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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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Letter from Former Employer?


Question

Good day to all.  A little background before I get to my questions...  I am a 70% disabled veteran and was recently let go from my job as a service technician.  Admittedly, the job was hard on me because of my main disability (back condition). The owner of the company gave me a letter that stated I was "laid off" on a permanent basis.  Essentially, I was fired. I was "laid off" the day after I came back from a week off for recuperating after aggravating my back condition on the job.  I did have a doctor's note and the owner was already aware that I was a disabled vet.  During my meeting with the owner I told him that I knew he was letting me go because of my disability issues.  He said nothing.  I have a good rapport with the office manager.  She said she would add something to my "layoff" letter or possibly write a letter for me that I can have for VA purposes.  

Now, on to my questions:

I'm unsure as to how I should phrase the letter.  Should I just have the office manager put a sentence in my original layoff letter that states "Unfortunately, due to the nature of this position, no reasonable accommodations can be made" or "Unfortunately, due to the nature of this position and your physical limitations, no reasonable accommodations can be made?"  Or should I ask if she would type an entirely new letter for me?  If so, what should I have her write?  Would this letter hold any weight on my behalf when I go for a re-eval?

This leads up to my second question.  The 20-year anniversary is coming up on my rating. Which means, if I'm not mistaken, that the VA cannot decrease my rating unless they can prove fraud.  Is that correct?  I'm waiting for that anniversary because frankly, I do not trust the VA. If I go before that time there's always that small chance that they could find a way to decrease my rating. And I just cannot risk that.  If my rating falls below 50% not only would I lose 20% of my VA income, but also my retirement concurrent receipt. That would be a devastating blow, and that's the main reason I'm waiting for the 20-year mark.  Should I have an organization like the American Legion or DAV work on my behalf? Or should I look at getting a disability attorney?  Not sure which is better.  I do know that a caring and knowledgeable representative is hard to find.  I do see VA disability attorneys often on YouTube but I'm not sure which one to go with. Any suggestions would be very helpful.  

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.  All replies are very much appreciated!

 

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I second all those lawyer endorsements.  I used Chris Attig personally.  We won a remand and my cost was zero.   Upon remand, I took his advice and got an IMO from voc rehab specialist, and won b

Is your service connected 70% due to your Back Problems? The Letter is good ,    I would ask if the letter can be written out as  due to your VA disability and "Unfortunately, due to the nat

Thank you for the reply, and advice.  I am rated 70% total, 50% of that is for my back.  My back doctor refused to write a letter for me, but there's a good chance that my family doctor will.  Just a

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Is your service connected 70% due to your Back Problems?

The Letter is good ,

   I would ask if the letter can be written out as  due to your VA disability and "Unfortunately, due to the nature of this position and his physical limitations, no reasonable accommodations can be made?"  

Also is the same type letter from a Qualified Dr would help stating he read your medical records and examine you and it is his professional  medical opinion that it is likely as not this Individual can no longer work due to his condition./disability  for any type of work including any Sedentary type work

REMEMBER when we file for TDIU for a service connected disability that is basically filing for Increase  so Ask for the TDIU  because most of the time they won't just give it to you.

And don't be shy about filing because your afraid they will reduce your 70%  that is just a myth...if your s.c. disability has not improved  you should not worry about them reducing you.

This is a good time to file for increase and ask for the TDIU. P&T  (JMO)

You can select your VSO... The DAV or American Legion  or a VA Accredited VA claims Agent. or Attorney   That is your choice..or just stay here in hadit and the hadit members can certainly help you along the way.

And Welcome to Hadit.

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Thank you for the reply, and advice.  I am rated 70% total, 50% of that is for my back.  My back doctor refused to write a letter for me, but there's a good chance that my family doctor will.  Just a few more months and I can schedule a re-exam to try for an increase.  I can't bring myself to do it until I hit the 20 year anniversary date.  I haven't been officially diagnosed, but I believe I have PTSD from active duty.  I have a lot of the symptoms.  Maybe that's why I distrust so much.  Not sure.  In any case, thank you again. 

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Its unclear what your "letter" intends to do, except maybe try to document you were fired for being disabled.  Since its written "by you", I dont see the point in sharing that with your employer. 

You could write a similar letter "to VA" should you be trying to establish your unemployablility.  Unfortunately "unemployability" is a medical condition, (not a Veteran's opinion).  In a similar way you had to have a PTSD diagnosis by a doctor, and your opinion as to whether or not you had PTSD would "not" suffice for you to get SC for PTSD, you need a doctors diagnosis. 

Such a letter could only "raise the ire" of your former employer, they "may not" want you to think you were fired for that reason due to liability reasons.   Think about it.  Would you want to be sued by a former employee who is trying to sue you for being fired for a bad reason?  That is why many employers do not give a reason.  

Letter or no, you could need at least 2 more things to establish tdiu:  YOUR doctors opinion you are unable to work due to sc condiitions (must) and, probably a letter from voc rehab tech that you are unable to do ANY job, not just your present job. 

"Waiting" to apply for tdiu "until after" your 20 year mark makes an assumption that is not true.  It "Assumes" whenever you apply for an increase the VA can reduce you instead. 

You can be reduced at any time, independent of whether or not you apply for an increase.  The "criteria" is not "whether you apply" for an increase, but instead, have your condition(s)

"Actually improved" under ordinary conditions of life and is this "sustained improvement". 

The VA rates (or reduces) on criteria..in fact they are prohibited from using "non criteria".  They cant reduce you because you have purple hair, dont like VA, eat Wheaties for breakfast, or because you view "anti VA" sites on the internet.  HERE is the criteria they must use:

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

Always stick to the criteria.  For tdiu, the criteria is "did a doctor state you are unable to maintain SGE due to SC conditions?"   Its not enough you are not working.  People get fired or laid off for many reasons:  Job cutbacks, financial reasons, changes is company focus, covid 19, and more.  These people may or may not get called back to work. 

 

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Thank you for your reply. I have no intention of suing anyone. All I'm trying to do is have as much ammunition as I can possibly have when I go for my re-eval.  The letter will be on my former company's letterhead and signed by the office manager, bypassing the owner.  This is something she said she would do for me because she didn't think it was right how things were handled by the owner.  

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