I have a rating of 80%. I haven’t been able to sustain employment for the past few years. My representative is going to apply for TDIU. I plan of looking for employment one day as I progress mentally. My employment part time would be higher than the poverty line when I do seek it in the coming years. When I return to the workforce I tell the VA and they cancel my TDIU. But will they put me back at 80% scheduler rating or will they also revise that rating as well? I don’t want to lose my rating of 80%. It took many years to get here but right now I am in and out of hospitals and don’t have the income to support my family. I don’t plan on using the TDIU benefit as a permanent solution since my line of work (which I can only work part time due to my mental health) makes sustainably over the poverty line. What would you suggest? What happens after the TDIU benefit goes away or is canceled or I no longer need it?


Jim's Reply:

Once you have the TDIU rating you are no longer allowed to work at the level that VA calls gainful employment. You are allowed to work at marginal employment however. Marginal employment allows you to earn up to the federal poverty level with no penalty. That can be a generous amount of money, more than $10,000.00 for a single veteran and significantly more for those with dependents.

You tell me that you want to return to work and I'm all for that. Structured work is good for us and provides benefits way beyond the money. After VA has rated you as TDIU they will begin to monitor your IRS and SSA accounts to check on how much taxable income you're making each year. If you aren't making any, your benefits will go on with no problems. 

If you are successful in a return to work and you earned more than the allowable limit in a year, VA will send you a 21-4140 form to complete and explain why you had that money on record. If it appears to everyone that you're able to continue working the VA will usually suggest that your TDIU 100% be modified to the original rating, in your case 80%.

In other words, if you are able to return to work, you do not have to notify the VA of anything, they'll be in touch with you. 

I like your plan and the thought you're putting into it. Good luck!