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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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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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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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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Question

Maybe someone knows. I have a 50% disability for feet, the highest they will give. I put in a claim for the other damage it has caused with Doctors saying it has caused these other problems. My podiatrist also put down that I was unemployable do to the additional problems it has caused and these other problems will only get worse, even with care. Do you think they will add the other problems in, get me up to 70% or better and find me unemployable. Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. The other problems caused by my feet are, knee replacement, hip problems and back problems which my Pediatrist has written that the cause is from my feet and will only get worse.  I have put in for in my claim, knee limitation, hips and back as well as a letter from the Doctor that I am unemployable.

My podiatrist wrote to the Veterans Administration saying my service connected disability has caused my problem with my knees, hips and back and even with care will only get worse.  He could not see me gaining employment. 

Edited by PatDonna321
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There are 2 ways to become TDIU:  4.16a and 4.16b.  

Multiple years ago, I asked a former rater on another website about referral to extra schedular consideration (4.16b), when the Veteran does not meet the "percentage requirements" yet is still unemployable.  

He said that (4.16b) was very rare, and frankly to forget it, that it would not happen.  I did not listen to him, and persued 4.16b (extraschedular) tdiu anyway.  Sure enough, the VARO, and VACO denied.  

However, last year, I was awarded Extraschedular TDIU, (4.16b), which resulted in about 2 years of retro, but only after I persisted with several rounds of appeals, including trips to the CAVC.   

Im so glad I did not listen to this former VA employee (rater) and filed anyway, who bragged about how much experience he had with x number of years of experience even training other raters.  

Quote
§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual.

(a) Total disability ratings for compensation may be assigned, where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities: Provided That, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, and that, if there are two or more disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. For the above purpose of one 60 percent disability, or one 40 percent disability in combination, the following will be considered as one disability: (1) Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor, if applicable, (2) disabilities resulting from common etiology or a single accident, (3) disabilities affecting a single body system, e.g. orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric, (4) multiple injuries incurred in action, or (5) multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war. It is provided further that the existence or degree of nonservice-connected disabilities or previous unemployability status will be disregarded where the percentages referred to in this paragraph for the service-connected disability or disabilities are met and in the judgment of the rating agency such service-connected disabilities render the veteran unemployable. Marginal employment shall not be considered substantially gainful employment. For purposes of this section, marginal employment generally shall be deemed to exist when a veteran's earned annual income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person. Marginal employment may also be held to exist, on a facts found basis (includes but is not limited to employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop), when earned annual income exceeds the poverty threshold. Consideration shall be given in all claims to the nature of the employment and the reason for termination.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(b) It is the established policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs that all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of service-connected disabilities shall be rated totally disabled. Therefore, rating boards should submit to the Director, Compensation Service, for extra-schedular consideration all cases of veterans who are unemployable by reason of service-connected disabilities, but who fail to meet the percentage standards set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. The rating board will include a full statement as to the veteran's service-connected disabilities, employment history, educational and vocational attainment and all other factors having a bearing on the issue.

[ 40 FR 42535, Sept. 15, 1975, as amended at 54 FR 4281, Jan. 30, 1989; 55 FR 31580, Aug. 3, 1990; 58 FR 39664, July 26, 1993; 61 FR 52700, Oct. 8, 1996; 79 FR 2100, Jan. 13, 2014]

Bottom line:  File for TDIU as well as an increase in your other disabilities.  Given that you have evidence your doc already said you are unable to maintain SGE, you should eventually win as long as you apply, and persist until you do win.  

Edited by broncovet

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It never hurts to try.  I was awarded zero percent on my first go around.  People told me I would never get more than this.  I went to 50%.  After I lost my job I was told I would never get TDIU which I did.  I ended with 100% when my lawyer told me it would not happen.  The VA does not make awards for persistence, I makes awards based on the evidence and the BVA recently seems much more focused on evidence these past few years.

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I believe the 4.16 (b) is  one of the best regulations out there. (for reaching IU)

and I believe what they do is give the veteran an increase to the specification to 4.16 (a)

before the

rating boards should submit to the Director, Compensation Service, for extra-schedular consideration all cases of veterans who are unemployable by reason of service-connected disabilities, but who fail to meet the percentage standards set forth in paragraph 416 (a)

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12 hours ago, broncovet said:

(b) It is the established policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs that all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of service-connected disabilities shall be rated totally disabled.

 

14 hours ago, PatDonna321 said:

My podiatrist also put down that I was unemployable do to the additional problems it has caused and these other problems will only get worse, even with care.

If VA could read it sounds like a very solid case.

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