|Matthew Hill:||Hello, this is Matthew Hill for the Hill and Ponton VA video blog. I’m here with Carol Ponton and we’re doing a series on what we consider the big mistakes that veterans make that we see again and again that can end up hurting your claim. Today, we want to talk to you about unemployability. There’s always a question as far as when to file unemployability. Just real quick, unemployability is essentially a way to get 100% rating when your combined ratings don’t go up to 100%, but essentially when the VA knows that you can’t work because of your VA disabilities, then they give you unemployability and pay you 100%.|
|Carol Ponton:||You only need to have, you’re not working because of your service connected problem. You get exactly the same benefits as you would for the 100% if the VA, your ratings all added to 100%. It’s a really important benefit, but what we find is people don’t file that. They will file, say a veteran is trying to get a higher rating for PTSD and they can’t work because of the PTSD. As soon as they start filing for PTSD and they’re not working, they should file for unemployability. The unemployability, you file a form. It’s an 8940. You file that. It shows where you last worked and you’re not working now, and you’re not working because of what are the problems. Is it your back? Is it the PTSD?|
|Now, if you haven’t gotten service connected, say for the PTSD, then they’re going to deny you the unemployability, but when you win your case for PTSD, then that unemployability claim is before them and they have to make a decision. What we find is people wait until they’re service connected. Then they file unemployability and the VA, if they give them benefits, they start it when they file that claim.|
|Matthew Hill:||Right, they do a couple of things. One, they started all over again, but two, they put that claim almost in the back of the line. What Carol’s saying is that if your back’s not service connected right now but you’re filing for it, and that’s what’s keeping you out of work and you file the unemployability, you’ll probably have people say, “Well, what are you doing? You’re not even service connected yet.” Essentially what you’re doing is keeping those two issues together.|
|Unemployability, according to the Veterans Court, is part in parcel of a claim. It would be part of the back claim implicitly in that it’s just part of the rating, so you were to get service connected and then that’s part of the rating, but what they do is that if you haven’t filed it as its own claim, then even when you get service connected, you file it, they’re going to treat it as a new claim, separate claim, so you wait, but then on top of that they give you the wrong effective date. They say, “Oh, you handed this on January 1, 2017.” Well, you filed the back claim on January 1, 2015. It should go back then. It seems almost counter-intuitive that you would file those two together, but in the long run if you’re saying that this disability, which you will be at service connected, makes it to where you can’t work. You need to file both.|
|Carol Ponton:||You need to. So many times, a veteran will come to me and we’ll get them 70% for PTSD. That 70% automatically should trigger with the VA if the veteran isn’t working right to unemployability, but that’s not how they do it. Every veteran that comes to me and they’re not working, I file a claim for unemployability because it’s really sad to wait years to get 70% for PTSD and then they say, “Okay, now you can file the 8940 and we’ll get to that in a couple of years.” If you have the 8940, then they will handle both things at the same time and the veteran doesn’t have to wait all that time.|
|Matthew Hill:||Right, and you get your benefits and move on with your life. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Again, this was part of our Big Mistakes series. It’s making sure you file you unemployability form when you file your form. Whenever you file any claim, whether it’s for service connection or for increased rating when you believe that claim’s keeping you from working. Thanks.
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