|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
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. (For the year 2002 this amount was $9359 for a person 65 and under and $8628 for a person over 65).”
Thanks for the reply. I had read that info before, I just did not know if the VA would take into account unqiue circumstances-- ie, if I earned $4,000 one year, then $10,000 for one year, then $2,000 the next, etc.-- OR, if the fact is very simply that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE may you earn more than the poverty threshold, or your disability rating/pay will be lowered.
As it stands, I shall probably not take the risk of attempting regular work when my family's livelihood is at stake. I am only 32; I do not feel that I deserve to be "taken care of" by the government no matter the nature of my service injury... I would really prefer to be totally healthy, and work my butt off to take care of my family with a good old fashioned work ethic. But, I do have real limitations now, and have finally accepted that. I am very thankful that I receive my disability pay, and the best I can do is try to raise my family with God's help.
Thanks for your reply, and thanks to every one of you out there who has served, and is continuing to serve, our great country!
I have a frind that is 100% but can work and is a GS 12. Another friend is 100% unemployable. He also applied for and got 100% disability from Social Security. If you are 100% unemploble you can apply for Social Security.
Individual Unemployability (IU) and a 100% rating are different things. If you are rated at 100% (for injuries, etc.) and can still work somehow, I don't think you should worry too much about the VA reducing your rating.
IU is a whole different ballgame. if you work while rated IU and the VA finds out, I'd count on a pretty close look at whether you'd retain that status.
SSDI is a completely separate system also, with a cap of $900/month before you're considered to be engaged in "substantial gainful activity (SGA)" and SSA starts the process of getting you back into the work force.
Though they all seem the same, there are some important differences. I'm rated 100% by Social Security, but only 60% by the VA. JMHO...
This is my first post but I've done alot of reading around here, very informative. this first post is also my introduction of myself and its rather lengthy so I appologize and appreciate that you want to read it.
I believe I've been worrying needlessly lately but want to add my story to the thread in hopes I can get some sound advice.
Recently I moved and notified the VA medical side and not the VA administrative side of my move and new address and contact information ..so the Admin. had me scheduled for benefits review becuase of returned mail and their inability to contact me. I would never have known this if the Medical side....hadn't told me by phone. So I called and corrected my information and explained my misunderstanding of how they were so divided and eventually they fixed it all with the help of my DAV representative....and only with his help. I WAS scheulded to have reduced benefits automaticly.
I have had my 70% rating for almost 5 years now and rated 100% IU for a little over 2 years. I go through terrible guilt watching the news feeling I don't deserve my benefits but I have become dependant on them. I've tried unsucessfully at attending college as I simply have not been able to focus on my schoolwork because of my disabilities. I really have tried.
Here are my major illnesses I have been rated for but no actual % in front of me at the moment.
Prostate disorder (undiagnosed but with years of documentation) causing less pain, usually, than discomfort and aggrivation.
The pain CAN be an 8 but usually isn't. The major problem with it is the incontinence...yeah I wet myself moderatly sometimes with little to no control.
Knee problems and pain. Significant pain. I threw out my knee while running in service on the base and it's been unreliable since. the doctors can find nothing wrong BUT I am rated some %. It clicks almost every time I move it and it feel swollen but doen't look it. VA doctor presribed me Advil and that was the last time I went to the VA complainign about it....
Back problems. When it gets aggrivated its a solid "8" easy. It's musculoskeletal plus a degenerating disk in the lower back.
If it hasn't been obvious so far (lol) I have mental disorders/disorder. I was diagnosed Major Depressed (and suicidal thoughts) exiting service and had such problems with that and the prostate and sleeping that I could not function properly. My command pushed and got a General discharge for me while military medical staff specialists, my psychologist, tried getting me out on medical. The command got thier General however it has been flipped around to honorable Medical with the help of the DAV and I am awaiting my DD 215 amendment. So.....the VA has since diagnosed me with Bi Polar with Schizo Effective disorder. I still suffer with the illnes/s.
Okay you're patient. The questions and concerns:
My 5yr review is coming up for my rating and I am so worried about losing my benefits and not being able to commit to and hold down a job thus i seriously am losing sleep.
I still have all these medical issues and they have not gotten betetr and if anything worse but I have had problems with my appointments most generally due to anxiety, stress, depression, and easily losing track of time from these.
