Veterans often have many questions about Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, so we have collected these questions and provided answers. If you want to learn more about IU benefits, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about IU benefits at no cost.
Attorney Neil Woods answers veterans’ common questions on IU Benefits:
Q: What are the other names for Individual Unemployability (IU)?
A: Total Disability Individual Unemployability, VA Unemployability, TDIU Benefits, and IU Benefits are all other names for Individual Unemployability.
Q: Who is Individual Unemployability for?
A: Individual Unemployability Benefits are for veterans with employment issues resulting from disabilities connected to their military service.
Q: Do I need both mental & physical conditions in order to get Individual Unemployability Benefits?
A: No. However, most veterans that we help do have a combination of mental and physical disabilities.
Q: Will the VA consider all of my conditions when determining Individual Unemployability Benefits?
A: The VA considers only two types of conditions for IU Benefits: Direct Service Disabilities & Secondary Service Disabilities.
Q: What if the VA says I am not eligible under VA Unemployability Requirements?
A: The VA is very careful in considering IU Ratings, and many veterans must go into the appeals process. This is very common. You can appeal your denial within one year. Note the date listed on your Rating Decision Letter from the VA, as this tells the deadline by which you must file an appeal. If this deadline lapses, you can apply again, starting the process from the beginning.
Q: What if my disabilities have worsened since the time of my last rating decision?
A: If it has been over a year since you received your rating decision, you can file an Increased Rating Application.
Q: Should I apply for Individual Unemployability Benefits if I have 100% rating?
A: Since Individual Unemployability Benefits pay veterans at the 100% VA disability rate, it does not really make sense to apply for IU if you are receiving 100% rating. There is the additional chance that upon re-reviewing your documentation the VA may actually decrease your monthly benefits.
Q: Are Individual Unemployability Benefits always permanent?
A: No. The VA views most conditions as able to be improved with treatment.
Q: Can a veteran receive Individual Unemployability Benefits if they’re working?
A: Yes. However, this greatly weakens the argument that you cannot work, since you have a job. This makes your application much more likely to be denied. Your income relative to the poverty level will affect your ability to receive benefits. There are two types of jobs you can hold while receiving IU benefits: marginal employment or a protected sheltered work environment. If you have a Marginal job, you earn at or below the poverty level in the same year as your effective date. If you have a Sheltered job, you require accommodations at your job, and most examples involve family or friends employing a veteran to help out at their business in a case where that veteran is otherwise unemployable.
Q: Will the VA consider my assets for Individual Unemployability?
A: No. While the VA will not consider your assets, they will consider your income level in the year of your effective date. Help you receive from friends or family is not considered income under the VA’s rules.
Q: Can I receive both Social Security Disability and Individual Unemployability?
A: Yes, you can get both benefits at the same time. Social Security has two types of benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI considers your income limits, so our focus would be on SSDI, which is for people who have worked. It involves work credits. TDIU and SSDI benefits are completely separate programs with very little overlap in rules, eligibility, and guidelines. Claims are processed differently, and Social Security claims are typically settled far in advance of VA claims. Also note that while use of drugs or alcohol to self-medicate would not disqualify your VA claims, such behaviors can hurt your Social Security claim. Your work credits from time spent in the military work in favor of your eligibility for Social Security.
Q: How much Individual Unemployability back pay should I receive?
A: This varies, and can be affected by your effective date, or date of application. Veterans’ disability appeals, which often take 4 years from the start of the appeals process, can result in several years’ worth of back pay. In appeals taking 4 years, this may be in excess of $100,000.
Q: Does a college degree bar you from receiving Individual Unemployability Benefits?
A: A college degree does not prevent you from receiving IU Benefits. This question is the result of a rumor that is especially common among veterans that have worked in service organizations, but it is not true.
Q: Can I apply again for Individual Unemployability if I had applied previously and was denied?
A: Yes, you can apply repeatedly if you have a previous claim that is closed.
Q: Are National Guard and Reservists eligible for Individual Unemployability Benefits?
A: National Guard and Reservists veterans are eligible for IU Benefits if they were activated by the federal government. However, activation by the state government does not make one eligible.
Q: What are the IU Benefits requirements?
A: The Individual Unemployability requirements are (1) you must be a veteran to get IU Benefits and (2) you must have one 60% service-connected disability or two or more service-connected disabilities with one rated at 40% and a combined VA disability rating of 70% to qualify for IU Benefits.
Talk to our Lawyers About Your IU Benefits Claim for Free
Need help with your IU Benefits claim? Woods & Woods Individual Unemployability lawyers have successfully represented thousands of disabled veterans.
Since 1985, Woods & Woods has fought for injured and disabled people. We have teams of lawyers, case managers, doctors, psychologists, vocational experts, case analysts, and support staff dedicated to only IU Benefits claims.
Were you denied IU Benefits? It’s time to talk with an Individual Unemployability benefit denial lawyer. If we are successful in overturning your IU Benefits denial, our fee is 20% of back pay and case expenses. If you do not win your appeal, you pay our IU Benefits lawyers nothing.
Want to learn more about hiring a lawyer? We offer free legal consultations to anyone who needs help. We’ll examine your case and determine how we can best help you. You’ll be able to ask questions about IU Benefits claims and we’ll answer them. There is never an obligation to hire Woods & Woods just because you contacted us. We even help with IU Benefits applications for free.