Filed for increase in May. If applicable, can someone work/earn income if they are awarded 100%? Thanks!

dloehr22

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I was wondering, can you still work if you earn a 100% VA disability rating? If so how much can you ear per year without any issues? I am 60% disabled. My foot was broken in IRaq and I have PTSD. Currently have a 50% PTSD rating which was awarded in 2013 but my symptoms are worse now. Mainly with Anxiety, trust issues, paranoia around crownds, groups and tight spaces. I was never like this before returning home. I filed for an increase and in the notes on Ebenefits its noted by the doctor that I seem to be worse off than i was before (short version) Treatment recommended, etc. My foot has also never healed and still causes me balance issues. They said the xreays are no different than before so there are no issues (short version) on ebennies. I am thinking they are sweeping that under the rug but the PTSD might get increased. A few days ago i went into the Prep for Decision phase. Just curious on everyone's thoughts. Thanks in advance
 

MackValdez

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I have known several co-workers that are rated at 100% by the VA and they are actually working in GS Civilian positions on base. I don't know the exact rules because I have never looked in to it, but I know that there are a fair number of people that are rated 100% and still work. I am not sure if there is a maximum allowed salary but at least one friend is a GS 12 and makes around 65K or 70K
 

MackValdez

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Here I found this. There are different forms of 100% (I was unaware!) So this should help answer your question:
When Can I Legally Work With A 100% VA Disability Rating?

A veteran may legally work even if she or he is VA rated at 100% disability on the schedule of ratings, either as a combined percentage or as the result of a single medical issue.

However, if the veteran is listed by the VA as being 100% unable to work under the Total Disability/Individual Unemployability rating, the veteran is not permitted to have “substantial gainful employment”. This is listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, but there is no comprehensive list describing what is considered “substantial gainful employment”.

Instead, the Code of Federal Regulations defines what it does not consider to be a violation of these rules; something called “marginal employment”. This is defined as follows:

…marginal employment generally shall be deemed to exist when a veteran’s earned annual income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person.​
There’s more. So-called marginal employment may also include (but may not be limited to) “employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop…when earned annual income exceeds the poverty threshold.”

To Summarize:

  • Veterans with “schedule of ratings” disability percentages may legally have “substantial gainful employment” even if they are rated at 100% disabled UNLESS they receive Total Disability/Individual Unemployability compensation.
  • Receiving the Individual Unemployability benefit which designates you as 100% “unemployable” means you cannot work a job deemed “substantial gainful employment” that elevates your income above the “official” Census Bureau’s definition of the poverty line.
  • In reference to Individual Unemployability, it does not matter how much or how little you work-the measure of “gainful employment” here is whether or not your earnings rise above the poverty threshold as determined by the government.
  • If you’re still not certain of your individual circumstances it may be best to consult with a lawyer.
 

dloehr22

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Update for everyone. They did not increase my percentage on the PTSD. Here is what the VA standards are for the 50% rating:

50% -- Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.

I wanted 70% on the PTSD increase... And my symptoms align with it...

70% -- Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

These are some of the things the doctor put in my file after my C&P exam for PTSD when I filed for increase (the 'red' portion si the most crucial for the increase in my opinion) Thanks.

With respect to the veteran's symptoms and functioning, his symptoms have
increased since his initial PTSD C&P exam was completed in 2013, and
these symptoms are having a substantially negative impact on his
social/home/family life, and are beginning to interfere with his
occupational functioning as well. Regarding the latter, the veteran's
work as a security guard manager has been negatively affected by the
veteran's PTSD symptoms including hypervigilence, suspiciousness,
avoidance behaviors, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. He avoids being "on
the floor" at the Honda plant where he works because he feels vulnerable,
paranoid, exposed, and anxious. The floor manager has noticed this and
has expressed concern, yet the veteran makes excuses to avoid it. His
direct supervisor has not expressed concern, however, and according to
the veteran, they have a good relationship. Due to episodes of "daydreaming,"
the veteran reported that his productivity has diminished. His job
commonly involves escorting terminated or suspended employees off the
premises, and each time he finds himself obsessively running through
multiple violent scenarios in his mind.
At home, the veteran has become isolated and withdrawn. He and his wife
are arguing frequently, and the veteran is avoiding social and family
activities to a large degree.



symptoms specifically attributable to PTSD include those that reflect
a reexperiencing of trauma (for example, nightmares, flashbacks, and
intrusive memories), hyper arousal (for example, exaggerated startle
reflex and hypervigilance), and avoidance of trauma reminders. Other
symptoms are nonspecific and may reflect PTSD and/or depression.
These symptoms include irritability, depressed mood, negative cognitions
about self and others, sleep disturbance, diminished participation in
significant activities, and disconnection from other people.

