Jump to content
  • veteranscrisisline-badge-chat-1.gif

  • Advertisemnt

  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    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 ...
    Continue Reading
  • Ads

  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   


  • Advertisemnt

  • VA Watchdog

  • Advertisemnt

  • Ads

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

    employment 2.jpeg

    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

  • 0
Sign in to follow this  

Schedular question for forum Elders


Called 800 827 1000 last week. VA Rep literally said permanent and total means I could $100k a year working from home now and my VA benefits would not be rescinded. Was he accurate?

Smc-s, permanent & total and TDIU (most confusing part).

Benefits letter reads (VA math rating is 98% with 70% MH): 

  • You have one or more service-connected disabilities: Yes
  • Your combined service-connected evaluation is: 100%
  • You are being paid at the 100 percent rate because you are unemployable due to your service-connected disabilities: Yes
  • You are considered to be totally and permanently disabled due solely to your service-connected disabilities: Yes 

Am I what some here call schedular?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

4 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

TDIU is not the same as schedular. TDIU means that even though your disabilities don't add up to 100% you will be paid at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability.

Unemployability is not the same as schedular and being employed, Here's some info for you.

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

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

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 after being rated 100% disabled.

Some Veterans like to work just for the sake of having something to do.
Other Veterans like to work for non-profits or other organizations that provide  a public service …. after all, Veterans as a community are more heavily oriented to public service than many other groups of people.

Yet other Veterans still like to keep doing the job that they did, as they find that the income from even a 100% VA disability rating is not enough to cover all their expense.

Whether  the family’s bills, funding college educations for kids and grand-kids, medical bills for spouses and children, or paying off the mountains of debt that have likely built up in the 5-10 years you have probably been waiting for the Veterans Affairs to get off it’s arse and make the right decision….100% disability rating is barely enough money to live off.

quotes-001@3x-150x150.pngSo, here’s the answer…and it’s a lawyers FAVORITE answer….It Depends. Whether a 100 percent Disabled Veteran can work turns on the answer to this question: Are you getting a 100% schedular rating, or 100% unemployability (aka, TDIU or IU)?

Veterans that Receive 100% Schedular Ratings have NO Limitations on Their Ability to Work.

Veterans are rated for their Veterans Affairs Disability based on a set of tables known as the VA Impairment Rating Tables. These are also known as the “Schedule of Ratings”. So, if your 100% VA Disability Rating comes because you qualify for the 100% rating specified for a single (or combination of multiple) service-connected conditions using the Schedule of Ratings, then you have NO limitations on your ability to work.

Some Veterans think that this doesn’t make sense: after all, if you are 100% disabled, that means you can’t do anything, right? This is one of the problems with the VA Disability Compensation system – for years, we have been led to believe that the percentage of rating equates to a percentage of how much our body is disabled.

In reality, the percentage of your disability rating means that you have had that percentage of interference with your ability to earn an income.

So a Veteran whose service connected condition equates to a 100% disability rating is not – in the eyes of the law – 100% disabled. Instead, in the eyes of the law, the Veteran’s ability to earn an income has been 100% interfered with.

Bottom line, if you are rated 100% using the Schedule of Ratings, or the Impairment Ratings Table – whether it is for one condition or multiple conditions – than you can work as much or as little as you want.

In theory, you could make $1,000,000 a minute and still collect a 100% Veterans Affairs Disability Schedular Rating. Of course, to make that kind of money, you’d probably have to become a Congressional representative, and put your hand into the pocket of some pretty unseemly political and lobbying organizations. But the point is the same: Veterans that Receive 100% Schedular Ratings have NO Limitations on Their Ability to Work or earn an  income.

Can a Veteran Earn an Income while Receiving VA TDIU Benefits?

To answer this question, we need only look to the law.

red-right-arrow-001@3x-150x113.png38 C.F.R. §4.16(a) – the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that states the requirements for eligibility for TDIU Benefits, states the following:

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.


Now, as I’ve discussed before on the Veterans Law Blog, the law does not clearly define what substantially gainful occupation is. But the law DOES define what Substantially Gainful employment IS NOT.

Read the rest of 38 C.F.R. §4.16(a):

red-right-arrow-001@3x-150x113.png38 C.F.R. §4.16(a) – 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. (emphasis is mine).

So there you have it – the 2 ways that Veteran can earn an income while receiving VA TDIU benefits: when the employment is “marginal” and when the employment is “sheltered”.

We’ll look at them in more detail, below.

You might ask “Why” a Veteran is allowed to earn an income in these 2 scenarios while receiving TDIU Benefits.

Truth be told, I have no clue why Congress wrote the laws this way when they wrote them – someday I’ll dig into the legislative history to understand it.

But since Congress allowed it, there is NOTHING wrong with Veterans getting Marginal or Sheltered Employment income while receiving TDIU Benefits.

#1:  Marginal Employment & TDIU Benefits.

This is the type of income that many Veterans are aware that they can receive even after being granted TDIU Benefits.

