By Tito A Cortez
The other day, a Veteran came to us for help with his service connected disability compensation claim. He initially filed a claim for several injuries. However, all of his claim were denied. As most of us know that when you received an award letter (claim denial), included is an attachment of a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) form for appeal. The VA is telling you if you disagree with their decision, it is your right to appeal.
Because this Veteran disagreed with the VA's denial, he completed this NOD form and appealed all of the VA's decision. Subsequently he mailed this completed form to the VA.
One of the denied claims he appealed was his claim for individual unemployability.
During our interview, we asked him if he is retired. He responded by saying he is working full-time. We asked why he applied for individual unemployability and he said his friend told him he could. And when the VA denied his claim for unemployability, once again, his friend also told him to file an appeal.
Without smiling, we told him that unemployability claims are for those who are no longer working and who have attained a disability rating of one disability at a minimum of 60% or if more than two, a rating of at least 70%, one of which must be 40%. Or if you don't have this rating, you could submit your claim to the Director, Compensation and Pension Service, for extra circular consideration.
But the VA will not consider his individual unemployability claim because he is still yet to be rated. You have to have a disability rating before you could claim individual unemployability.
Sometimes in life, we need to use our common sense. When asked if this Veteran can apply for unemployment benefits, he responded by saying no because he is working full time.
What makes him think the VA will approved his unemployability claim while working full time and at the same time yet to be rated.
Do you think this Veteran has a chance for the Appeal Board to overturn his denied claim for unemployabilty? If we use our common sense, we don't do something this stupid. This Veteran had a long wait for nothing.
In the process, he wasted his time in applying, especially for unemployability because he is still working full-time. This is one example of the many things a Veteran might do in applying without knowing what he is doing.
In the process, he wasted valuable time from the VA because as each of us know, the VA must process each claim submitted by Veteran because the VA is mandated to process every Veteran's claim for compensation.
We all could help the VA's backlog by knowing what we are doing, and if we don't know what we are doing, ask for help from someone who knows.
Applying without knowing could in the end become a tremendous time waster, wasting valuable time that could be devoted to a brother or sister Veteran who has a bona fide claim.