EFFECTIVE DATE FOR ENTITLEMENT TO INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY
Are you a veteran who has stopped working because your service connected injuries or diseases prevent you from performing your work activities? If so, you should file a claim for entitlement to individual unemployability.
Individual unemployability is essentially a device in which a veteran who is rated at less than totally 100% disabled is paid at the 100% level so long as the veteran meets several requirements. Generally, the VA first considers a veteran's schedular rating. To schedularly qualify for individual unemployability, there are other ways to qualify, a veteran must have one service connected disability rated at 60% or more, or a veteran must have multiple service connected disabilities with a combined rating of at least 70% with one singular disability rated at 40% or more. Then, the VA considers whether, as a result of those service connected disabilities, the veteran can secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation. Of course, this explanation is a simplified version and many other considerations are involved.
What can become very important is the date in which a veteran becomes entitled to individual unemployability compensation. Generally, the VA will pay a veteran individual unemployability compensation no earlier than the date the claim was filed or when entitlement arose, whichever is later. However, if the veteran files his or her claim for individual unemployability within one year from the time he or she stops working as a result of service connected disabilities, the VA will assign an effective date of when it was factually ascertainable that entitlement to an increased rating for individual unemployability arose.
For example, if a veteran has a combined disability rating of 80% with a 40% rating for a back condition, he or she meets the schedular requirements for entitlement to individual unemployablity. If the veteran stops working on January 1, 2014, and alleges work was ceased due to service connected disabilities, if the veteran files a claim for individual unemployability within one year, i.e., by December 31, 2014, the VA can assign an effective date of January 1, 2014.
If, however, the veteran stops working on January 1, 2014, as a result of service connected disabilities, but does not file a claim for individual unemployability until August 1, 2015, for example, the VA would assign an effective date of August 1, 2015, because the claim was not filed within a year of when it was ascertainable that the veteran could be entitled to individual unemployability.
If you are a veteran who has filed for VA disability benefits and needs help navigating the appeal process, call the experienced veterans' disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. at 251-343-1111 today for a free case evaluation. The disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. help veterans throughout the Gulf Coast area, including, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana with regard to establishing service connection for claimed conditions, establishing entitlement to higher compensation ratings, and establishing entitlement to individual unemployability.