Matthew Hill: Hello, this is Matthew Hill with Carol Ponton, Hill & Ponton video blog. Today, we’d like to talk to you about unemployability and sheltered work. Just first of all, as a primer, unemployability is basically a rating a veteran can get if their VA disability keeps them from working. It’s not a service connection for unemployability. It’s basically the veteran getting the proper rating because again, the VA rating scale is all about how much does the veteran’s disability impair the veteran from working. A thing that we’ve noticed and is important to understand is even if the VA disability … let’s say he had Parkinson’s 10 years ago, and you had Parkinson’s, and then you quit work, but you were just retiring. You weren’t quitting because of the Parkinson’s. That doesn’t matter. What matters is now. Would you be able to obtain and maintain? Get a job and keep a job with that disability? If the answer is you can’t keep a job, then you’re probably entitled to unemployability.
Carol Ponton: Right. And unemployability is 100%.
Matthew Hill: Right.
Carol Ponton: It’s the other way to get … instead of adding up all your VA ratings and getting 100% or 100% for one thing, it’s another way to get 100%. And frankly it’s much easier, considering VA math the way they add the ratings. So unemployability means that you can’t work because of a service connected problem. And if you have a service connected problem that keeps you from working, you should file for unemployability. For some reason, veterans don’t think to file for that.
Matthew Hill: Well they don’t think they should have to. But the VA unfortunately still views unemployability as a separate claim.
Carol Ponton: Exactly.
Matthew Hill: Than regular disability benefits. But really it’s just a claim for the proper rating is the way I see it. So as Carol says, when we get a case, veteran comes to us 70% for PTSD, wants an increased rating. Really, really hard to get 100% for mental health. I mean, they honestly want to almost see you in a mental institution.
Carol Ponton: Yeah. They’ve changed the regulation so that to get 100%, it’s very, very hard.
Matthew Hill: It’s very hard. But the veteran’s not working because of it. Well we’re going to file that form for unemployability right then because we believe that that’s part of the claim. And that’s probably the way the veteran is going to get the 100%.
Carol Ponton: One of the things that I think is sad is the veterans will wait to file the unemployability claim. I don’t know why they wait. I think if they feel like the PTSD keeps them from working, and say they don’t even have a rating for PTSD. They should file for unemployability as well at the same time.
Matthew Hill: Right. And what Carol’s saying is that we do that all the time as a matter of rule in our office. If we think the veteran’s disability keeps them from working, even if they’re not service connected yet, we file it all because our goal is not to get the veteran service connected. Our goal is to get the veteran service connected compensation. So what we don’t want is the VA to come back and say, “Oh okay. This is service connected. Here’s 30%.” We want them to come back and say, “It’s service connected, and here’s what your real rating should be.” In this case, unemployability.
Carol Ponton: Well, and the sadder thing to me is as long as they’re taking, we get a rating. Say we get a rating for 70% for PTSD. They don’t even consider unemployability because we didn’t file the claim. Technically we feel like the law says they’re supposed to consider that, but they don’t feel that way. So that’s why I don’t want-
Matthew Hill: So they’ll consider it three years later.
Carol Ponton: Yeah. I don’t want to go back then and file a claim for unemployability and have to have my veteran wait all that time. So if I think the veteran can’t work, I file that claim right away. And veterans should do that too.
Matthew Hill: Yeah. Well thank you for tuning in to this space. And we look forward to seeing you again soon.