By submitting this form, you agree to be contacted via the information given through email, phone call, or text message.

VA Individual Unemployability

If you are a veteran of the U.S. Military and have been injured or gotten sick as a result of your time in the service, and it affects your ability to work, you can receive Disability Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA ratings system that determines the degree to which you are considered disabled and unable to work is based on  percentages that determines how much in benefits you could receive per month.

The VA Disability Rating System

You may receive benefits but find that you still need to work to support yourself. According to the ratings the VA gives you, you may be considered well enough to work because your rating is below 100% but the reality may be that you are not able to actually perform the duties of your job. This is because the VA ratings only take into account the medical diagnosis. But in many cases other factors could hinder your ability to perform these duties in a timely manner or maintain the required hours. Sometimes this may lead to termination of employment. These impediments to your ability to perform your job could also make it difficult to find new employment.

Individual Unemployability -- Increasing Benefits Without Increasing VA Disability Rating

This is where Individual Unemployability comes in. Individual Unemployability not only takes the medical condition that causes the disability into account, but also considers your education and experience in determining your ability to find or maintain work. Additionally, Individual Unemployability considers circumstances that make it difficult to function in the workplace even if you can, to some degree, perform the duties of the job.

Individual Unemployability doesn’t raise your rating but it does offer the same paid benefits as a 100% rating. Individuals with ratings of 70% or more often have the most success at getting a decision to receive Individual Unemployability from the VA. The 70% rating could be for one condition but in many situations this number is from two or more conditions that comprise a 70% rating, such as a VA rating for back pain along with a VA rating for depression.

Individual Unemployability and Psychological Conditions

If your overall VA rating includes psychological conditions such as anxiety or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the presence of these conditions may not directly impede your ability to perform the required duties of your job, but the psychological condition may impede your ability to get along with coworkers or cope with stressors associated with the position such as loud noises or bright lights. Psychological disorders can also impede your ability to sleep, which can additionally limit your ability to work.

Medical Conditions and your VA Disability Rating

Performing the functions of a job is one thing, but sometimes a veteran's medical condition could cause the need for frequent time away from the workplace. If the medical condition in and of itself does not keep you from performing the tasks of your job, you won't receive a 100% VA disability rating.

The condition could however require the need for time away from your job to receive physical therapy or ongoing medical treatments due to a primary or secondary condition. The nature of your disability could also cause time lost on the work site such as excessive trips to the bathroom or a need for frequent breaks due to lack of energy or an inability to maintain focus.

Applying for Individual Unemployability

To apply for Individual Unemployability you will need to provide the following information:

  • Medical records describing the service-connected disability

  • Doctors visits and hospitalizations

  • The date you became unable to work

  • Any employment records from the most recent 5 years you worked

  • Your education and any job training you have had (before or after the onset of your disability)

An Experienced Attorney Can Help With Your Individual Unemployability Application

VA disability claims can be complex and involve multiple forms and requests for information. Errors or missing information can cause your claim be delayed or rejected even if you do qualify. A skilled VA disability lawyer can help you navigate this system when it comes to appealing a denied claim or seeking an increase in your VA rating.

If you have, or believe your can reach, a 70% VA disability rating but are finding it difficult or impossible to find or maintain employment, the Friedman Firm may be able to help. We have experience with Individual Unemployability claims which can result in VA disability payments at the 100% rating level without having your rating raised. 

More in VA Benefits: Veterans Disability Claims