Can I file a claim for Individual Unemployability While Employed?
It does sound odd to claim for Individual Unemployability while employed.
Many veterans ask if they can have a paying job and still file a claim for Individual Unemployability (IU). Under the VA regulations, if you need to find work while your case is being resolved you may still be eligible for IU.
One helpful thing to remember is that Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU or IU) is not Social Security Disability (SDD). Also, it is not structured in the same way as Social Security Disability (SSD). In many ways, the requirements to obtain IU benefits (being paid at the 100% rate) are more lenient than those of Social Security. You must be found to be completely unable to work, under any conditions or circumstances, in order to qualify for SSD, . Under VA regulations, however, the qualifiers for IU claims is not whether or not the veteran is capable of working. It is whether or not the veteran can engage in substantially gainful employment.
What is Substantially Gainful Employment?
The VA defines Substantially Gainful Employment as
employment that is ordinarily followed by the non-disabled to earn their livelihood with earnings common to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides.
This means it would be a job that a non-disabled person can perform, with earnings above the poverty level. For example, “substantially gainful” might include a job as an office clerk, a bookkeeper, a flight attendant, or a sales associate. A substantially gainful occupation would require the employee to be competent, efficient, and reliable.
If your earnings are below the poverty level that the job cannot be considered substantially gainful. Instead, it is considered marginal employment. Marginal employment can also include employment in which you make more than the poverty level, but you work in a “sheltered environment”, e.g. a family business. As stated under the VA regulations. The VA cannot automatically deny a claim for IU on the basis of a veteran engaging in marginal employment.
If you do decide to go back to work, and the VA denies your claim for IU, you can appeal that decision. Cameron Firm PC has certified Veteran Appeals Lawyers on staff who will fight with you to secure the benefits you deserve. We understand the sacrifices you have made. Our knowledge of the VA system can help you win the claim you may want to give up on. Call our office, Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 for a free consultation. We are here to help you secure the benefits you deserve.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.