The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) is a government run military benefit system that is responsible for administering programs for veterans’ benefits, their families, and survivors. VA regulations state that “all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a “substantial gainful occupation” by reason of a service-connected disability shall be rated totally disabled.” (38 C.F. R. Sect 4.16).
The government defines “substantially gainful occupation” as an occupation that provides the veteran with an annual income that exceeds the poverty level threshold for one person ($11,344, 2011 Census). Total disability is defined as “when there is present any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation.” When a veteran is unable to work but the VA rating schedule does not permit a total disability rating, two opportunities remain to achieve a total disability rating: total disability based upon individual unemployability (TDIU) and under an extraschedular basis. The first requires that a veteran have a single disability rated at 60 percent or more and be unable to be gainfully employed. Alternately, a veteran with two or more disabilities present can also qualify if at least one of them is rated at 40 percent disabling or more with a combined rating of at least 70 percent.
“Individual Unemployability” or IU is a way for the VA to compensate veterans at the 100 percent rate who are unable to work because of their service connected disability. This is the fasted-growing part of the disability compensation program.
Entitlement to TDIU requires evidence of unemployment due to the disability in question and medical evidence that a veteran’s service-connected disability renders him or her totally disabled and unemployable. A Vocational Expert report can assist in documenting Total Disability.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the foremost companies providing Vocational Expert services in the United States. Having served as an Expert for the U.S. Government in more than 2500 cases, as well as over 750 cases where we have worked for claimants in Social Security, we have begun to provide Vocational Evaluation reports in Veteran’s Disability cases.
The recent US Court of Appeals case of Smith v. Shinski (No 2010-7145) using Social Security case law indicates the Veteran’s Administration does not have to use Vocational Experts in TDIU (Total Disability, Individual Unemployability) cases but that the VA adjudicator must consider a report documenting the Veteran’s unemployability. It is clear from this decision that the ultimate question is the employability of the Veteran, not the availability of jobs they can perform.
Based on our extensive knowledge of vocational issues, OAS is capable of evaluating a Veteran who has either a physical and/or mental impairment that is “service connected.”and who are war-time veterans with limited income and are permanently and totally disabled.
We can evaluate a veteran as to their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity. The vocational evaluation consists of a record review, vocational diagnostic interview, work and transferable skills analysis, and when necessary, testing to make a determination of the veteran’s ability to perform gainful work activity.
The vocational interview and test battery can be administered via the internet using SKYPE allowing claimant’s throughout the United States to obtain this valuable expert service.
Our expert can assist you in documenting the effect of your claimant's service-connected medical impairments on their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity. A Vocational Evaluation can be useful in establishing the claimant's veteran’s claim for TDIU.
Based on a record review, along with a completed standardized vocational form, and a transferability of skills analysis using U.S. Government approved labor market resources, Occupational Assessment Service’s Vocational Expert can render an opinion in a report as to the effect of veterans’ education, past work experience, physical or psychiatric impairments on their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity on a sustained, regular, competitive basis. A TDIU Vocational Evaluation report can be rendered on a nationwide basis using local, state or federal government data.