Individual Unemployability, or IU, is part of the VA disability benefits program that allows qualifying veterans to receive the same level of compensation as a veteran with a 100% disability rating, despite not having service-connected disabilities rated at 100%.
IU is awarded to veterans who can’t maintain substantially gainful employment because of service-connected injuries. Typically, the veteran must meet one of the two following percentage criteria:
- One service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher.
- More than one service-connected disability, where at least one is rated no lower than 40%, combining for a rating of 70% or higher.
It might be difficult to imagine an IU case based on just the numbers, so we’ve written up a pair of examples where this kind of compensation might be awarded.
Example #1: Victor
Victor sustained a traumatic brain injury from an IED explosion while deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. He received a service-connected disability rating of 60%. When he first returned home, he found a job in his field, but it soon became apparent that his injuries made it impossible to safely perform his duties. His doctor recommended that he retire.
Example #2: Maureen
Maureen is a veteran who received thermal injuries from a vehicle accident. After returning home, she was also diagnosed with service-connected PTSD. The ratings for her injuries are 40% and 50%, respectively, combining for a rating of 70%. Maureen’s only income over the last couple years has come from a local friend who pays her to water the plants in her house a few times a month.
Both Victor and Maureen applied for increased disability compensation. After review by the Ratings Team, they were both granted compensation equivalent to a veteran with total disability.
Talk to the experienced Dallas VA benefits attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod if you are having any problems applying for or appealing your VA disability benefits case. Call us today, toll-free, at 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.