Criterion G:
[X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically
significant distress or impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


4. Symptoms
-----------
For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the
Veteran's diagnoses:
[X] Depressed mood
[X] Anxiety
[X] Suspiciousness
[X] Chronic sleep impairment
[X] Flattened affect
[X] Disturbances of motivation and mood
[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social
relationships


PCL-5 was administered with a score of 61, consistent with a positive
diagnosis of PTSD.
This veteran presents as a credible individual struggling with
significant
symptoms of PTSD and secondary depression

IM sorry this is so long but to me it seems like I should be atleast 70% PTSD. Does any one have an opinion on whether I should appeal my increase or not? Thank you in advance.
 

chaplaincharlie

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
Registered Member
Thanks for the information everyone. I want to remain able to work. Thats a huge concern to me.
In MH a 100% rating meant total dysfunction occupational and social impairment. You ability to hold down a job sorta demonstrates you don't have total occupational impairment.
 

VET6201

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Update for everyone. They did not increase my percentage on the PTSD. Here is what the VA standards are for the 50% rating:

50% -- Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.

I wanted 70% on the PTSD increase... And my symptoms align with it...

70% -- Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

These are some of the things the doctor put in my file after my C&P exam for PTSD when I filed for increase (the 'red' portion si the most crucial for the increase in my opinion) Thanks.

With respect to the veteran's symptoms and functioning, his symptoms have
increased since his initial PTSD C&P exam was completed in 2013, and
these symptoms are having a substantially negative impact on his
social/home/family life, and are beginning to interfere with his
occupational functioning as well. Regarding the latter, the veteran's
work as a security guard manager has been negatively affected by the
veteran's PTSD symptoms including hypervigilence, suspiciousness,
avoidance behaviors, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. He avoids being "on
the floor" at the Honda plant where he works because he feels vulnerable,
paranoid, exposed, and anxious. The floor manager has noticed this and
has expressed concern, yet the veteran makes excuses to avoid it. His
direct supervisor has not expressed concern, however, and according to
the veteran, they have a good relationship. Due to episodes of "daydreaming,"
the veteran reported that his productivity has diminished. His job
commonly involves escorting terminated or suspended employees off the
premises, and each time he finds himself obsessively running through
multiple violent scenarios in his mind.
At home, the veteran has become isolated and withdrawn. He and his wife
are arguing frequently, and the veteran is avoiding social and family
activities to a large degree.



symptoms specifically attributable to PTSD include those that reflect
a reexperiencing of trauma (for example, nightmares, flashbacks, and
intrusive memories), hyper arousal (for example, exaggerated startle
reflex and hypervigilance), and avoidance of trauma reminders. Other
symptoms are nonspecific and may reflect PTSD and/or depression.
These symptoms include irritability, depressed mood, negative cognitions
about self and others, sleep disturbance, diminished participation in
significant activities, and disconnection from other people.

Criterion G:
[X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically
significant distress or impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


4. Symptoms
-----------
For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the
Veteran's diagnoses:
[X] Depressed mood
[X] Anxiety
[X] Suspiciousness
[X] Chronic sleep impairment
[X] Flattened affect
[X] Disturbances of motivation and mood
[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social
relationships


PCL-5 was administered with a score of 61, consistent with a positive
diagnosis of PTSD.
This veteran presents as a credible individual struggling with
significant
symptoms of PTSD and secondary depression

IM sorry this is so long but to me it seems like I should be atleast 70% PTSD. Does any one have an opinion on whether I should appeal my increase or not? Thank you in advance.
I agree that you fit most of the criterion for 70%

Its my opinion that the VA would likely increase your rating if there were more documented instances of how PTSD has caused you issues. Specifically, that you have been fired or are divorcing...or have had legal issues such as fights or even issues paying your bills.

I understand that like many with PTSD, we do our best to hide our issues and avoid these extreme consequences so there's never really a true depiction of how significant our struggles are until its too late. Unfortunately for rating purposes, the VA is looking for concrete facts.

I also feel that in my C&P exams, they seemed to place a lot of emphasis on how often I had anxiety attacks and what MEDs I was on...so as such, you'd also need to be on daily meds.

I would say that in an appeal you may get the increase, but if it were me, I'd wait until there's a significant indisputable change.
 

dloehr22

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
In MH a 100% rating meant total dysfunction occupational and social impairment. You ability to hold down a job sorta demonstrates you don't have total occupational impairment.
Thanks for the reply. I also have disability for headaches, shoulders and back, and broken foot in IRAQ that they still havent fixed... So my original question on this thread was for a total of 100%. I wasn't tying to get 100% on PTSD, nor do i think its warranted. I just meant total, if it came to that.
 

dloehr22

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I agree that you fit most of the criterion for 70%

Its my opinion that the VA would likely increase your rating if there were more documented instances of how PTSD has caused you issues. Specifically, that you have been fired or are divorcing...or have had legal issues such as fights or even issues paying your bills.

I understand that like many with PTSD, we do our best to hide our issues and avoid these extreme consequences so there's never really a true depiction of how significant our struggles are until its too late. Unfortunately for rating purposes, the VA is looking for concrete facts.

I also feel that in my C&P exams, they seemed to place a lot of emphasis on how often I had anxiety attacks and what MEDs I was on...so as such, you'd also need to be on daily meds.

