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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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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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Marginal Employment and Telework


I have a question about marginal employment and the "protected environment" thing... I have migraines (should be 50% - waiting on the appeal which should be finished in November), chronic fatigue syndrome (about to appeal on that one; should be 60%), and PTSD (mid-appeal for that; should be 50%). I got out of the military in 2001. Before my military service, during my military service, and immediately after my military service, I worked as an admin professional (was personnel in the military). In 2002, my disabilities were getting too severe, and I had to quit working full-time because of it. I was taking too many sick days and half days because I just couldn't do a full day of work.

It never even dawned on me to file disability until 2014, when I started the process with my migraines. In all those intervening years, I did odd jobs, temp assignments, part-time work, and was a homemaker. Because the chronic fatigue comes and goes, I could do temp assignments as long as I started the assignment just AFTER a relapse; my relapses come about 6-9 months apart (usually, although it varies), so a 3-month temp that fell into my healthy period worked out okay, but full-time, long-term stuff was just out of the question.

Because I needed something I could do that was flexible, I taught myself to do online marketing. Now, I have a job where I'm a content marketing manager, and it pays me above the poverty level. But what I can't do is go into an office. Technically, my current job is full-time, but because I've worked things out with my employer, I get to work from home on a flexible schedule. While I may still put in 40 hours a week, I'm able to space that out depending on how I'm feeling.

I can't physically work a full-time, long-term, 9-to-5 type of job, but I can do telecommuting as long as I have some flexibility in my schedule. Does this count as a "protected environment"?

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It sounds like you are seeking TDIU, and wanting to know if your work situation is a "protected environment", as far as "what VA will do".  

Of course, we can not say for sure "what VA will do", that is, will they consider you in a "protected environment" for TDIU purposes or not.  

However, (if I understand your question correctly, and that would not be the first time I wasnt getting it) its pretty rare when VA grants TDIU to someone who is working.  

Perhaps more importantly that whether you are in a protected enviornment, is do you meet "the rest" of the criteria.  Did a doctor say you are "unable to work due to your SC condition(s)"?  If not, you then you probably dont meet the criteria for TDIU anyway.  If a doctor did say this, does he know you are working?  Did he approve of you working in this "protected environment".  

All this said, I can see how this would all make sense.  You have intermittent migraines which sometimes takes you out of the workplace, but you apparently have a job flexible enough to accomodate that. 

Normally, "protected environment" is some sort of family business where they offer a disabled Vet a "job" which keeps him busy, and keeps him from getting bored, but he really would not be able to perform the job outside of the family business.  In other words, the family is essentially donating to him all  or some portion of his salary.  

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Protected employment is through a family or organization were you could not work otherwise.  If you are above marginal employment pay and benefits and working a "full time" job you will not get TDIU.  I worked when I could while on FMLA and the VA considered this employment.  Even after I lost my job due to migraines the VA considered me employable even though an employment expert through the SSDI office called me unemployable. It took the BVA to change the decision that I was not employable.

This took ten years.  I was declared eligible for SSDI and I had unemployment insurance payments through work during this time or I would have been destitute.  I am saying do not quit your job to get TDIU.

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Some times the SSA don't agree to give the total disability just because a Veteran has IU   and in some cases just because the Veteran was awarded the SSDI don't necessarily mean VA they will award the  IU

Lot of these decisions depends on what the disability is and the severity of it  usually the norm is that veteran can't work due to his S.C. Disability  and proves it with medical evidence and Dr stating he can't work due to his s.c. disability.   you need to whole 9 yards to get IU    With the SSA its usually given when a Veteran is awared the iu but not always.

if this makes a lick of sense?

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