If you are a former service member with service-connected disabilities and are unable to sustain gainful employment, you may require assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) individual unemployability compensation program. However, to be eligible for these benefits, you will have to prove more than just a service-connected disability.
You’ll also need to prove that your income falls below specific income limits. This program can provide you with 100% compensation for your disabilities, even if they were otherwise rated below the 100% level. Again, though, you’ll have to prove your income falls below a certain level to get this assistance.
Income Limits for VA Unemployability
VA individual unemployability income limits are quite low. There are three ways your income can be below the limits set by VA:
- You are not working and are unable to work at all.
- You work but your income is below the poverty level per the U.S. Census Bureau.
- You work but in a sheltered position that provides accommodations for your service-connected disability.
If your income is below the limits set by VA rules in any of the above scenarios, you may qualify for compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About VA Income Limits
Below we answer some of the most common questions regarding VA’s Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) program.
Will My Assets Count Against My VA Unemployability Income Limits?
No. If you own your house and your car, these won’t be held against you when VA calculates your income.
Will My Job Count Against Me When I Apply?
No—as long as you meet the requirements discussed earlier, you are eligible for compensation. However, there is some evidence that veterans who are employed may be denied at a higher rate than those who are not currently working.
If I Do Odd Jobs, Will the Money I Earn Disqualify Me for Benefits?
VA provides an example of a veteran dog-sitting for a neighbor as an odd job that will not count as income. Jobs under the marginal level are usually within the individual unemployability income limits.
Will the Help I Get From Others Count as Income?
Many veterans who have service-connected disabilities generally have to rely on the assistance of family and friends. For this reason, help with utilities, rent, or other financial assistance from friends or family members will not be counted as income.
Should I Hire an Advocate to Help Me Pursue VA Disability Benefits?
Regardless of what kind of VA disability benefits you need, hiring an advocate could be a beneficial decision. A qualified advocate can:
Review Your Original Claim
Some disabled veterans try to complete a VA disability claim on their own. Often, they receive an unsatisfactory decision from VA officials. You may hire an advocate if VA:
- Denied your claim for benefits
- Rated only one of multiple disabilities
- Did not rate your disability properly
- Has reduced your benefits unjustly
Your advocate will review any unsuccessful claim that you’ve already submitted. They can identify any issues that could have contributed to your claim’s denial. Then, they will rectify any such issues as they re-apply for the benefits you seek.
Work With Your Doctors
A VA disability benefits advocate must be comfortable working directly with physicians. The more your advocate knows about your injuries or illnesses, the better suited they will be to secure rightful benefits for you. In working with your physicians, your advocate may:
- Gather X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other medical images of your injuries
- Obtain your doctor’s written assessments of your injuries or illnesses
- Have your doctor provide direct testimony in support of your claim
- Learn about your treatment course and what specific types of medical care you’ll require in the future
- Obtain any other relevant details of your injury or illness
VA disability claims are heavy on medical jargon and information. A capable advocate may even hire medical experts to assist in your claim.
Deal With VA Representatives
As too many disabled veterans know, actually dealing with VA bureaucracy can be one of the most challenging aspects of the claims process. When you hire an advocate, you release yourself from this obligation, as your advocate will:
- Handle as much of the direct communications with VA officials as possible, including phone calls, written correspondence, in-person meetings, and other communiques
- Submit all necessary documentation to VA officials on your behalf
- Prepare you for any meetings, including medical evaluations, that you must complete with VA officials
You may already have extensive experience dealing with VA representatives. You can rest easy as your advocate takes over this responsibility from you.
Lead the Appeals Process
Appealing a VA decision may be your final chance to get fair disability benefits. You must approach this process with care. Hiring an advocate will provide essential assistance for your appeal. Your advocate can:
- Draft all appeal-related paperwork
- Review any of your written or oral statements related to your appeal
- Answer any appeal-related questions that you have
- Protect your rights during the appeals process
- Rely on fellow advocates and experts as they aim to present the strongest possible appeal
Disabled veterans often feel like they’re alone in their struggle, especially when VA fails to recognize their service-related conditions. With an empathetic, hard-working advocate on your side, you’ll have a capable partner leading your fight for fair benefits.
Disabled Vets Advocates Can Fight for Your VA Benefits
For many former service members, receiving compensation through the VA unemployability program is vital. Unfortunately, applying for this compensation can be complicated. If you need to apply for VA individual unemployability benefits, contact a VA disability advocate.
Veterans disability advocates have the experience and intricate knowledge of VA’s rules necessary to help you get the benefits that you seek. As soon as you hire an advocacy group, they are ready to help you fight through VA bureaucracy and secure all the financial support you deserve.
Request help by calling us today or filling out the online form for a FREE case review today.