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Decided to try and work on TDIU


MarineLCpl

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Hi all!! 

It’s been a while, hope everyone is well!! For those who don’t have any background on me, I’m 80% TDIU for PTSD. At my last C&P, doc found no change in my condition, so benefits were continued, P&T status granted. 

That’s where the good news ends, unfortunately. I’m struggling with feeling very detached from society lately; certain unwelcome thoughts have entered…. I simply don’t know what else to do aside from getting out there and trying to contribute. 

I know it’s ill-advised for someone to try working on TDIU, and I understand the risks associated with it… But my VA benefits mean nothing if I’m no longer with us… I just know I can’t sit around and do nothing anymore, so I’m going to try getting a part-time job near my home. 
 

I have done my fair share of research on what might happen as a result of this… but I refuse to let my fear dominate me. Worst case scenario, benefits are stripped and my story ends. If they want to challenge me for it, so be it. But I will no longer feel ashamed for wanting to work… for wanting to be a part of the machine that keeps our economy alive…. To serve a purpose…

 

A bit unsettling that I may be digging my own grave here…. but when compared to another alternative I have in mind, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea when all factors are considered…

 

My question is, should I retain a lawyer to be ready for VA shenanigans, or wait until they propose a reduction? I expect a call or letter after I report income… I get so caught up in the thought of fighting the VA that I don’t even consider not being able to handle work anyway…. guess I’m just holding onto faith that I can somehow live a normal life before my time is up. 
 

be well, everybody :]

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I think Mr. Cue meant a Volunteer job at the VA or a marginal job as explained below:

Getting an SSDI award, and/or  getting a VA TDIU award can be a blow to any veteran who still wants to work.

However volunteer work can be a blessing. And volunteers have done fantastic things for others.

I sense you are depressed about your future and almost grief stricken- and I get that-

after I lost two veteran husbands, I found volunteer work completely changed my life-

I volunteered for the state Museum archeology dept, the local library, my church, 

and joined the city Writer's Guild, in another state long ago-

and then I volunteered at a Vet Center, 1983 , and the vets voted me into the Combat PTSD Rap Group . When I married my USMC PTSD SC Vietnam vet husband, we moved to NY.and here I am 39 years later, still trying to help veterans.

And after he died I also volunteered for the local Fire  department for 8 years.

Dont forget- we are all Volunteers here, I might be the only civilian, and you as well as all of these veterans here have the ability to help other vets, even if they help only with claims that are similar to theirs- which is just as valuable as having expertise in many other VA areas.

My USMC husband was relieved to get SSDI because he knew he could never work  again- but it was also a blow to him- 45 years old when he became totally disabled.

I know you must be familar with the "sheltered work environment provision"- or "marginal employment":

https://cck-law.com/blog/protected-work-environment-for-tdiu-what-does-it-actually-mean/#:~:text=TDIU is a benefit that,receive TDIU even when employed.

I was also VA volunteer at the local VA in NY after working at the VA vet center.

A veteran I knew had muscular dystrophy and had a paid VA job for many years ( NSC vet) but after the MD got worse he had to quit but became a VA unpaid volunteer  doing VA jobs he could handle and he loved it because he was still providing a valuable service to VA, as a volunteer.

I bet every vet here who can no longer work, wishes they could.

But if they are here helping veterans, they ARE working, as volunteers.

You do have options ,with the TDIU marginal and sheltered workshop regulations, as well as volunteer work.

A veteran  I know  ( 32 years Ret. USN) asked me one time the 3 most important events of my life.

I rattled them off in a heartbeat- giving birth, the Vietnam War and it's aftermath***, and joining my church.

My entire life changed when I was part of the Vet Center Combat PTSD Rap group.I did not have much time to be there but

I had volunteered to vacuum their floors, clean the bathroom, make cakes and goodies for birthdays etc,  and answer the phones. That didnt last long-after the vets in the rap group voted me in -I saw my role as the non judgemental  female in their lives- sister, spouse,girl friend, mother, etc-this was late 1983 when our grateful nation was Still not really grateful enough for our wonderful Vietnam Veterans.

My daughter is a veteran too and participated in a few Vet center events when she was only 5 years old. She has been to Vietnam twice. The Vietnam War and it's aftermath,  changed both of us.***

I am sure you will make a good choice about your future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Berta
added more.
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Dont hire a lawyer yet, its pre mature.  