Simply go to the US Bureau of Census website, and look up the “poverty threshold for one person”.  (Click here to see the historical poverty ratings tables from 1959 – 2015).


You will see that, for 2014, the poverty threshold for one person is  $12,316 per year (if you are under 65), or $11,354 (if you are over 65).  

Each year, the VA will ask you to verify your employment (or lack thereof) to determine whether you are eligible to continue to receive TDIU Benefits. They typically require that you use VA Form 21-4140 or 21-4140-1 to do this report.

quotes-001@3x-150x150.pngThe VA does cross check 2 databases that I know of:  Social Security databases that record your work/income history, and IRS databases that record your family income on your annual tax returns.  Word to the wise: if you are telling different income stories to different federal agencies, you are playing with fire, and may even be committing fraud.

If you indicate in this form that your income is higher than the poverty threshold, a proposal to reduce your TDIU benefits will be forthcoming.

It’s one of the few times that the VA acts with a sense of purpose – when they want to STOP paying you.

#2: Sheltered Employment & TDIU Benefits

Another way that Veterans can earn an income while receiving TDIU Benefits is by participating in what is called “sheltered employment”.

There are many ways that your income can be considered “sheltered”, but 2 that are clearly identified in the regulation itself:

  1. Family business
  2. Sheltered Workshop (these are supervised workplaces for adults with a physical and/or mental handicap)

Now, just because you are working for a family business doesn’t mean your job is considered “sheltered employment”.  It has to be what the regulation refers to as a “protected environment”.

A protected environment occurs when the employer makes special accommodations to employ and provide an income for a family member or a disabled worker. This happens quite a lot  – a family business, to reduce its tax burden or simply to help another family member, pays a disabled Veteran family member an income that they would not otherwise be able to receive.

How can you tell if there is a protected work environment?

What kind of questions would you ask, and what kind of evidence would you need?


If you can get answers to these kinds of questions – typically in an affidavit by the business owner or the executive in charge of hiring/staffing – you will have a much stronger proof of entitlement to TDIU benefits even while earning an income well above the poverty threshold in a sheltered employment situation.

1) Did they employer provide any special accommodations (especially if they are not required to by the Americans With Disabilities Act) to accommodate the employee with disabilities?  These accommodations are most commonly adjustments to the work schedule, the work environment, or the work duties.

quotes-001@3x-150x150.pngI have not handled a case yet where a major employer, covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, provides an accommodation to a 100% disabled Veteran as required by law to do. This is an interesting question as to whether or not the employment could be considered sheltered when the company has a legal obligation to enact accommodations.  I am not aware of any VA precedent on this topic – if you do know of a precedential case on this topic, don’t hesitate to let me know!

2) If the employee leaves the company, will the business hire a “similarly situated” person to fill the position (i.e, another worker with a disability)?

There are 3 scenarios here:

  • Scenario #1:  If the business plans to modify the Veteran’s position after he or she leaves so that there are no longer accommodations to the work duties, environment or schedule, then you can make a pretty good argument that the employment is sheltered.  Why? Because it appears that the position may have been created or modified just for the disabled Veteran.
  • Scenario #2: If the business plans on continuing the accommodation, then its a pretty good argument that the position itself – and anyone that holds it – is sheltered employment.  (Many employers do this for the tax advantages available to certain types of “sheltered workshops”).
  • Scenario #3: If the business plans to eliminate the position after the disabled Veteran leaves the job, then it is most likely “sheltered employment”.

None of the above scenarios are absolute: the more evidence you can show that an employer created a job for a 100% disabled Veteran – whether for “feel-good” reasons, tax incentives, or any other reason other than common business reasons, the stronger your case of showing that your position is “sheltered employment”.

3) Is there evidence that another business in the same industry would NOT hire a similarly situated employee, and pay them a similar income, for the same type of work?

What do I mean here?

If your family business pays you $50,000 a year, while allowing you to come in to the job  “only on the days you feel up to it”, look to other businesses in the same  industry to see if they would pay that same salary to an employee that comes and goes at will.

Where do you get evidence of this sort of thing?

Honestly, you would hire an economist to prepare an expert report on the nature of the employment and whether or not it is sheltered, based on a survey of the particular industry.

This type of expert report can get really expensive, so I would not typically do this unless it was really questionable whether the employment was sheltered or not, and there was a lot riding on the outcome.


Frankly, providing evidence that answers Question #3 is probably a bit “over the top” in most Sheltered Employment claims.

Legal Advice in Sheltered Employment situations.

Be VERY careful with the Sheltered Employment rules.

They are not frequently applied, many in the VA do NOT know about them (or don’t understand them when they do know about them), and the Sheltered Employment Rules can lead to serious consequences if applied incorrectly.

I’m not telling any details here, but I know of a couple Veterans who have been charged with criminal fraud for collecting TDIU benefits while getting an income and doing nominal work for a family member’s business.

These charges usually will not stick – as the US Attorneys that prosecute these crimes have far less understanding of VA regulations than even most VA raters or Board Hearing Officials.

