VA Unemployability Requirements and Eligibility
Individual Unemployability Requirements
- Evidence of at least one service-connected disability AND
- That the service-connected disability or disabilities are sufficient, without regard to other factors,
to prevent performing the mental and/or physical tasks required to get or keep substantially gainful employment AND
- That one disability is ratable at 60% or more, OR
- If more than one disability exists, one disability is ratable at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.
Individual Unemployability Eligibility
- You must be a veteran
- You must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 60%, OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities at least one disability ratable at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.
- You must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful employment for VA purposes).
VA Unemployability Income Limits
If Currently Not Employed
- If you are currently not working, your income should not be an issue.
If You Are Currently Employed
- First, your job must be considered marginal employment or a protected sheltered work environment.
- Marginal means you earned at or below the poverty level on the same year as your effective date.
- Sheltered means you have accommodations at your job for your service-connected disabilities.
FAQ: Individual Unemployability Requirements
Do I need both mental and physical conditions to get IU?
No. According to the VA Unemployability requirements you do not need both a mental and physical condition. If just your mental or physical conditions are severe enough, you are within the VA Unemployability requirements.
Will the VA consider all my conditions for IU benefits?
The VA is going to consider all service-connected mental and physical disabilities. Individual Unemployability requirements also make the VA look at your secondary service-connected disabilities.
What if the VA says I’m not eligible under the VA Unemployability requirements?
If you were denied for not meeting the Individual Unemployability requirements in the last one year you can appeal. If you were denied for not meeting the VA Unemployability requirements over 12 months ago, you can file a new application. Remember, a denial is not the end of your IU claim.
Can I get IU benefits for PTSD?
Yes. If your mental conditions are severe enough you could receive PTSD Individual Unemployability benefits. Remember, the VA will consider more than just your PTSD. You could receive a combined rating if you have other mental and physical impairments.
How much do IU benefits pay monthly?
To see the current pay rates, click this link for the Individual Unemployability fact sheet.
What if my disabilities have worsened since my last Rating Decision?
If you were rated years ago and didn’t meet the VA Unemployability requirements, you can file a new application. If your disabilities are now preventing you from working, you can try again to meet the Individual Unemployability requirements. Your VA Rating Decision letter must have been made over a year ago to file for an increase in benefits, otherwise, you need to appeal.
Should I apply for IU if I have 100% rating?
It really wouldn’t make sense to do this – we get asked this question all the time. You can receive a 100% VA Disability rating or Individual Unemployability benefits. They both pay the same, but you can’t get payments from both as separate benefits.
Are IU benefits permanent?
Not always. But we don’t see the VA take them away from many clients once they have been approved. Many veterans call IU benefits “permanent and total VA disability benefits” and that confuses people. You can receive a permanent rating if your disabilities are not expected to improve. But a permanent rating and an IU rating are completely separate items.
FAQ: Individual Unemployability Income Limits
Can I receive IU benefits if I’m working?
Yes! But remember, the Individual Unemployability income limits require you to have marginal employment or accommodations at your job. However, we find that the VA denies IU claims where the veteran is working at a higher rate than non-working veterans.
Can I get IU benefits if I do odd-jobs?
Yes! As long as you are working at or under the marginal level or have a sheltered job, you will be within the Individual Unemployability income limits.
Will the VA consider my assets?
The VA is not going to consider your assets. For example, suppose you have your house paid off, that is not going to affect your Individual Unemployability income limits. The Individual Unemployability income limits are going to consider your current income that is coming into you.
What if other people have been paying for my living expenses?
Lots of veterans need help from their support system of family and friends when applying for IU benefits. That assistance is not going to be considered income for purposes of the Individual Unemployability income limits. For example, if you are a veteran who is receiving money for rent and utilities from a family member or friend, that is not considered in your Individual Unemployability income limits.
Learn More: Calculate your rating with our VA Disability Benefits Rating Calculator
Get Help From Woods & Woods VA Unemployability Lawyers
Free Application Help
Woods & Woods Individual Unemployability lawyers have helped thousands of veterans apply for IU benefits at no cost. We’ll make sure you learn everything you need to know about applying for Individual Unemployability benefits. Applying for Individual Unemployability benefits is a pro bono service of our law firm for America’s bravest men and women.
You only pay your Woods & Woods Individual Unemployability benefit denial lawyer if your appeal is successful. Our veterans unemployability lawyers have successfully filed thousands of appeals. The legal team of lawyers, case managers, paralegals, and support staff at Woods & Woods work with doctors outside the VA, psychologists outside the VA, and vocational experts to win your claim.
Free Individual Unemployability Consultation
The Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits lawyers at Woods & Woods never charge for VA claim consultations. Reach out to our TDIU benefits lawyers and learn your legal rights as a disabled veteran. If you have questions about the VA Unemployability requirements and VA Unemployability income limits, give us a call. You can always start the process by filling out the contact form online.