Do this instead:  

    Keep in mind the "poverty level" which is the max you can earn in a 12 month period.  Its around 12k per year, or so, look it up for your number of dependents.  

    The term VA uses "unable to maintain Substantial Gainful employment" (SGE) due to sc conditions.  And, it means you are unable to earn more than the poverty level in a 12 month period.  

    Any thing below the poverty level in 12 months is not "SUBSTANTIAL Gainful employment".  

    Example:   You could work part time.  See how much you actually earn in a year.  Report that income to VA, as required.  If you make 8000 or even more, in a year, dont fret about it.  You are still not SGE>>

     I like Berta's idea of volunteering.  VA makes this about MONEY..not about whether or not you do anything day to day.    To stay out of trouble, keep your income under the poverty level per year.  

     The SGE rule is VA's idea..not ours.  Yea, you may raise red flags if you "push the envelope" (get close to SGE annual income), so, for peace of mind, I would not try to push the envelope.  

    For me, instead, I make stuff in my garage..as gifts, mostly out of wood.  I work at my own pace, and answer to no one.  But I do keep my hands busy, that is, when I want to.  Yes, my woodworking hobby costs me money.  You may not like woodworking..maybe you would like making stuff NOT out of wood, instead, such as if you are a welder by trade.  Or a machinist.  

     Its my opinion that, even if I did sell some of my woodwork projects, its highly unlikely I ever make 10,000 per year..   How can we compete with selling wood projects, when China makes these with workers who make 50 cents an hour?  We cant compete on price.  This is why very few of the wood projects we buy are American made.  Carpenters want/deserve $25 or more per hour, and I "wont eeven try" to compete with the Chinese.  Let em make 50 cents an hour and sell their stuff at IKEA.  

    My projects would have to sell for about 10 times the price of something in walmart, for me to break even.  I know this, so I just give away my completed projects, and forget it.  If I spent 100 hours and $150 worth of materials to make the rocking chair I made, would I really want to sell that for $175??   Never.  I would much rather give it away, than to make 25 cents per hour.    Im way, way, way too slow to compete making wood projects.  And, THIS does not go any faster..I have 2 speeds.  

1.  Very very slow.

2.  In reverse.  

     I have been in the hospital for a week, so I have not even gone in my garage for 2-3 months..its too cold in there and Im not even gonna think about it until it warms up.  When it does warm up, I will likely be going "even slower" than last year's snails pace.  

Edited by broncovet
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Agree with Berta and Mr. B. You should talk to your M.H. advisor/doc and get them involved in your situation. Getting a volunteer job at the VA where you are in a better environment with others that may better understand your disabilities is a great place to start. Start slow. maybe greeting people or pushing a wheelchair patient to their location, working in the cafeteria cleaning tables. Something . An hour a day , or whatever. I'm sure you can find something and your doc can help facilitate. Don't quit; give it a good try. You may surprise yourself how good you feel afterwards. Remember this, "you don't lose until you quit trying." 

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We used to have a program for seniors where I live, to volunteer for many types of work, through the Office of the Aged.They might still have it.

When my daughter enlisted into USAF, the Mst Sgt who she dealt with at a fairly local recruitment center, had a senior volunteer  there and I envied her-she worked for the USAF! She might even have  been paid a small salary- not sure.

I live in a small farm community, but there are Many vets in my local, and we are only about 23 minutes from a VAMC.

Many vets are always  in the local volunteer fire department. We get 2 PennySavers and a very small free newpaper,weekly , and they always list local volunteer jobs. They also always need drivers to deliver the penny savers and dont pay much for that Part time job.But if one likes to drive and doesn;'t mind the snow storms up here, they enjoy a beautiful environment every day, with minimal traffic in the hills and farmland. The closest red light to me is near the Bath NY VAMC.23 miles away and 350 feet or more down.

 

 

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6 hours ago, MarineLCpl said:

I simply don’t know what else to do aside from getting out there and trying to contribute. 

Some of the non-profit organizations will schedule you for paid  hours below what would hurt your TDIU.  

When I worked as an employee at the VAMC as a MyHealth eVet Program Support Assistant (almost sheltered employment), we had a volunteer who would come in a couple days a week to help the vets navigate MyHealth eVet.  That was a good little job for me. I got to help vets in ways beyond just MyHealth eVet as my door was always open. Unfortunately, the earnings would crush TDIU. At the VAMC I always felt I was around my people with all the vets there. The VAMC had a large choice of volunteer opportunities.

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