VA Individual Unemployability after being determined "permanently unemployable" by VA Voc-Rehab?

FloridaInjuredInCombat

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Anyone who’s gone through or has input about VA Individual Unemployability?

A brief history…
Given VA C&P exams in 2014, even though I have a LOT of pain and limitations due to a lumbar spinal injury and radiculopathy in both legs the VA Examiner wrote “no pain, no limitations, full range of motion” on the report. Thankfully on advice of Jason Perry I went to my own Orthopedic Surgeon and had a DBQ done, which successfully countered the BS C&P report.

Was medically retired from the Army primarily for the spinal injury and radiculopathy in 2015 at 80% VA Combined Rating and I believe 60% military combined rating.

Entered the VA Voc-Rehab program in 2015, three months after retirement and attended college through it from 2015 through 2018, but had to withdrawal from classes three times, due to the pain from the spinal injury being too much to keep going and once due to complications from RF ablation of the damaged nerves gone wrong.

A week ago (2019), VA Voc -Rehab directed me to fill out a Preliminary Independent Living Assessment, which I did. Two days later I got a notice from VA Voc-Rehab dropping me from the program, stating


“You are infeasible for employment services under Chapter 31 due to your severe limitations caused by your combined service-connected disabilities. You have significant disabilities that would be consistent with permanent unemployability. You are not feasible for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, nor is it believed that other employers would hire you with the numerous limitations to employment.”

It’s been nearly six years since I’ve been able to work, before my injury took me out of the fight, I worked full time for 30+ years, both in the military and as a Journeyman Millwright. I’d love to be able to go back to work, but I don’t see a miracle cure coming down the pike that would allow me to continue Voc-Rehab nor ever be employable again, so what next?

My big fear is if I ask for Individual Unemployability and they send me to a new round of C&P exams, they lie like they did last time and try to lower my ratings. The Orthopedic Surgeon, who’s DBQ saved me in 2014 has since retired, and I don’t have another surgeon familiar with my case enough to even fill out a new DBQ. Even if they did, it’s not certain what the outcome would be.


Is it likely that the VA will accept the determination of the VA Voc-Rehab counselor that I am permanently unemployable and approve IU, or will they try to cut my throat like last time? And if they do try it, what are my options to win the fight?
Thank you all for the input, I appreciate it.
 

FloridaInjuredInCombat

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UPDATE; got ahold of the local VSO, set up an appointment to see her. Still looking for any input from the forum if possible, thank you.
 

oddpedestrian

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Great question I would secure those DBQ's if possible to submit with the claim but you have a good shot with that voc rehab opinion. They will probably send you to an exam/exams that's just a risk everyone takes with an IU claim and there is no way around it maybe they skip it if you submitted those DBQ's but if not expect exams. I know you have trust issues after being burned I got burned by an examiner and it set me back two years in appeals to fix it.
 

Dani2920

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I'm sorry you've been put in this position. It's definitely a tough call. Have you thought about SSDI, using that Voc Rehab letter as proof of disability preventing employment?
That may give you the financial support you need without risking your current ratings.
 
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