The main reason I write for this blog, and have worked so hard on it for the past two years, is that I want to get quality information to Veterans. I hate to sound like a corrupt mp3 file (broken record for our older readers,) but there is a ton of misinformation circulating about VA Disability benefits. I find that there are a lot of programs out there that Veterans aren’t aware of, and we are going to talk about one of the big ones today, Individual Unemployability. It is often referred to as IU, and Google will think that you misspelled “employability,” if you search for it.
While there are several factors that contribute to the number of OEF/OIF Veterans who are unemployed, one major factor is their disabilities. For instance, I speak with Veterans often who have PTSD who state that they can’t work around other people. Many people would argue that the Vet should just find a job in which he or she can work by themselves. Can you honestly think of many jobs in which any of us work alone? Most of my job involves social media and writing, yet I am constantly surrounded by people. Even jobs in the labor field involve working in groups. When a Vet gets to a level of 50-70% on PTSD, it becomes even more difficult for them to work with others, and especially to interact with the public.
Let’s say a Veteran does not have PTSD. Instead they are suffering from physical injuries. I have a friend who served for 20 years in the Air Force. His back issues are so severe that he can’t even sit at a desk for 15 minutes without severe pain.
Most of these Veterans are returning home and encountering one of two things. Either they can’t find work, or they find a job, and their injuries keep them from doing their job well, and they end up being terminated. With long term unemployment benefits coming to an end, many Vets are in a difficult situation.
Well, if you are a service connected Veteran, you may qualify for a program called Individual Unemployability. Here is the condensed version of how IU works. If you are a Vet, you know that the VA does not use real world math. Unless you are service connected for a single condition at 100%, you are not likely to get to the 100% level unless you are connected for everything under the sun. Enter IU. If you are a Veteran who is service connected at 60% on one condition, or 70% on multiple conditions, and are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities, you may qualify for IU. (70% on multiple conditions requires at least 40% on one single condition.)
In other words, IU will pay a Veteran at the 100% level even though he or she is not rated at 100%. The recent updated rates for VA Disability show that 100% equals $2,858.24 per month, or $34,297.68 per year. Granted, this is not enough money to have a demolition derby featuring Ferrari’s, but it beats the alternative. The number provided is for single Veterans. A Vet who has dependent children or spouses is compensated higher.