But you’re going to have to pay a criminal defense attorney to make it go away, and the VA ain’t repaying your attorneys fees.

That said, it is ALWAYS BEST  to get legal advice – call a VA Accredited attorney and ask for a consultation –  if you are considering earning income above the poverty threshold and want to know if it is or is not considered “sheltered employment”.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)

You need to wait for the envelope and not rely upon ebenefits/vets.gov.   That should clear it up.  

Remember, tho, you also can not rely upon every word a VA employee tells you, unfortunately.   This goes for "Vet reps", too.  I applied in 2002, and, maybe by 2020 I will be able to calculate how much my VSO's advice cost me.  Right now, Im trying to fix the bad advice my VSO gave me, in appeals at the CAVC, represented by an attorney.  (effective dates).  

A discussion of "he said she said" is unlikely to be productive.  When you get the envelope, tell us what it says, and you can get definative answers.  

Edited by broncovet

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Here is a link to the Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables - Effective 12/1/18


Below are extracts showing how much you can get when paid at 100%, depending on your situation, number of dependents. This does not include SMC.

For example, if you are a veteran with no spouse, dependents, parents, and no SMC ratings, you would get $3,057.13/month, which equates to 36,685.56/year.



70% - 100% Without Children

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran Alone $1,403.71 $1,631.69 $1,833.62 $3,057.13
Veteran with Spouse Only $1,522.71 $1,767.69 $1,986.62 $3,227.58
Veteran with Spouse and One Parent $1,617.71 $1,876.69 $2,109.62 $3,364.37
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents $1,712.71 $1,985.69 $2,232.62 $3,501.16
Veteran with One Parent $1,498.71 $1,740.69 $1,956.62 $3,193.92
Veteran with Two Parents $1,593.71 $1,849.69 $2,079.62 $3,330.71
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $109.00 $125.00 $141.00 $156.32



70% - 100% With Children

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran with Spouse and Child $1,609.71 $1,867.69 $2,098.62 $3,352.41
Veteran with Child Only $1,482.71 $1,722.69 $1,935.62 $3,171.12
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child $1,704.71 $1,976.69 $2,221.62 $3,489.20
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child $1,799.71 $2,085.69 $2,344.62 $3,625.99
Veteran with One Parent and Child $1,577.71 $1,831.69 $2,058.62 $3,307.91
Veteran with Two Parents and Child $1,672.71 $1,940.69 $2,181.62 $3,444.70
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18 $59.00 $67.00 $76.00 $84.69
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a) $191.00 $218.00 $246.00 $273.58
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $109.00 $125.00 $141.00 $156.32





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks for your comprehensive feedback! Unbelievable how helpful this forum is. This place rocks 🎸.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Our picks

    • Help needed bad  Male MST
      Is there anything for a man who's been diagnosed with PTSD secondary to MST. I see all this information and it's primarily speaking as if it only happened to females. If anybody has any advice for a man who suffers from this condition please let me know I'm not alone. Also let me know of any coping skills you've learned as I have lived the last 25-30 years of my life in full flight from reality. 
      • 4 replies
    • Occasionally it becomes necessary for HadIt.com to come to the community to help raise funds. This is one of those occasions.

      A couple of things to keep in mind

      Financial contributions are never required, but always appreciated.

      NOT tax deductible, HadIt.com is NOT a non profit and any contribution you make is just a gift and cannot be deducted on your taxes.

      If you prefer to give through a subscription, you may subscribe here the rates are $5 per month or $50 per year and gives you an ad free experience on the forums.

      Thank you for your support!
      • 2 replies
    • It's now May 3 3019. Still pending for notification and past estimated completion date April 29th. If it were negative would o would have heard something right. I'm assuming I have a good chance because I have evidence, however the wait is killing me like everyone else. 
    • Mere Speculation  Comp and Pen
      Hello Fellow Veteran 20 year retired disabled Navy veteran, quick ?? I am going for unemployability through the VA just had my comp and Pen, I do check off all the DBQ according to the therapist , but at the end of it she said in her opinion it would be mere speculation on rather I should get unemployability or not. What’s that mean thanks 
      • 9 replies
    • Man using HadIt name to collect funds -  Go FundMe shuts down campaign following Raleigh man's arrest for fraud
      I was interviewed for  this story. This gentlemen was using the HadIt name to collect funds for some non existent charity. "HadIt.com" is NOT a non-profit. "HadIt.com" will never have anyone collecting outside of Walmarts. If "HadIt.com" does not list a fundraiser on our site it is not affiliated with us. Please read the story and pass on that this person is NOT affiliated with "HadIt.com"

      Note: The text at the top of the video lists me as a nonprofit founder. HadIt.com is a for profit, it is not a non profit and this man is not associated with our site and none of the money he collected had anything to do with our site.


      Go FundMe shuts down campaign following Raleigh man's arrest for fraud 
      • 5 replies
  • Ads

  • Popular Contributors

  • Ad

  • Latest News
  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines