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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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smithmary614

How long does the authorization process take?

Question

I have had an appeal in for over four years now. In January I was put on financial hardship to expedite my file. I was sent an SOC April 10th detailing why they couldn't fully grant my appeal. I did get two things increased but three other things denied. Also in the SOC they said that they newly granted me service connection for fibromyalgia, mental disorder and sciatica. But they had no rating in the SOC just a note saying "an award letter would come under a separate cover". The 1-800 number says that there has been a rating assigned to the new service connected conditions but they can't tell me what they are because they haven't been finalized yet. They are being reviewed and authorized. So my question is how long will that take to finish usually? And why did they do them separately? 

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18 hours ago, GeekySquid said:

@smithmary614

once you get all the paperwork , consider asking that they should reconsider your numbers from 2013 and make you TDIU for all the period that you were not 100% schedular.

 

The VA rep that called said I can send in the form for the IU because even though I'm 100% now, I could potentially get more back pay if I could get IU back to June 1, 2013. But while I haven't really worked since 2013, I have had small jobs that lasted no more than a month just to make ends meet over the years. But I never discussed my disabilities with my employers so I doubt they would or could fill out their part of the form. 

So how would I fill out that form to get IU back to June 2013? Or should I just not worry about it and be happy with the 100 I have now? 

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2 minutes ago, smithmary614 said:

Or should I just not worry about it and be happy with the 100 I have now? 

@smitthmary614

In my opinion the answer to that is HELL NO! you probably are entitled to the TDIU, don't leave money on the table!!!!!!!

3 minutes ago, smithmary614 said:

The VA rep

what VA rep? do you mean 1-800-Peggy? do you mean your VSO (american legion, dav, etc)?

 

4 minutes ago, smithmary614 said:

. But while I haven't really worked since 2013, I have had small jobs that lasted no more than a month just to make ends meet over the years. But I never discussed my disabilities with my employers so I doubt they would or could fill out their part of the form. 

Their failure or unwillingness to complete the forms is a complication but it is one that can be overcome. I don't have TDIU, but to be honest I am considering trying for it for the 6 years I was 70% and not working.

I hope those with TDIU will chime in on this to share their experience related to yours.

In general what happens is you fill out a claim for TDIU and all the associated forms. You list your former employers and length of work at each. The VA will call up your Social Security records to verify that you were paying into SS during those times as every employee is supposed to be doing.

Depending on claimed conditions, I suspect the VA will be looking for employers to respond with things like "was let go and cannot be rehired", maybe if there was a serious conflict the employers HR will use coded language to say "they are troublemaker".

By law an employer cannot do anything more than say "XXX worked here from y to z dates. They are (or are not) eligible for rehire". it would take a court subpoena and a deposition or testimony to compel them past the limits of the law. Each state is a little different but all are in that same set of limitations.  Be clear though, an employer who is a friend (or just willing to) can put in a buddy letter to say that you were a good worker but it was observably difficult to do xxx job. As long as they don't say you were fired for XXX they should be within the law as they are making a personal observation not a statement that is covered under employment law.

Your statement and buddy letters will provide the reasoning behind being fired and or quitting.

you will want to thoroughly read

https://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov/system/templates/selfservice/va_ssnew/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/554400000001018/content/554400000014564/M21-1-Part-IV-Subpart-ii-Chapter-2-Section-F-Compensation-Based-on-Individual-Unemployability-IU?query=tdiu#2e

particularly

IV.ii.2.F.2.k.  Identifying Reasonably Raised Claims of IU

 

Reasonably raised claims of IU may arise
  • during the processing of a(n)
    • claim
    • decision review request under 38 CFR 3.2500, or
    • legacy appeal, or
  • as a result of a routine future examination.
 VA must consider a claim for IU if
  • the Veteran’s SC rating meets the minimum schedular criteria found in 38 CFR 4.16(a), and
  • there is current evidence of unemployability due to SC disability(ies) in the Veteran’s claims folder or under VA control.  
Reference:  For more information on reasonably raised claims for IU, see

 

but you will want to also search the above MR21 link for all TDIU related information to make sure you put your papers together properly.

--------

If work was seasonal, say so for each job. Mark any temporary job. Any income that was marginal identify that as marginal.

For example you took a christmas job for 10 bucks an hour for 3 weeks part time and you only earned 1100 bucks. Then you did not work for another 2 months. That is marginal income. Even if you actually end up going over the Poverty Level income by a few bucks. Now if you made 20K in 3 weeks you will not be able to claim marginal.

The conditions I see  that you are newly rated for in the original post are likely justification for saying I tried but failed at each of these jobs. The pain was too much, my MDD kicked in and I had to quit before I was fired, etc etc etc.

