Due to a number of misconceptions regarding how the term “disability” is used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and what qualifies for a 100% disability rating, many veterans miss out on various opportunities for earning that are actually open to them.
If you are unable to work due to a service-related condition, you may be eligible for VA disability. To get a 100% disability rating, a veteran must:
- Be able to prove they are a veteran
- Prove that they have at least one service-connected disability with a rating of 60% or higher
- Prove that they have two or more service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of at least 70%, with one rated at at least 40%
If you’re a disabled vet who can still work, you may have many questions about whether or not you are allowed to do so. This article will explain VA individual unemployability income limits, VA disability ratings, and whether or not you can work with a 100% rating.
Disability ratings are assigned by the VA based on the overall health of the veteran in question. Generally speaking, ratings and the subsequent compensation benefits that are paid out are assigned based on conditions the VA has found to be service-related.
Disability ratings are assigned as percentages that range from 0% to 100% in 10 percentage point increments. A rating of 100% does not mean the veteran in question is fully disabled; it just means that he or she has fulfilled all of the requirements to be classified as 100% disabled.
An example of what a 100% rating looks like is a veteran who has a disability that is assigned only a 60% rating, but their condition prevents them from realistically functioning in the workplace. Such a veteran would likely be given a 100% disability rating.
The VA can—and does—arrive at decisions regarding such situations on a case-by-case basis. Veterans who are approved for benefits can refer to the VA disability payment schedule to see when they can expect their benefits to arrive.
Working With a 100% Disability Rating
Veterans are legally allowed to work, even if they have a VA-assigned disability rating of 100%. The exception to this is when they have received a 100% rating as a result of being unemployable. These vets can seek marginal employment.
Marginal employment is earning less than the predetermined poverty threshold level of earning for one individual. To determine the level of income required to be eligible for certain VA-administered benefits, please visit the VA’s financial assessment page.
The distinguishing factor between veterans who have a 100% rating and can work and those who cannot work is whether or not their rating is based on being unable to work, as opposed to being based on an injury or medical condition.
If you are a disabled veteran who has questions about whether or not you are eligible to work, reach out to a lawyer who specializes in veterans law. An attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you.