Individual Unemployability is a rating that pays veterans at the rate of 100% disability, regardless of their actual disability ratings, if it is shown that the veteran is unemployable due to service-connected disabilities. 

Here are five common misunderstandings of Individual Unemployability that can cost veterans thousands of dollars a year in lost benefits.

1.The availability of IU:  Many veterans do not know that IU exists and think the only way to receive a payout at the 100% rate is to obtain additional service-connected disabilities to achieve 100%.  For veterans who are unemployable due to service-connected conditions, IU is typically easier to achieve than regular 100%.

2.IU is only available if it was claimed on the initial application:  This is false, but is a commonly misunderstood part of IU.  VA often even gets this incorrect.  IU is a rating, not a claim, so it does not need to have been claimed on the initial application to be awarded.  If a veteran is receiving service-connected disability, in many cases, IU can be awarded going back to the date of the filing of the initial application.  This can result in substantial back benefits.  As this is a complex argument, the selection of an experienced VA attorney is often crucial to receiving this benefit and maximum back pay.

3.If you work, you do not qualify for IU:  While it is true that IU is compensation for veterans who are unemployable due to service-connected disabilities, some forms of employment do not count towards IU.  If a veteran is making less than the Federal poverty line for an individual or the job provides substantial accommodations that are not available in the private market, there is a good argument for the employment not counting and IU being awarded.  This is an area where having an experienced advocate can hugely affect the success of your case.

4.If a veteran does not meet certain percentages, IU is not available.  This is untrue, as it does not take into account all the ways to qualify for IU.  The standard path for receiving IU requires that a veteran have oner disability rated at 60%, or an overall rating of 70% with one single condition of 40%.  What is often missed is that there is a second way for IU to be awarded.  This second method awards IU to any veteran that is unemployable due to service-connected disabilities.  This method requires further appeals for a referral to the Director of Compensation for review.

5.The VA denied my application for IU, so I do not qualify. Whenever a VA decision is not the result that was desired, a thorough review of the decision is necessary.  Often times, the VA rater may have overlooked key evidence, or otherwise misunderstood the veteran’s case, and such resulted in an erroneous denial.  This is especially common in the area of IU.  VA often denies IU cases simply because the qualification for IU is not specifically spelled out in the filing.  Submitting further  evidence of unemployability with an appropriate review form can  result in the award of IU.  An experienced attorney can assist with such appeal, including bringing in specially trained experts to provide opinions on unemployability.

Above outline some of the major misconceptions when it comes to qualifying for IU.  IU is a benefit of tremendous value to veterans who qualify, as they receive payment at the 100% level, regardless of the rating of their disabilities. 

Nabors Law Group is experienced in helping veterans and their surviving spouses nationwide maximize VA disability benefits. We obtain maximum benefits by building a compelling narrative describing qualification for VA benefits, and only receive a fee if benefits are increased.