I would say that in an appeal you may get the increase, but if it were me, I'd wait until there's a significant indisputable change.
Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the response.

IN my line of work I cant get in trouble. I did lie about how much I drink because I didnt want them to think im an alcoholic, which im not.. I think i shouldve been honest there. Also, although im currently still married, its rocky and not far off from being divorced several times and its all my fault with my actions and attitude/emotional issues.

I am on anxiety meds and have tried several different anti depressants over last few years that never seemed to work.

Again I know it woudl look better to be fired and have been divorced, etc... BUT i am working hard on succeeding at both so although im still employed and still married, they are both a struggle in their own regard , on a daily bases and everything has gotten worse over the last 5 years.

I appreciate your response, thanks again.
 

chaplaincharlie

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
Registered Member
Thanks for the reply. I also have disability for headaches, shoulders and back, and broken foot in IRAQ that they still havent fixed... So my original question on this thread was for a total of 100%. I wasn't tying to get 100% on PTSD, nor do i think its warranted. I just meant total, if it came to that.
My apologies, I misread your post.
 

Warrior644

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
Registered Member
Update for everyone. They did not increase my percentage on the PTSD. Here is what the VA standards are for the 50% rating:

50% -- Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.

I wanted 70% on the PTSD increase... And my symptoms align with it...

70% -- Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

These are some of the things the doctor put in my file after my C&P exam for PTSD when I filed for increase (the 'red' portion si the most crucial for the increase in my opinion) Thanks.

With respect to the veteran's symptoms and functioning, his symptoms have
increased since his initial PTSD C&P exam was completed in 2013, and
these symptoms are having a substantially negative impact on his
social/home/family life, and are beginning to interfere with his
occupational functioning as well. Regarding the latter, the veteran's
work as a security guard manager has been negatively affected by the
veteran's PTSD symptoms including hypervigilence, suspiciousness,
avoidance behaviors, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts. He avoids being "on
the floor" at the Honda plant where he works because he feels vulnerable,
paranoid, exposed, and anxious. The floor manager has noticed this and
has expressed concern, yet the veteran makes excuses to avoid it. His
direct supervisor has not expressed concern, however, and according to
the veteran, they have a good relationship. Due to episodes of "daydreaming,"
the veteran reported that his productivity has diminished. His job
commonly involves escorting terminated or suspended employees off the
premises, and each time he finds himself obsessively running through
multiple violent scenarios in his mind.
At home, the veteran has become isolated and withdrawn. He and his wife
are arguing frequently, and the veteran is avoiding social and family
activities to a large degree.



symptoms specifically attributable to PTSD include those that reflect
a reexperiencing of trauma (for example, nightmares, flashbacks, and
intrusive memories), hyper arousal (for example, exaggerated startle
reflex and hypervigilance), and avoidance of trauma reminders. Other
symptoms are nonspecific and may reflect PTSD and/or depression.
These symptoms include irritability, depressed mood, negative cognitions
about self and others, sleep disturbance, diminished participation in
significant activities, and disconnection from other people.

Criterion G:
[X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically
significant distress or impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


4. Symptoms
-----------
For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the
Veteran's diagnoses:
[X] Depressed mood
[X] Anxiety
[X] Suspiciousness
[X] Chronic sleep impairment
[X] Flattened affect
[X] Disturbances of motivation and mood
[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social
relationships


PCL-5 was administered with a score of 61, consistent with a positive
diagnosis of PTSD.
This veteran presents as a credible individual struggling with
significant
symptoms of PTSD and secondary depression

IM sorry this is so long but to me it seems like I should be atleast 70% PTSD. Does any one have an opinion on whether I should appeal my increase or not? Thank you in advance.
In my experienced opinion going from a PTSD 50% rating (while in the DoD IDES process then placed on DoD military TDRL for over four years) to a PTSD 100% rating (via DoVA C&P exam six month after departing military active duty) to a PTSD 100% P&T rating (awarded a couple of months later by the DoVA Rating Agency & finally placed on DoD PDRL in 2018), based solely upon the written information within the C&P examination above and the red-highlighted verbiage to include the checked symptoms, your comprehensive symptomology don't support an increased 70% rating for PTSD at this particular point in time.

Moreover, the DoVA Rating Agency should have reviewed your entire available medical records for other supporting medical evidence and/or medical documentation (i.e., MH inpatient treatment care, marriage counseling, civil court/legal actions, occupational issues, MH classes attendance, etc.) to support a potential increase in the PTSD rating. Albeit, it would seem that your entire available medical records don't contain ample supporting documentation to warrant an increase at this particular point in time.

Of course, if you disagree with the DoVA Rating Agency's determination and your medical records do indeed contain documented supporting evidence then you probably should submit a DoVA NOD appeal prior to the established deadline. The key to any success with requesting an increased DoVA rating is to possess documented evidence of symptomology as annotated in the criteria of 38 CFR VASRD at least in my experienced opinion. Take care!

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer!"

Best Wishes!
 
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