Can I Work In Houston, TX If I Have A 100% Military Disability Rating?

Can I Work In Houston, TX If I Have A 100% Military Disability Rating?

The short answer is: maybe.

There are two ways a veteran may be rated for disability:

  1. Individual Unemployability, also called TDIU (Total Disability/Individual Unemployability), primarily for veterans with conditions that prevent them from working, but don’t qualify for a 100% rating.
  2. Schedular, from the VA’s Schedule of Ratings, from 0% to 100% in 10% increments, which rates a veteran’s ability to return to work.

Both ratings depend on the severity of the veteran’s disability condition and how the condition affects their earning capacity.

TDIU is generally for veterans who are unable to find and keep substantially gainful employment as a result of their service-connected disability condition. That is, the veteran’s annual income meets or exceeds the federal poverty level for a single individual, and a 100% rating is based on the veteran’s inability to work, and is P&T (permanent & total, and not expected to improve.)

In some circumstances, a veteran may be able to still work and receive this benefit. If a veteran is able to have “marginal employment,” where the income does not exceed the poverty level, they can still qualify for TDIU at the 100% level. This can include “protected employment,” But because the VA believes that the veteran is disabled and cannot work, a veteran is not permitted to engage in “substantial gainful employment,” which would bring the income above the poverty level. At this point, the veteran is not eligible for the 100% rating and the VA will reconsider.

Veterans who are rated as 100% Schedular through the VA’s Schedule of Ratings (also called the VA Impairment Rating Tables) are allowed to work at whatever income level they choose.

Qualifying Service-Connected Conditions For 100%

You can qualify with either a physical or a mental condition, or both, or a combination of two or more conditions, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Asbestosis
  • Asthma
  • Back & Neck Pain
  • Bronchitis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Head Injury
  • Heart Disease/Hypertension
  • Joint Disorders
  • Knee Pain & Injuries
  • Mesothelioma
  • Migraines
  • Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sleep Apnea and other disorders
  • Spinal Fusion and other disorders
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries

This is just a shortlist of the conditions that may qualify for a 100% rating under the VA’s Schedule of Ratings. You can see more on the VA’s website at the link above.

Claim Denied? Appeal

If your claim was denied, start the appeals process—immediately. Most veterans are denied on the first try, so don’t give up. Filing an appeal is more complicated, and you’ll have a short time in which to file. When you receive your denial letter, begin gathering up all of your medical records, military, VA and private, and speak with a VA disability and appeals attorney. Use your free consultation to learn more about your rights as a veteran, and discuss the next steps in your case.

Working with a Veterans Service Officer may have worked so far, but if you’ve hit an obstacle, he or she may not have the extensive experience that an experienced VA disability attorney has. A lawyer or law firm who focuses on disability claims has a better understanding of how the VA works, and doesn’t. Furthermore, a law firm that specializes in VA disability work has more resources and staff to represent a veteran favorably, rather than relying on a VA physician examination which may not favor the veteran.

We’re Here To Help

If the VA denied your 100% rating, or they’ve revised your current rating, consider discussing your case with a lawyer who understands VA disability benefits.

The Herren Law Firm has helped over 4,000 Houstonians get the veteran’s benefits they deserve, and we’ll be happy to help you get yours. Call us at (713) 682-8194 or (800) 529-7707 or use our online contact form for a free consultation. You can ask questions, and we can discuss your legal options. We offer a contingency fee arrangement, and you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.