By David Austin
October 12, 2018
Working With Individual Unemployability (IU)
Individual unemployability (IU) is a part of VA’s disability compensation program that allows VA to pay certain veterans compensation at the 100 percent rate, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at the total level. To be eligible, a veteran must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of his/her service-connected disabilities. Additionally, a veteran must have one service-connected disability ratable at 60 percent or more, or two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more with a combined rating of 70 percent or more.
Veterans who are in receipt of IU benefits may work as long as it is not considered substantially gainful employment. The employment must be considered marginal employment. Substantially gainful employment is defined as employment at which non-disabled individuals earn their livelihood with earnings comparable to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides. Marginal employment is generally deemed to exist when a veteran's earned income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Census Bureau as the poverty level for the veteran only.
Understanding Voc Rehab Benefits
VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is intended for veterans who have a combined service-connected disability rating of 20 percent or more and for certain service members awaiting discharge due to a medical condition. A veteran with 10 percent combined service connected rating may apply for benefits but must meet additional entitlement criteria. The mission of VR&E is to help veterans with service-connected disabilities and certain service members awaiting discharge due to a medical condition to prepare for, find and keep suitable employment. For individuals entitled to benefits but with disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work as a viable option, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.
Services/Benefits that may be provided by VR&E include:
- Comprehensive vocational evaluation to determine abilities, skills, interests, and needs
- Vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning
- Employment services such as job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance
- Assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives
- If needed, training such as on-the-job training (OJT), apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
- If needed, post-secondary training at a college, vocational, technical or business school
- Supportive vocational rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and referral
- Independent living services
VSO Issues Strong Warning To All Veterans
Recently, several of my clients were put through unnecessary stress because those who didn't understand the Aid & Attendance benefit filed a claim for them, or told them to file, even though they weren't eligible.
A&A is simply an additional monetary award granted under various conditions. Its basic definition is: "...you require the permanent need of aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature..." Permanent means just that: you'll always need this level of care, not just temporarily.
Those who may qualify for the A&A monetary award include veterans or surviving spouses who are receiving VA Pension; veterans who are rated 100% Permanent and Total (P&T), but only if they have a permanent need for A&A due to service-connected disabilities only; and spouses of veterans who are 30% or more service-connected if the spouse has a permanent need for A&A. VA Form 21-2680 is a medical exam form that's submitted to VA for consideration. A&A is not a benefit that will provide home-health services.
Organization Will Help With Discharge Upgrade
Red River Veterans for Peace, Chapter 154, an affiliate of national Veterans for Peace, is committed to assisting veterans with the process of applying for discharge upgrades. If you are one of these veterans or know veterans who might be helped by this upgrade, please write to RRVFP with a statement of your issue, telephone number, and your name. Write to: RRVFP, P.O. Box 5612, Fargo, ND 58105. Someone will contact the veteran and find a time they can meet/talk and review the process required to submit an application for review. RRVFP will also help veterans find resources that can be helpful in assembling the petition for review.