I've also had my frustrations with getting the care I expected ...the Advil for my knee for example. Please noone take offense but it was my experience in service as an enlisted that seeing the the doctor often was met with ie. "Your supervisor says youre fine" attitude....and thats what the knee doctor with the Advil reminded me of so I have not complained about my discomforts much to the VA in the last few years and instead suffering. I have done my best to take care of myself and have made many appointments but, loser as it sounds, I have had trouble getting to them and with the desire to become better and get the treatments I need I continue. Well anyway.... Voc Rehab doesn't think I am ready for thier program for retraining and neither does my Psychiatrist and although I am only a year from graduating with a degree in Psychology I have to aggree.
I'm sorry for the ramble here. I should have ended this a long time ago.
Does the pain of an illness such as prostate problem becoem the rating factor or would the incontinence be just as significant?
It's very very uncomfortable to live with EVERY day and when you have a wet spot in public it isn't cute either.... See during my upcoming rating exam if I feel like my prostate condition wont be taken as seriously as it should be, when asked about the pain level, i will tell them an "8" even though it's not always that "painfull". I pee frequently at night and when i am having what I call an episode I really don't get any sleep and end up just passing out when I am too tired. When I switched primary care providers from moving he disagreed with the former diagnosis or neurogenic bladder (follow up with an MRI) and wants to cathiderize me to measure the flow of urine and says he disagrees with the former diagnosis. I have already had my flow measured but without cathiderization and I not only don't agree with him i simply can't have that procedure done.... I'd like the MRI and my psychologiest has actuallys ent him a note to help me persuade him before I switch back to the other primary care provider.
I worry about my problems keeping up with my own requests for treatment - keeping appointments and follow ups ( I do cancel most of these beforehand!) and me refusing a painfull and emberassing test I dont agree with from a doctor. I have had trouble keeping up with my psychiatric meds as well but thats getting better. How likely will this be to my detrement in my rating review?
The DAV said I shouldn't worry much as long as I don't tell the VA I am just fine and I've been fishing and playing golf. I really resent what I have become dependant on because I'd much rather not have to. Theres a few questions sprinkled in ..all this but if given the info I provided anyone with the knowledge could tell me the chances of me keeping my rating are - thank you.
Thank you for reading all of this.
Ruptured Duck-Derelict Vets
Dear This Member,
I really have a problem when you all do not at least give a first name.
Are you living alone? My VA calls me the day before my appointment. I keep up with them most of the time, but they phone calls have helped me to not miss a couple of them.
You need to be letting the VA Doctors know how much pain you are in on your knee. Your records are what the reviewing board will look at.
How does your knee feel swollen even though it does not look swollen?
Have you been told you will have a 5 year review? I have been IU now for 14 years and I have not had any reviews. The SS sent out a one page asking about my doctor appointments and if I had been working. This was after 7 years. I guess I showed enough appointments to meet their need, they did not do an exam on me.
I trust you are getting copies of your records from the VA. It will do you no good to worry, it will only cost you in sleep and peace of mind.
I have a very strong faith in God and Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I do my best to place everything in Gods loving hands. The VA did not receive my employment report this year, the first I knew about it was a letter that I would be going for a C & P, a second letter in 2 weeks saying my VA was going to be reduced since they did not receive the form. I sent the form in and everything was taken care of. No exam and change in my VA payments. During the waiting I just put it all in Gods hands. I knew worrying about it would only make me feel bad.
I am sorry about your experience in service as an enlisted that seeing the the doctor often was met with ie. "Your supervisor says youre fine" attitude. That was then, now is a different time. You should not allow the pass to control how you act now.
I trust this will help you some. May God richly bless and keep you and your family.
In His Service,
Thank you Grover.
Yeah I don't know why the site put a number there instead of my first name. I activated the account and though I was logged in but maybe it does that number deal when youre not logged into the site as member.
Anyway - yes it's in the past and I didn'nt mean to carry on like that. I shared more than I needed to.
We had the same experience with the employment letter but I couldnt get mine fixed without the DAV getting involved ..but its fixed.
They did promise me a 5 year review soon because they said it was procedure for 5 years.
I haven't given alot of confidence with my care providers and with the experiences I had in service, past or not, it's mroe than understandable ..at least for me. I now know I have to tell them every time I am rolling on the couch at night in pain and can't sleep. In the past I prefered to endure it like I did in service but I can tell it's not going to do me any good at review to have not said anything.
I live with my girlfriend right now and we're engaged. The VA send me a letter only - I wished they would call and they used to but now I have to specificly ask them to.
This knee is wierd! It DOES feel swollen all the time lately but you really can't see it... maybe by swollen I should say aches. It's that pain that throbs and throbs ..and the sucker clicks and pops just about every time I move. It's giving me trouble standing, walking, driving.
Having faith, knowing you can't fix things with worry is essential and thank you for reaffirming that for me. My feeling about my service are very love n' hate.
