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Can You Work And Collect VA Disability Benefits?

If you receive a total disability rating, you’ll be eligible for full benefits that replace your previous income. Depending on what you do for work, you’ll still be able to make money while receiving your compensation. However, there are certain cases where making money prevents you from qualifying for benefits.

How Does The VA Determine Disability Benefits?

According to the VA, disability ratings are assigned to you based on your service-related injuries’ severity. Anything over 10% would be eligible for monthly compensation and other benefits like clothing allowances and VA health care. A total disability rating means you’ve received a score of 100%, which makes you eligible for the maximum payout. Additionally, the VA can fully compensate veterans if deemed “individually unemployable,” even if they didn’t receive a total disability rating.

When Are Veterans Allowed To Work?

When you qualify for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU),  the VA treats you similarly to a veteran with a total disability rating. This designation also means that your employment options will be greatly limited while receiving TDIU.

Marginal Employment

If you still want to work and qualify for TDIU, marginal employment will be one of your only options. You would be considered marginally employed if your job:

  • Schedules you for part-time hours or less
  • Pays less than the poverty line
  • Is a protected work environment where the job duties are tailored to your needs (e.g., a company that employs people with disabilities)

The VA has strict requirements for what is classified as marginal employment for TDIU, so make sure you find a position that won’t interfere with your eligibility.

Substantially Gainful Employment

According to the VA, you are considered gainfully employed when your job is “usually performed by the non-disabled to earn a living with earnings common to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran lives.” To put it simply, you’re fully employed when you are working in a regular job without any special accommodations.

If the VA classifies your current job as substantially gainful employment, you may not be eligible for maximum benefits. It would go against the idea of TDIU, which is intended for veterans who are ineligible to work in regular positions.

Do You Need To Be On TDIU Permanently?

Depending on your circumstances, you can qualify for permanent TDIU based on your VA examination results. For example, the VA can initially give you temporary TDIU if you fit the requirements and change your status after the initial period expires. Depending on the medical condition’s progression or your age, you can receive permanent benefits if nothing has changed.

If the VA notices your condition has improved or you found full-time work, the VA can reduce your benefits. You may still qualify for SSDI benefits or other programs based on your new disability rating.

Our Lawyers Are Here To Help

Even if you have a disability that prevents you from working, getting approved for TDIU can be complicated because of the strict requirements. However, as long as you can prove to VA that your disability holds you back from being employed, your application will be approved without any issues. Once you receive official approval, follow the VA’s requirements to keep receiving your full compensation. 

If you’re a veteran who wants to file a TDIU claim for maximum benefits, our team of professional veterans’ disability attorneys will guide you and help you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us at 855-599-2141 or fill out our contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation today. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.

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