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TDIU and working, taxes.


1Cavvet
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Question

In 2017 I received my award letter and it stated that I was tdiu permanent and total with no future exams. Since then I have never received anything in the mail from the VA asking whether I'm working or not or earned any income.

I got curious about this and read up on a few posts that they now verify if there's any earned income through Social Security and IRS.

 

My question is in 2019 I earned $600 helping an elderly family friend around her house. I cleaned her yard, cut the grass and things of that nature on the days I felt well enough to do it. It was an hour here and there. The total for the year was 600. Well now fast-forward to 2020 it's tax time and since I earned $600 I filed that on my taxes under household worker. I did not realize that I was not required to file taxes under a certain amount of earned income.

 

Nevertheless the taxes have been filed and now I'm worried that this could compromise my tdiu permanent and total status even though I have read up on marginal and or gainful employment criteria and the 600 earned is way under the poverty threshold. 

 

I guess most of the worry comes from the conflicting information I read on posts some say that if you make under a certain amount of money under the poverty threshold and are not involved in gainful employment or your employment is marginal then you really don't don't have anything to worry about.

On the flip side I've read plenty of post where people say if you work and income is reported you'll be electronically flagged and lose your tdiu so I really need some help and guidance please on how this could affect me and what I should do if I receive something in the mail from the VA.

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You came to the right place.  

Short version:  

You have nothing to worry about.  

Longer version:

   Check the regulations on TDIU.  First, the defination.  TDIU is "unable to maintain SGE (Substantial Gainful Employment) due to SC conditions."  

Read the word "substantial" gainful employement, and THAT is defined as well.  SGE is defined as earning less than the MAPP (poverty level):

 https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disability-tips/get-social-security-statement

    I have answered dozens of questions on the issue, and earning 600 a year is not "sge".  Americans couldnt live on 600 a month, let alone 600 per year.  

Lastly, you can check on what VA calls "marginal employment", here, as well as other tdiu issues here:

 https://www.hillandponton.com/tdiu-the-vas-position-on-employment-issues/

   I have supplied my sources of information to set your mind at ease, that I didnt just "make stuff up".  I encourage you to check the sources and read them to set your mind at ease.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, broncovet said:

You came to the right place.  

Short version:  

You have nothing to worry about.  

Longer version:

   Check the regulations on TDIU.  First, the defination.  TDIU is "unable to maintain SGE (Substantial Gainful Employment) due to SC conditions."  

Read the word "substantial" gainful employement, and THAT is defined as well.  SGE is defined as earning less than the MAPP (poverty level):

 https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disability-tips/get-social-security-statement

    I have answered dozens of questions on the issue, and earning 600 a year is not "sge".  Americans couldnt live on 600 a month, let alone 600 per year.  

Lastly, you can check on what VA calls "marginal employment", here, as well as other tdiu issues here:

 https://www.hillandponton.com/tdiu-the-vas-position-on-employment-issues/

   I have supplied my sources of information to set your mind at ease, that I didnt just "make stuff up".  I encourage you to check the sources and read them to set your mind at ease.  

 

 

I apprechiate your input, so thank you for that. Ive got a couple more questions now. Seeing that this is my income source for my family , I feel an urge to understand how things work. 

My questions are, when the VA is aware of income through the Irs tax filing do they automatically send out an inquiry to the Veteran or is it a case by case basis. Will they see my 600 and follow up? Or will they  not act based on the small amount under the poverty threshold? Also this is income only reported by myself on taxes, no w2 or 1099 this was a cash deal. 

Thanks again.

 

Edited by 1Cavvet
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Short Version:

You have nothing to worry about.

 

Longer version:

You risk the fact that VA will begin an inquiry process of your condition and or TDIU.  The problem is, VA can do anything and in the past has been found not to be veteran friendly and vindictive due to the fact that VA feels that veterans are receiving "FREE" money.  Free is in quote because there are some in VA that feel all veterans are lairs trying to get disability pay and can actually work despite what condition(s) they claim.   If your TDIU is based on physical disabilities and you go out on a good day to do yard work, clean gutters, or wash your car and someone reports it then VA could inquire.   The same as to a mental health disability and you are reported being seen with assisting a neighbor, again VA is in control and can do anything.  Granted these things may not happen but you run the risk of being re-evaluated.  The fact that you are well below the poverty threshold does not mean VA would/could not propose a re-evaluation. Re-evaluations are to review if the veteran's condition/disability has improved or remained the same.   I am not trying to scare you, these are the facts about TDIU and the VA.  It may well be too late but keep your private business, your private business. Many years ago we had the late Ms. Carlie that explained that the people that are close to us are the people that may report us or if you have a Disabled Veteran Tag and go out and hand wash your car, someone can report you and VA could begin and inquiry.

Edited by pete992
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Highly doubt the VA is going to waste time, money, and resources on $600 worth of earned income. YES, they can if they want to, but it’s not likely as they have bigger fish to fry...like the guy making 50k a year in his sheltered work position while also collecting TDIU. All in all, if they for some reason ordered a re-evaluation/tried to reduce based on this alone, no doubt in my mind you would win it out on appeal. 

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Its good you honestly reported that 600 cash,  in annual income, and were honest about that.  It probably means you are honest about other stuff, too. 

Now, sleep well, as you should.  600 dollars is way below the poverty level, and, as Marine Cpl says, the VA would rather go after dishonest people.  The term is "substantial" gainful employment.  They even defined "substatial", as I explained above.  

Based on your post, you continue to meet the criteria for TDIU, and you have nothing to worry about.  Yea, sometimes VA gets a wild hair, and tries to reduce Vets.  Its an irritant, that we have to put up with, sort of like a "flood watch".  Yes, you had better heed the flood watch, but most of the time you wont be flooded.  And, even if you are flooded, worry about it does not do much good.  You could try moving out of the flood plain, getting a home on a hill, but worry wont help much.  

In your case you can order your cfile, and read up on the regulations.  Here is the one on reductions:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.344 

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