Any employees on those jobs or people who drove you to work etc can supply a buddy letter saying things like '" at work when they had to stock things on a high/low shelf the groaned in pain and had to have me/others do their work" or maybe "had to constantly take breaks because moving/standing was obviously painful for them" or maybe "I had to pick up the slack as they just could not keep up due to obvious pain/slow movement"..

lay evidence is competent if it speaks to a fact a reasonably intelligent adult could observe. It cannot be a direct medical type statement like "her sciatica prevented her from doing...." because it could be construed by a court as the lay person trying to give medical testimony. Competent Lay Evidence could be "I saw he struggled to move around and winced in pain when he walked. At one point we talked about sciatica because my mother has it". struggling to walk, wincing/crying from pain, asking for help to complete a task due to your pain, are all competent as lay evidence from a coworker.

a friend might say "we would go grocery shopping so I could help. not all stores have those disable motor carts and my friend has problems walking up too many aisles, bending/stretching and picking up heavy things." Things like that are observable to a lay person and are competent evidence to related SC harms like fibro or sciatica.

Hope that gives you a clearer idea of how to write your statements and please don't let the VA get away with NOT paying another vet what they are entitled to by law.

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On 5/15/2019 at 1:42 PM, GeekySquid said:

In general what happens is you fill out a claim for TDIU and all the associated forms. You list your former employers and length of work at each. The VA will call up your Social Security records to verify that you were paying into SS during those times as every employee is supposed to be doing.

So the VA will call the social security to at least verify when I worked? The reason I asked is because I had a couple of places I worked that weren't reported and I thought about using them because I could get a buddy letter from them. And then not using the other places but if they will look anyway then I should put them. 

And the VA rep that called: I think she said she was from the Atlanta regional office. But she could have said that she was from the Georgia Department of Veteran Services. The number that showed up on my phone was not the 1-800 number but it was the number to the GA dept of veteran services. And I can't remember if she said she was an appeals coordinator, a VA rep or what. But she was able to tell me all my new ratings while everyone else kept telling me they couldn't tell me. And its still not changed in ebenefits. 

So now that its decided, how long until the money comes? It going to be about 100K. 

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I would go with the IU.  If one of your disabilities is declared to be your IU sustaining disability you might be in line for SMC if you have another disability that is 60%. 

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6 hours ago, smithmary614 said:

So the VA will call the social security to at least verify when I worked?

@smithmary614

 

everyone who is rated under TDIU has to fill out annual reports of what income they made.

By regulation and law VA contacts SS when a claim is made, directly or inferred, for TDIU to get that report

or at least that is the path they are supposed to take. Many folks who don't get TDIU but should have been considered for it, see no evidence that SS was contacted at all.

6 hours ago, smithmary614 said:

So now that its decided, how long until the money comes? It going to be about 100K. 

WOOHOO for you! Congrats.

Now you have to twiddle your thumbs for a while. large amounts take more signatures to approve.

I don't want to get into your business but most people have never had 100K handed to them and people can get a little silly when that happens.

I would suggest you find a financial advisor or at least talk to your regular bank about how that money is to be handled immediately.

I suggest you consider taking an amount like 1 or 2 k to just blow. Keep your hands off the rest. Don't be buying gifts for friends and family. DO NOT LOAN ANYONE ANYTHING!!

in fact don't tell anybody that you are getting anything, much less that amount!

I would suggest if you need things like a new car, clothes, computer, that you make a list  and figure out how much you want to spend. DO NOT PAY CASH FOR A BRAND NEW CAR!!!

I would suggest you look at your debts if any, find out which can be paid off completely without taking up that whole amount.

Keep in mind there are some good debts and bad debts. Having some debts can help your credit rating and are worth keeping, or at least not paying off.

For example if you have student loans in an amount, say 30K, and you have been paying on them regularly. Don't pay them off if your interest rates are what the govt set for sub and unsub loans. AT most pay off half of them and choose the unsub loans to pay off first. Fed Govt Unsub Student loans are at like 6 percent subs at about 3.8%. That 3.8% is a much better interest rate than almost any Credit Card debt (even the unsub rate is better than 99% of credit card interest rates) interest. Additionally the nature of Student loans as a long term debt, when paid as agreed, gives you a score boost. Further, any paid long term debt in good standing when paid off, gives you 10 years of "good" credit power after it is paid off.

Car loans are in this same category. Leverage the length of your loan to increase/support your credit rating for an additional 10 years after pay by paying off only half the loan and keeping the term where possible.

it is too complicated for a simple post, but a banker, who does not get a fee from you, can help you decide what are the best choices for you.

I would suggest that at least 50% of that money needs to be put away in safe, long term investment for your future, 75% would be better for you. Put them in instruments that cannot be legally attacked, say something owned by a trust fund instead of under your own name. The reason is if you ever got sued for a say traffic accident that back pay is potentially vulnerable even though it came from the Fed Govt as a compensation. Compensation is generally protected, but once it leaves the account it was deposited in it becomes vulnerable to a debt collection action or lawsuit.

Please just protect yourself from any potential debt collection or lawsuit, and most importantly protect that money from any possible habits you have in term of spending. That chunk of change can enhance any bad spending habit.

Congrats!

Let us know what the ratings are

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