Schedular v. TDIU 100% Rating


I was recently awarded 100% schedular with P&T. Am I allowed to work part-time or full-time without being penalized (losing my P&T status)? I have seen where some experts have said no you can't work because that is why you were awarded P&T. Others say yes you can work but you shouldn't because the VA will call you back for a C&P Exam. Still others say that you can work as long as you do not work 12 consecutive months. I understand the work rules for TDIU but I am confused about the work rules for 100% schedular with P & T.


Jim's Reply:

The disability ratings system that VA uses is notoriously hard to figure out. The system was designed in the 1940s into the 1950s for what was then a largely agrarian and emerging industrial American society and hasn't had any substantial changes since.

It seems incongruous when the term '100% Totally Disabled' is applied to an individual who is capable of mostly mainstream life activities but such is the VA rating system. Many 100% rated veterans have gone on to leadership positions in public life all while keeping their 100% schedular rating.

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

A 100% permanent rating brings with it privileges that make a totally disabled veterans life a bit simpler. The veteran who is eligible for that 100% is sometimes very clear cut and other times not so much. The regulations recognize that some veterans will have a number of disabling conditions that when stacked together will make gainful employment impossible for that vet even though the conditions do not add up to 100%. Thus we have the TDIU or 'unemployablity' rating that allows a veteran who is rated at 60% to 90% to be awarded a 100% rating because of defined work related challenges.

Although disability compensation is awarded to compensate for shortcomings in our ability to earn a living because of our disabling conditions, that isn't addressed as clearly for the 100% schedular rated veteran as it is for the 100% TDIU vet. The regs are clear that the TDIU vet can't work and earn a wage above the poverty level or he or she will risk losing benefits. But whether or not the 100% schedular rated vet is allowed gainful employment isn't addressed as clearly.

In the end the 100% schedular rated veteran is allowed to work at any employment and earn as much as they are capable of with no penalty. The TDIU veteran is only allowed to earn up to the federal poverty level or VA will question why the vet is rated at 100%.

The system makes no sense in our society today and recommendations to make the necessary changes have been cast aside. Most recently the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, sometimes called the Dole-Shalala commission, gave strong guidance on changes that must be taken. The report was shelved with no attempt to initiate any change.

In any case, yes, you are allowed to pursue any employment that you are capable of of you may earn as much money as you can and there is no penalty for that. Good luck sir.