Friday, September 15, 2017

Working While Rated Unemployable

Marginal Employment 

Some veterans will argue that when you have reached unemployable status, you are supposed to stay at home and sit in your house, or spend all your time at the VA. They are terrified of doing anything that could be remotely related to work, but the Code of Federal Regulations does not require a veteran to stop functioning.

  4.17 Total disability ratings for pension based on unemployability.

All veterans who are basically eligible and who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of disabilities which are likely to be permanent shall be rated as permanently and totally disabled. For the purpose of pension, the permanence of the percentage requirements of 4.16 is a requisite. (One disability at 60% or above, or a 70% combination of  two or more, with one being at least 40%.)   

When the percentage requirements are met, and the disabilities involved are of a permanent nature, a rating of permanent and total disability will be assigned if the veteran is found to be unable to secure and follow substantially gainful employment by reason of such disability. Prior employment or  unemployment status is immaterial if in the judgment of the rating board the veteran's disabilities render him or her unemployable. In making such determinations, the following guidelines will be used:

(a) Marginal employment, for example, as a self-employed farmer or other person, while employed in his or her own business, or at odd jobs or while employed at less than half the usual remuneration will not be considered incompatible with a determination of unemployability, if the restriction, as to securing or retaining better employment, is due to disability.

(from 4.16) Marginal employment shall not be considered substantially gainful employment. For purposes of this section, 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. Marginal employment may also be held to exist, on a facts found basis (includes but is not limited to employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop), when earned annual income exceeds the poverty threshold. Consideration shall be given in all claims to the nature of the employment and the reason for termination.

 (b) Claims of all veterans who fail to meet the percentage standards but who meet the basic entitlement criteria and are unemployable, will be referred by the rating board to the Adjudication Officer .

  What all this means is that you don’t have to stop trying to earn some money when you are considered unemployable. The VA will, according to a letter I received a few weeks ago, check Social Security and IRS records on you each year  when you are rated unemployable, even if self-employed. So, in theory, if you work a job involving taxes you will be hassled, if you make a ton of money. (The law doesn’t provide much incentive to improve yourself  if  you are declared unemployable.)

  In part b above, the law states that you can file for  unemployability at any percentage if you can’t work based on a service-connected condition. The VA and probably the service organizations will frown on this, but it is your  right to file for unemployability if you can’t work. Don’t ley anyone tell you that you can’t file. It is the law.

(From the S-2 Report Newsletter)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Trump Budget and Individual Uemployability

The Trump Budget and IU

There are rumors that the Trump budget will force everyone who is of retirement age (62) off of IU and on to Social Security alone to save money. This would mean a massive cut for seniors on  Individual Unemployability who need it the most. Most vets would lose over half their income.  
  This won't fly, and I will tell you why. If you are unemployable, you are considered 100%. Just because you lose the IU because of budget cuts does not mean you are suddenly employable.
  The VA would have to review every single case based on the level of disability, (even if they are eligible to collect Social Security because many people work past retirement age), and probably have to make everyone drawing IU before the budget cut 100% schedular.
  You are not suddenly employable once again just because they cut your funding. And if you are too old to work by then, they just can't cut your money and benefits to save funds. So you would switch from say 80% IU to 100% schedular. Same-same.
  I don’t think the cuts will ever happen, and if it does, I believe those already on IU will stay there based on their age.
  In my own case, I’m 70 years old. I'm 130% disabled (combined 90%) but next February I will have 20 years on IU rating. After 20 years of the same rating the VA is not supposed to be able to cut your percentage. You stay that way for life.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Diet Soda: Is It A Killer?

Diet Soda Killer?
I've seen two articles this morning on how bad a diet soda is for you. You have to be shitting me. All along they say you shouldn't have sugary drinks and now they are saying diet soda causes strokes and dementia...but when all the factors like smoking, age, weight, current medical problems, and health are figured in...the figures don't mean anything and are inconclusive. So in the end it's all bullcrap, probably promoted by the sugary drink manufacturers and the sugar growers.
They should be concentrating on the effects of mixing prescriptions and the many ingredients in the flu shots they now keep trying to push on people, who in nine out of ten cases get the flu anyway. Seems to me they would cause dementia and strokes more than any ingredient in diet soda.
At age 70, I have a case of Type 2 diabetes, which they say is from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. I was exposed to it...but I never got diabetes until I started taking blood pressure meds, some of which make your blood sugar go up and down. So I quit drinking regular soda and switched to diet. Now they are saying diet soda can kill you?
When I first got back from Vietnam, normal blood sugar levels at the VA were 140 or under. Then it went down to 130. When I was diagnosed it was 125, and that day my blood sugar was 126. Years later, it was an automatic service connection, but since I was already 100% service-connected, the extra 30% didn't matter in the long run. Pretty soon they will have blood sugar levels down to 100, and anything over will be diabetes and you will have to take meds...and the only people happy will be the ones who own the drug companies.
Live your life. If you like diet soda, drink it. They don't really know what causes anything, and sugar is a lot worse for you than no sugar.