You may have heard that programs like Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI have limits in place on how much you can earn while receiving benefits and you are also less likely to be approved for benefits if you are working in any capacity. Likewise, work of any kind can be used as proof that you can work more and not require benefits. Does the same apply for VA benefits? Can you earn income while on VA disability? Tabak Law can help you with those answers.
Are There Income Limits While On VA Disability?
Technically, there is no limit on the income you can receive while on VA disability. You can even have a rating of 100%, collect benefits for that rating, and still work full-time. This is much different than how SSDI works. However, there is a significant wrinkle.
Getting a 100% disability rating is pretty difficult, and it’s possible that you may have a lower rating and be unable to work full-time due to your disability. In those cases, you can apply for something called individual unemployability or IU.
How Does Veteran Indicuanl Unemployability Work?
To qualify for IU you have to have a rating on a single disability of at least 60% or have multiple disabilities with a total rating of at least 70% and a rating on one of your conditions of at least 40%. You also have to not be working full-time. If all of this is true, then you can collect at 100% though technically your rating will still be below that. While on IU, you cannot work full-time as you will risk losing your IU status.
You can go to school full-time if that is an option you wish to pursue. As far as employment is concerned you do have a few options that you can still pursue. The VA says you cannot have substantially gainful employment. Do not confuse this with substantial gainful activity or SGA that is used for SSDI. SGA is a specific dollar amount whereas substantially gainful employment is more of a definition.
How does Substantial Gainful Employment Work for VA IU?
The full definition of substantially gainful employment for the VA is as follows: “employment that is ordinarily followed by the nondisabled to earn their livelihood with earnings common to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides.”
Essentially you can work so long as your job meets one or more of the following requirements: you work less than part-time hours, collect less than the average wage for a particular job, or work for family or friends in a job tailored to your abilities.
Get Legal Help With Your VA Benefits
If you need help getting your VA benefits, whether you have been denied or haven’t been approved for the rating you feel is appropriate to your disability, you should seek the legal help of Tabak Law. We have years of experience helping veterans get the benefits they deserve and we can provide a free consultation so that you can get started.
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