Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability is a unique disability benefit that allows the VA to pay qualifying veterans at the 100 percent rate, even when their total disability rating is less than 100 percent. Individual Unemployability benefits are available to veterans with an “other-than-dishonorable discharge” who are unable to obtain or maintain substantially gainful employment due to one or more service-connected disabilities.
Generally, veterans who are unable to work due to service-connected disabilities will be eligible for Individual Unemployability on a scheduler basis if they have either of the following:
· One service-connected disability that is rated at 60 percent; OR
· Multiple service-connected disabilities, with one condition rated at least 40 percent, and a total combined rating of 70 percent or more.
To prove Individual Unemployability, a veteran must present evidence that at least one service-connected disability meets the scheduler (rating) criteria, and prove that the service-connected disabilities alone are preventing the veteran from obtaining or maintaining substantial gainful employment.
In some cases, veterans who do not meet this rating criteria may still qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits on what is called an extrascheduler basis. To receive Individual Unemployability benefits on an extrascheduler basis, a veteran must show that applying the normal requirements is unreasonable due to unusual circumstances, such as a marked interference with employment, frequent hospitalizations, or functional limitations stemming from their conditions that are not adequately represented by the VA disability rating schedule.