs that all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of service-connected disabilities shall be rated totally disabled. Therefore, rating boards should submit to the Director, Compensation Service, for extra-schedular consideration all cases of veterans who are unemployable by reason of service-connected disabilities, but who fail to meet the percentage standards set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. The rating board will include a full statement as to the veteran’s service-connected disabilities, employment history, educational and vocational attainment and all other factors having a bearing on the issue.

[Note: Be sure to search out this regulation to ensure you are reviewing the most current version of it when filing a claim or appeal.]

Going After 4.16(b)

I wanted to include this regulation so you can specifically see how it is written in relation not only to the percentage criteria but also to the second half of the regulation.

The second half allows for veterans not meeting the percentage requirement to still qualify for IU if they are unemployable. VA is required to create a “full statement” that addresses:

  • Service-connected disabilities
  • Employment history
  • Educational attainment
  • Vocational attainment
  • Other factors

Other factors?

I suppose this is what the agency author was referencing when he/she said a veteran might otherwise qualify for IU despite a lower rating than required if they are frequently hospitalized.

This also seems plausible for veterans who are frequently hospitalized on a temporary basis following an invasive surgery that requires follow-up or for a botched surgery.

IU claims could benefit from an adverse VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment decision from a Voc Rehab Counselor. If the counselor denies benefits for the veteran citing a lack of feasibility of any vocational goal, the denial letter could serve as solid evidence.

In Closing

There are a lot of great resources out there, and I hope this article gives you enough of an overview to start researching your own claim. Be sure to verify the references with your own research.

Please note the terms and concepts VA considers when adjudicating these claims are very complicated. I encourage anyone pushing for this benefit to consult an attorney after they have been denied.

Also, be sure you fill out the VA Form 21-8940, fully. On that form, be sure to included full and complete statements as to how each disability impacts you and your employability.

Again, this is complicated, and billions of dollars are paid out each year for this benefit alone. Needless to say, the agency fights these cases hard.

Some resources:

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Quote: “Over the past few years, the Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly floated cutting these benefits for certain veterans to help balance the budget. While most veteran organizations have opposed this specific cut, I anticipate a cut will come at some point in the future.”

    “If this happens, my guess would be the benefit might be cut for veterans over 65 who are not already receiving the benefit but who otherwise qualify for it. Presently, some severely disabled veterans who are elderly currently receive the benefit.” Unquote!

    Ben, I’m still somewhat confused over this statement; are you saying – only veterans who have applied recently, under 65, or don’t have IU yet, may have their benefits cut? Or, those currently receiving IU will have it cut?

    Lastly, in the past few months, veterans have started receiving letters telling them they won’t receive the “VA form 21-4140, Employment Questionnaire”! Instead, the VA is going to be working closely with the Social Security Office, to see if veterans – (who are receiving IU) – have had gainful employment.
    On this particular subject, a vet could be screwed IF someone, say one of those 12 million to 30 million “undocumented immigrants”, has stolen their Social Security number and is ILLEGALLY gainfully employed under the veterans Social Security Number!!!!!
    The VA won’t know anything until the Social Security Office informs them. Who in turn informs the veteran. Which could take months! At which time the veteran gets stripped of his/her monies.
    That could turn into a real FUBAR for the veterans!

  2. Working full-time at a fast food restaurant earns thousands more than the poverty level based upon a 1 or 2 person household. Still marginal employment?

  3. When David Shulkin was Secretary I had significant conversations on this issue. First, taking away IU is easier said than done. Lets start with the obvious, every IU veterans would immediately flood the system with a claim. That would dump 200K claim over night hitting like a tsunami. It would bury the system for at least 2 years if not more and each claim not adjudicated in favor would go to appeal. The flood of calls to Congress would deafening. Second, i argued with Shulkin that all 200K of us would sue for Voc Rehab. We would bring that system to a halt. I was denied VocRehab when granted IU and actually did not want IU. Third, for Vets with pyschological problems it would cause a flood of Vet hospitalization in attempt to do 22 days to gain 100% Fourth, hopefully my fellow Vets would see this as a declaration of no holes barred war. Fifth, my estimate is that at least half of the 200K would gain 100 percent there fore the gain would not be significant.
    So my message to Congress is go do it. Make my day. I am ready to wage a level of “war” against the VA that will bring it to its knees. PS. To all who do not understand. I was deprived of my high inocme years because of my disability. This is not welfare. I ready to fight to my last breath. So make my day.

    • I was also deprived of my high income years. 30 in all by a failure of the VA to start a recommended, by the CA Rehab physician, treatment for temporal lobe seizures in 1985. I was finally begun treatment in 1990 but with a medication I shouldn’t have been given on two counts by the 1990 PDR. After the trial of only the one drug, my diagnosis was converted to pseudo seizures and I wasn’t treated until 2015 for the absence and complex partial seizures. (being drifty) To drifty to keep a job. In 2017 I was granted TDIU which was in process at the time because of the TBI adjustment in 2008. By January of 2016 I was more employable than I was when I got out of the Navy in 1974. Yes, I’m trying to sue. At the 10th Circuit fighting the “Feres Doctrine” and “Sovereign Immunity”

  4. “I encourage anyone pushing for this benefit to consult an attorney after they have been denied”

    Any advice on finding an attorney for IU or Social security benefits? I’ve seen attorneys who advertise for Social Security a lot on TV and have heard that once you have started with them, no other attorney will touch you with a ten foot pole. With internet, attorney options have increased but even the smartest veterans can be taken advantage of.

    • Any veteran who takes on this effort must have a mind set they are dealing with raw pure evil. There is no other way to describe the VA and the US government. We must have the mind set this is war. Our actions must be legal and within the law but this is war. It is either us or them. We will stop at nothing within the law. We will not go away. We will contact every senator on the planet. We will picket. Attend hearings and make our voice known. Lets never forget this worthless government stiffed Vietnam Vets for 30 years until we are all dead and dying and then gave us benefits. That is the act of cold bloodied killers which the US government is. They deserve no quarter, no mercy. They are now doing the same for Iraq Afghanistan veterans. We must stand against this evil.

  5. Some will do both. And you need SSI or SDI from Social Security before you can expect TDIU from the VA. SSA examiners and investigators did a far more complete job than any VA examiner or adjudicator did. My CAVES report from SSA is going to be primary evidence in my claim for medical malpractice going back to 1974 and continuing until I was finally treated and 74 years of age in 2015.

    Like the VA. It is the luck of the draw. I recommend applying for SDI vs SSI “welfare”. The state you are in doesn’t want to pay their share of welfare. So their hired physicians and investigators of your claim are more likely to side with you on an SDI claim which is totally Social Security, no state funds.

  6. So the basic question is: If the V.A. ends TDIU, does that mean that it only ends for all new applicants not yet granted? Or ALL recipients of TDIU? I read somewhere that when the V.A. makes fundamental changes to the rating system that all rated veterans are “grandfathered in”. If so, would this remain true even if another non-veteran V.A. secretary such as Shulkin (or Congress agrees to the CBO’s draconian recommendations) moves to “…end TDIU”? Thanks Ben.

    • Brad, you asked a good question. First Title 35 of Federal Law mandates that VA benefits can not be determined by age. this means that if I am 90 years old they have to treat my rating as if I was 21. So if there are changes to IU Congress must change title 35. That opens up a pandora box of mess. This means that if you became 100 disabled for Agent Orange lets say and 70 years old they could give you a lower amount because of less impact. It means that Special Montly Compensation like loss of “creative organ” resulting from combat or disease would paid at lesser rate for older veterans. It is a can of worms. Lets assume they change Title 35 please read my response above. But also look at our rating. We are Permanent and Totally Disabled. Yes that is our rating. They will take away IU cause they expect us to work. So how do we go from being Permanent and Totally disabled one day to NOT? The obvious answer, if we all stick together, is to demand Voc Rehab. Now let me tell you the rules of Voc Rehab. While we are in Voc Rehab according to current rules we still get IU. Then once we get a job we are given a year to prove we can work. This gives us plenty of time to file repetative claims, and fight the VA. Once again as stated above. This is war. You can not treat the VA or US Congress as if they are humane and honest people. They are our enemy.

      • Thank you William for your detailed thoughts. My basic overall rating is 90%, and I have been TDIU since early 2016 retroactive to 2014. My copy of the annual “America is Grateful to You for Your Service” letter answers “Yes” that I am considered to be “…totally and permanently disabled…” The topic of whether existing TDIU recipients would lose their 100% benefit status if the V.A. decided to terminate the benefit has not been made clear by any of the “stakeholders” party to such proposals (the veteran groups, the V.A., or others). However, I saw a new book that was just published in January (2019) entitled, “HOW TO APPLY FOR DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BENEFITS”. The author is Thomas Day and the book cost me $75.00. The publisher is the “Senior Veterans Service Alliance”. The book is some 548 pages long (PB). On page 255 they reference an item taken from STARS & STRIPES’ website, which was posted on July 16, 2015. The article was written by Tom Philpott and is entitled, “Vet groups warn lawmakers not to impose age factor on unemployability benefit”. The reproduced article covers the following few pages with Bradley Flohr, “…a senior advisor on VA Compensation for the Veterans Benefits Administration…” stating in the article (bottom of page 257): Quote: Interviewed after the hearing, Flohr said that no veterans currently eligible for IU benefits need to worry that the ideas floated by the GAO or debated in Congress will result in their own Compensation being cut. (Now page 258:) “They should have no concern,” Flohr said. “The rating schedule specifically states that any time there is a change in the schedule, people are grandfathered at their current evaluation, regardless of whether it would be lowered under a new schedule.” [End of Quote]

        So if this is so, were Shulkin’s ill-advised efforts to end TDIU back in May of 2017 directed at all “new TDIU applicants” only, or to ALL such existing recipients as well? That is a rhetorical question. I’m thinking that Shulkin and the current GAO proposals to “…cut Veteran benefits…” were and are intended to end it for everyone– meaning, of course, that the existing “rating schedule” and any overarching rules, laws and/or regulations would have to be “legally” changed.

        I understand your “Voc Rehab” strategy. But at almost 67 I am not going for any “vocational retraining”. I am truly incapable of any meaningfully gainful employment. However, in May of 2017 I did prepare my own “emergency response” plan in the event that they took my TDIU away. I would go back and fight for the full 100% SCHEDULED rating– which I would think would be “easier” to get back to from an existing underlying 90% rating (versus someone at a lower rating).

        Of course, we must fight for ALL of our veterans– ourselves and our brothers and sisters. Thank you again William, and thank you Ben for making this forum available to us.

    • You can file at any combination but if the ratings do not have at least 1 40% rating with a combination on the schedule reaching 70% or one rating of 60% making TDIU presumptive it is a lot longer route. I filed in 1987 with the total you are indicating and it is still being developed on Remand from the BVA. But when I was granted a 40% TBI adding to my 30%,20%,10% ratings totaling to 70% in 2009, I became presumptive and when I was able to get to the BVA on my 1990 Claim in 2016 the Judge granted me TDIU based upon the presumptive back to 2009 and remanded the 1987 for further development. 1987-2009. I believe I’m going to get the 1987 claim either from Oct 1987, when filed, or my last job end (a part time job) in September of 1990. Forced savings by ignoring my claim.

    • That’s not how “V.A. math” works. If your largest disability is 30%, that means that for that rating the rest of you is 70% not disabled. So the next rating, in your case 20%, is considered against the remaining 70%. Or 14%. That is added to the first, highest rating of 30% to get 44%. At that point the rest of you that is not disabled is 56%, so your third disability at 20% is considered against that. Which comes to 11.2%. That is added to the previous total of 44% to get 55.2%– probably rounded to 60%. With what Ben and his friend Chris Attig have been teaching for years is that you could possibly get 100% TDIU with an “extra-scheduler” rating. But that is very hard to do. Better to get one or more of your existing ratings increased, and/or find something else that is legitimately service-connected, to get that overall number to a minimum of 70%. Of course, one condition at 60% should in theory be enough to apply for 100% TDIU. Good luck in your efforts. By the way, some sites have calculators for veterans to do “V.A. math”. Once you get used to how it works it gets easier to calculate.

    • Yes, I noted that. You can still file for “extra schedular”. It has to be referred to the Director of Benefits according to 38 CFR. I had 30 20 10 when I filed in 1987. But no one referred my claim to the Director of Benefits hence the remand now by the BVA. Nothing changed in my actual disability, just the rating. The 2008 addition of TBI as a separate rating from the psychological residuals (actual deficits cognitively) gave me the added 40% to a combined rating of 70% with one rating minimum of 40%.

      That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have gotten TDIU from my BVA Decision in 1990 that failed to refer my case to the Director of Benefits.

      The strange part is that since being treated for temporal lobe seizures in 2015, I wouldn’t be qualified for TDIU because at 77 I’m more employable than I was in 1974 at 33. I could legitimately have my TDIU lifted and so I’m fighting for a 3.154 medical malpractice claim to keep the TDIU preemptively

      • I still don’t understand. How can a IU increase your rating? So, you file and tell them to make sure it goes to the Director of Benefits? Weird.

  7. This is the case where you can get TDIU on 50% combined rating. You apply for SSDI and are rated. Your CAVES Report says all your disabilities that preclude employability are service connected. When you apply for “extra-schedular TDIU” the claim is automatically supposed to be processed and sent to the Director of Benefits. You shouldn’t have to ask it to go there. That is why my extra-schedular claim is in remand. The DRO never sent it to the Director to complete the development and either grant it or deny it from the Director of Benefits Office. He probably has a section that handles those cases specifically. It is required that the Director handles those cases.

  8. If you are unemployable from your SC disabilities your rating should be higher. But some adjudicators and DROs and BVA Judges won’t follow the rating schedule. So this is essentially a review of their judgements. And you have the SSA examiners and investigators as essentially your expert witness. SSA investigators actually go out to your last employment to find out why you were let go.

  9. im rated 90% service connected of course and a nam volunteer, only son, first generation american, ts clearance and flat feet, but they took me anyway, it was 67-70. then i drank for 25 yrs and then got sober and went back to school. my ss employment records clearly shows my poor employment thru the years.
    after finishing undergrad went to grad school with the mature reasoned thinking to get something that would make me employable. took grad certificates in gerontology, substance abuse counseling AND blind rehabilitation (LOW VISION). I FOUND THAT NOT ONLY I COULD WORK IN PLACES LIKE THE LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND BUT ALSO THE VA. indeed i thought it would be a shoe in for good paying long term VA position. i applied @ palo alto VA and the same week at a low vision clinic in LA on rodeo drive. both interviews went well or so i thought. but i was rejected with no explanation. and this is part where life comes along and totally screws me over. days later at the end of my university studies i learned the chair, or head of the blind rehab department was an active DRAFT DODGER. the school built a phd program around him so he would escape the draft. i wonder if those two things were connected LOL so beware, as they say “the best laid plans of mice and men…” anybody know an experience lawyer!

    • Big Al you do not say what you are rated 90% for. If it is or pyschological and you wish to gain 100% which is easy and difficult at the same time there is a path. First, to get 100% under the current rules usually you must show that you can not care for yourself and/or can not function. There are plenty of Veterans at 100% this does not match but it is the schedular definition. The easiest way to gain 100% is to do repetitive stints in the mental health ward. Now that is very difficult. You must stay 22 days and they will kick you out before then. If you are creative and truly troubled and on the verge of self harm I am sure you can figure this out. Can’t you?
      Once again your mind set must be it is either them or you. It is war. You must cause them more pain (within the rules and law) than they can take. This means letters to every sentator, file an IG complaint, file constant patient advocate complaints (they are mostly worthless) and even use the media. I have done all of the above. I have had numerous TV interviews. Most TV stations love to run a VET complaint story. Sadly, most veterans just slink away with their head down. Not this veteran. 93% of Americans live in the cheap seats of Freedom. They must pay for their lack of commitment to this nation.

  10. Hi. I have a 50% for diabetes AO related plus neourophaty in both arms an legs. Disable by Social Security. Can I apply for UI? Thx

    • You need your CAVES report sent to the VA Benefits section showing that your SSDI or SSI is for your service connected conditions. Your Claim should be two fold. First, because you are unemployable your neuropathy should be rated higher. Second because you are unemployable per SSA you should receive TDIU. And ask on the Claim that the VA retrieve your CAVES Report. Mine was the clincher for my TDIU.

      Make sure you put the neuropathy claim on top so that you can get a high enough rating (over 40%) that will raise your combined rating to 70%. If part of your SSA disability is something other than Diabetes or neuropathy then you need to have that condition rated as secondary to either the Diabetes or neuropathy. I’m presuming your neuropathy is a secondary condition to Diabetes. There are lots of conditions that are secondary to Diabetes that could add to your disability.

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