Working With A 100% VA Rating
Veterans who have a 100% VA Disability Rating have many questions when it comes to employment. In most cases, Veterans receiving VA disability compensation can still work. However, there are a few exceptions that Veterans must know. The short answer- it depends on how you have reached your 100% rating. Are you getting a 100% schedular rating? Are you getting 100% unemployability (aka, TDIU or IU)? Read on for a breakdown.
Working with a 100% Schedular Disability Rating
If you are working with a 100% VA rating via schedular, there are no limitations on an individual’s ability to work. The eligibility requirements to qualify for the 100 percent schedular disability rating are listed here:
- You must have a service-connected disability; and
- VA must rate it at the 100 percent level as outlined by the criteria for that condition; or
- You have multiple service-connected disabilities that combine to 100 percent
With the 100 percent combined disability rating, you do not have any restrictions on work activity. If you meet the 100 percent rating for your service-connected condition, and you are still able to work, then you may do so.
Working with a TDIU 100% Rating
Total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is a benefit that allows veterans to be compensated at VA’s 100 percent disability rate, even if their combined schedular disability rating does not equal 100 percent. TDIU is awarded when veterans are unable to maintain gainful employment as a result of their service-connected conditions. In this case, substantially gainful employment depends on whether a veteran’s annual income meets or exceeds the federal poverty threshold for a single person. Therefore, there are certain circumstances in which veterans may still be employed while receiving TDIU benefits.
- Veterans with a 100% schedular disability rating may legally have “substantially gainful employment”
- Veterans may receive compensation due to 100% Total Disability/Individual Unemployability; however, they are not eligible to work. Receiving the Individual Unemployability benefit which designates you as 100% “unemployable” means you cannot work a job deemed “substantially gainful employment” because this elevates your income above the “official” Census Bureau’s definition of the poverty line
- In reference to Individual Unemployability, it does not matter how much or how little you work, the measures of “gainful employment” here is whether or not your earnings rise above the poverty threshold as determined by the government
- If you’re still not certain of your individual circumstances, it may be best to consult with a claims expert with knowledge of TDIU benefits