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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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  • 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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FoxxTrot

Would my video game mess with my rating?

Question

Hello everyone. I have a sort of unique question. I am rated 90% UI. Paid at the 100 percent rate. Part of my disabilities are Anxiety and depression and that along with other stuff has kept me unable to work and glued to my computer mostly. I am a video game developer and recently an investor saw my game that I am developing and wants to invest in my game, a large amount of money in exchange for royalty share and etc. Would this affect my VA rating? All of the money will go toward development such as hiring additional artists and coders and I will not be using the money for my personal well being. I planned on keeping detailed receipts for tax purposes but as far as the VA, what could I expect? Also if the game does well after it is published, would I just report any earnings to the VA and what would happen then? I'm just trying to be cautious and do the right thing. Thanks in advanced. 

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Probably.  The IRS divides up income as "Earned" income and "investment" income.  If you are "working" a business as a business owner, well, then you are "working".  On the other hand, if you have a "passive" investement, such as stocks, bonds, CD's annuities, or cryptocurrencies, then you are not "working" but are an investor.  

The IRS insists you report both earned income and investement income, but are very liberal if you only earn a small amount per year, such as under 10,000.  

However, if you earn a significant income or profit with your developer business, then you need to report it or IRS will likely find out.  If IRS finds out, then VA will find out.  

Veterans on disability are not prevented from earning money on savings, stocks, bonds, IRA's, cryptocurrencies or other investments, but you may be taxed on these, depending upon how much you earn and whether they are long term or short term gains.  

However, Veterans can not claim TDIU and earn a "substantial" income and still claim TDIU.  

It isnt about how much money you "have" or dont have.  Again, there is no law preventing disabled people from buying stocks, investing in a business and earning a profit for doing so.  But, if you are working and earning money from a business, whether it be your own business or someone elses, then you need to report this earned income to VA once a year, on the applicable form.  

Again, dont get yourself in trouble by trying to fake or hide income and collecting TDIU at the same time.  Both social security and VA allow what I call a "transition" from disabled to non disabled, allowing you to earn some money for a year or so during this transition back into the work force, if, indeed you are able to do so.  

However, if you are able to maintain substantial gainful employment, either by working for others or working for yourself in your own business, you should report same.  If your income becomes "substantial" both VA and social security will consider taking you off disability (social security disability or TDIU), as they should.  

I think its not only a good idea, but good for our country for you to go ahead and put forth your best efforts to earn substantial income, if you are able to do so.  Then, of course, you report this to social security or VA, and let them decide if your income is "substantial" and can support you or not.    

Simply tell the truth, and dont try to hide income and you should be fine.  VA has an annual form for tdiu:

fill it out honestly each year:

https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-4140-ARE.pdf

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Posted (edited)
  • I'd talk to an attorney about your options.  You might be able to sell your game and take a one year cut unless you have to keep updating your game with continued earnings.  If you sell and then keep the royalty, I think you then become a flash in the pan worker and return to being an investor.
  • Check it out.  Bronco has everything on target.
  • Get a finding from the VA GC before you actually move.

 

Edited by Lemuel
left out important part

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Broncovet provides some really good advice here.  I wish you luck and hope you get off of TDIU and make a great product.

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Concur with Bronco Vet.

If you are TDIU then you could run amuck of the system and loose it.

Definitely get legal advice on this.

However, if your game provides you with even a greater income after taxes then it may be very well worth considering loosing the TDIU.

More long term suggestion;

Also, being at 90% you may really want to look through your records for anything else that can be directly connected to your service, or can be secondarily connected to a service connected disability.

There are many things that can be secondarily attributed many don't realize, but that said you need to do your homework and get better advice than what I am getting.

If you can find a legitimate claim for direct SC or secondary (no, I don't believe in fraud, it gives us a bad name) you could possibly achieve a scheduler rating of 100% which does give you more options about being able to work without loosing that 100% rating.

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My previous post just brought up a question that might concern more people. 

Stating the hypothetical that said game brings in a substantial income that FoxxTrot does decide to loose his TDIU rating.

A year or two or three down the road his investor goes bankrupt for reasons not related to investing in the game.

How does the VA play with reinstating TDIU?

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