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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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State Disability, TDIU, and Employability


Hello Everyone,
I am a new user to HadIt but I have read many of your discussions in the past.  It is nice to be here with my fellow vets.
Before I ask a question let me give you a little background on my situation.  I have been gainfully employed working in California since 2009.  In 2010 I received a Service Connected Disability for Major Depressive Disorder including PTSD at 50%.  I filed a claim for an increase in July 2015 and was denied in November 2015.  I worked on my appeal until around March 2016 when my PTSD was just too much for me to bear with suicidal and homicidal ideation that I decided to check myself into the hospital.  I completed my appeal with a lawyer requesting 100% for MDD or TDIU.  Also I applied for State Disability which is 55% of my earnings.  State Disability is good for one year.
So now it is getting close to that one year of State Disability and I have heard nothing from the VA DRO about my appeal other than the average is 533 days.  The time off from work has been good but I feel as if I should not go back because I do not believe my PTSD is good enough yet or ever will be.  The problem with that is (I know a lot of people have gone through this while waiting for an appeal) if I do not go back to work in March, I could definitely lose my house and cars and will not be able to support my wife and three kids.
So my question is, what will happen if I try to go back to work with reasonable accomodations (I hope) and then my appeal comes back for 100% or TDIU?  Is there a trial to work period of one year similar to SSDI?  I have my doubts of being able to work so soon and would like more time getting treatment but I feel I have enough control to remove myself like before if I cannot handle it. Any advice or insight on my situation?

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Read this fast IU Link

If you continue to work  your hurting yourself trying to get the IU.

Read all about this  VA Fast letter.






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While I agree with Buck that you hurt your chances of TDIU by working, you still should work until you can not work any more for several reasons.

1.  VA does not pay you for unemployment.  They pay for unemployability due to SC condtions.  Many people get unemployed for many reasons.  However, to get TDIU you need a doc to state you can not work due to SC conditions.  If you CAN work, but choose not to, the VA wont grant your claim.  They have ways of figuring this out.  

2.  You have the rest of your life to be disabled, and you might as well be as productive as you can for as long as you can.  It helps your health.   Yes, I know working is much harder than not working, but its the right thing to do for many reasons.  

3,  In sum, work when you can, only when you can not should you seek TDIU.  As I have explained, VA does not pay TDIU in advance, but in arrears AFTER you have documented that you can no longer work.  You wont get TDIU in anticipation of being unable to work next year.  Keep looking for work, as I did, until your doctor tells you its hopeless, and, even then, I kept looking for work, until I finally admitted the doc was right.  If you give up looking for work BEFORE the doc thinks your unemployable, you wont get TDIU.  

Edited by broncovet
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Your situation as I see it, sounds like with little effort on your part, you can do some sort of "Sedentary work." While it's a fact, you certainly couldn't live on the VA SGI Figure of $12,400 per yr for a Vet under 65, that is the number ($238 per wk - $8.00 per hr 30 hr week) your up against. It's up to you to prove your unable to do "ANY TYPE of Sedentary Work."  Not just with the USPO.

Your currently at 50% SC (you don't qualify for a reg A$$ IU Claim), so the only type of IU Award would be an Extra-Scheduler. That would require the VA Rater, determined on a "facts found basis," to forward a request for the ES IU to the Rating Dept MFIC.

Give consideration to applying to the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Dept on your E-Ben Claims site. If after reviewing your VA Files, the VA Voc Rehab Councilor believes your Disability picture is so Severe and based strictly on your SC's you are ineligible for the VR program, a " VR Denial Letter" could take the 'Sedentary Work" issue, off the table.

Semper Fi

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Thank you Buck, Gastone, and Bronco for the insight.
I did not want to go on State Disability and reduce my pay to 55% but I had to.  I have so much pressure in my head that I feel like getting a hammer to relieve it. My thoughts of suicidial and homicidal ideation I feel make me a danger to myself and my workplace.  It is still going on and my shrink wants to prescribe me lithium.  My therapist seems to be giving up on me though and doesn't know how to help me anymore.
My job has been sedentary since 2009. Through the VocRehab, it was identified based on my mental issues, agoraphobia, and social impairment I was suggested to get an accounting degree to get a job away from people. After I received my degree they saw my current work and my salary of 70K and considered my rehab complete but my job is very stressful and involves many people.
I do want to work don't get me wrong and I am not just trying to go on 100% disability to get out of working but I feel I am not remotely close to ready to going back yet.  I have not felt so depressed and suicidal and unsure of myself in my whole life and my coping skills and meds just are not helping enough.   My flashbacks, night terrors, and lack of sleep seem to have evolved to levels I cannot deal with.  I had my shrink fill out a DBQ and it is looking more toward 70% but when she filled this out I wasn't feeling so bad.  Currently my shrink wants to prescribe me lithium.
Financially I would make more if I did work compared to getting 100% disability but my thoughts are getting the best of me and still are.  I just signed up for VA healthcare which I never did before because I was always working and had health insurance.  I am hoping there are special groups more geared toward vets.
I have three months to get back to work or be in financial ruin, I was just hoping my appeal to the DRO which I submitted back in April 2016 for 100% PTSD would come back to give me more time to possibly get better.

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