So, when the I called about the VA admin to correct my address they told me I had a 5yr review coming up soon and thats about all I know. Maybe they review more in certain areas. I guess you have to complain enough to not get a review. I deal with alot of my pain and discomfort on my own. I just priced private health insurance so i can get the treatment I need for my knee and urinary problems.
Grover I am blessed and thank you.
My user name is HedgeHocker.
I have no idea why the system is assigning me only a number. I am logged in as far as I know.
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
I think your profile is private.
But can you see your own forum handle by your messages? I just see a number. I feel much betetr having my profile as private as possible actually given all the information I have shared. I don't think it should matter anymore what rank I was. I'm no longer in DoD service. I miss being in service greatly by the way.
So is 5 years the standard most people get for reviews? I have heard before of people not getting them again for up to 17 years.
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
There is no real standard. I am 100% scheduler temp and they did not do a review for 4 years until I tired to get them to change it to permanent. With the current backlog and the war, they are busy. Often they forget. If you are not earning money, they you are following the rules. If they ask you to document you have no income and you do, then that may be the end of it. If you go to your doctors appointments and indicate your problems are still the same, then you should be fine.
The are really looking for those who can or do go back to work.
I notice that whenever I am requested to complete another exam they only ask for information concerning my heart condition (100% ratable). And as someone posted it seems like forever for them to accept that you are no longer temporarily disable...
Dave - I'm only 30% SC from the VA and have had that about 14 years since retiring from the AF. I have never been re-examined. Is that normal? My situation is rosy comparedto these other fellas but curious nevertheless. Thanks. Bill
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
I was discharged from the Navy on disability in 1977. Until I filed a claim 9 years ago for an increase they never did any follow-up. I stopped using VA facilities when I had group health. You situation s normal. Except for IU and 100% temp, there are seldom any follow-up exams for most physical disabilities - they seldom get better. If they do, it is the result of advances in medicine.
I never knew this.. So I have actually been helping myself not knowing it.. Every appointment my pain level is reported anywhere from 7-10... and in many appointments my blood pressure was noted high or above my normal which is an indicator of pain. My normal is 120/70, on really bad days I have seen it show 143/80 or so.
I always wondering why they asked that first thing.. and why I bothered to even answer correctly instead of just replying 'Ok' or "fine" each time just get through it.. now I am so glad I have not done that... In appointments it seems I am always repeating exactly the same thing to them every time.. What hurts, what is causing problems, and so on... Do they really write down all this every time?
I read your situation. It seems to me that you're in a GUILT TRIP.
|"Has Been 5"|
Private profiles prevent proper interaction and as a result many questions will go unanswered. I personally respond to some posters by e-mail, no profile no e-mail from me. Even though as a moderator, I can jump through a bunch of hoops to e-mail, usually it simply goes unanswered. It is the members choice.
Regarding working and 100% schedule rating. Schedular 100% does not prohibit employment. That rating is based on severity of the condition according to the rating schedule. This is not to be confused with IU, which is when a condition rated less than 100% by schedule, prevents the veteran from gainful employment.
I am a Schedular 100% temporary and not permanent. I am not IU ether. I think it would be unwise to work because my rating decision states that I have “Total occupational and social impairment.” This is why I received my 100% in the first place. Do most rating decisions contain the above statement or am I a special case? You say being a schedular 100% does not prohibit employment but I would think in my case it does. How can someone work and still be considered totally occupationally and socially impaired? Do the rules change once your rated permanent? I guess I’m still confused.
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
It depends on what your disability is. My disability is determined by one of several lung function tests. So if I score below or close to the number it does not matter if I work. Others have lost limbs. That will never change.
If you have a disability that is based upon not being able to work, then working means that you have overcome the disability.
Now with PTSD, some can work a little at low stress jobs. That is a big difference than a job that is 40+ per week.
Permanent is still subject to review. As a matter of course if you are treated at the VA and your doctor shows no change, they will probably not review your case. If they determine that the decision is based on fraud (or a stretched diagnosis based on questionable data) they have the right and obligation to review and adjust the rating.
Most veterans and their doctors do not fabricate a rating. The reality is that most people's chronic diseases get worse, not better with age. Acute illness can improve or can become a chronic condition. Temporary rating are there to allow stabilization of the patient. I believe the VA sometimes abuses it and leaves veterans open ended for longer than they should. Sometimes it is to the benefit of the vet, and sometimes to the advantage of the VA.
I base this belief on my first hand knowledge of my case. I have been 100% temp for over 5 years. They canceled two reviews. The last one they found in my favor, but kept it temp. I am working to prove them wrong, without imperiling my health.
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