I have been working with VA Disability for close to three years, and I still get questions that surprise me. Just today I was talking with the spouse of a Veteran, and she asked a question I have never heard before. In fact, I learned a little something new in the process.
Her situation was pretty normal. Her husband served in Vietnam, he was granted Individual Unemployability, and was approaching retirement age. She explained that since he was almost 65, his IU would go away. I honestly hadn’t thought of this before. So, the question we have to answer is: Does individual unemployability stop once you reach retirement age?
The answer is not as clear as one might think. First of all, did you know that we don’t all have the same retirement age? According to the SSA website, your full retirement age is dependent upon when you were born. For example, if you were born before 1937, your full retirement age is 65. However, if you are like me, and born after 1960, your full retirement age is 67. There are a lot of other examples, and partial retirement ages, but if were to get into that, this blog would be more complicated than assembling IKEA furniture. The good news is, when it comes to IU at least, your retirement age does not matter!
The answer to that question is yes, no, and maybe. (Remember, I said it was not a simple answer.) IU can be granted in a few different ways. One way is Temporary. Obviously, that one won’t last forever, so let’s not get into detail about that. The area we want to focus on is the non-temporary kind.
When granted IU, a Veteran can be subject to review. For instance, if you are granted IU based on a 70% rating for PTSD, and that later gets reduced to 50%, then you would no longer be entitled to IU. There are situations in which a Veteran can be granted IU indefinitely. It is often referred to as Total and Permanent, or TDIU. This often comes when a Veteran has lost a limb but is not limited to a situation like that. Also, if you have IU for 20 years or more, you are not likely subject to a review. As with anything in the world, and especially the government, there are some exceptions.
The answer is actually no. The VA will not take away IU just because you could retire. Can the VA take away IU if you walk into a VAMC and start bragging about how you are an excellent kick boxer and recently started remodeling some houses? There is a good chance IU payments will stop.
Keep in mind, this blog is not a comprehensive overview of Individual Unemployability as a whole, but rather a few notes on eligibility. IU has a whole is much more complicated than I can fit in a single blog. If you would like to know more about this subject or would like to become a client, give us a call.