Is an Age Cap Coming to VA Disability Benefits?

Is an Age Cap Coming to VA Disability Benefits?

It was reported last week through several media outlets that the Veterans Administration (VA) is considering recommendations to impose an age cap on veterans receiving individual unemployability (IU) compensation. If adopted, the rule would eliminate eligibility for IU benefits for veterans over a certain age. Presently, there is no age cap or limit to how old a person can be and still receive IU benefits, allowing some VA disability recipients to receive IU benefits despite being 90 years old. Even if the proposed rule were adopted, it would not affect determinations already made but would only impact new VA disability recipients requesting benefits.

What are IU (Individual Unemployability) Benefits?

Normally, veterans who are disabled receive compensation in an amount that is related to the extent of their disability. In theory, for example, a veteran who is 60% disabled should receive fewer benefits than a veteran who is 100% disabled. In some cases, however, a partial disability can be so debilitating or impair a person’s ability to work to such an extent that the veteran cannot engage in any substantially gainful work. In such a case, the veteran is given an IU status and is paid benefits as if he or she was 100% disabled. This can be significant: a veteran at 70% disability and with a spouse and child is to receive $1,531 per month in benefits, but would receive $3,188 per month if he or she has the IU status.

What Would the Age Cap Accomplish?

The proposed age cap on IU status would not bar all veterans over a certain age from receiving the IU status but instead would allow the VA to consider the veteran’s age when determining if the veteran meets the requirements for IU status if the veteran is at or above the age cap.

It is believed by proponents of the age cap that considering a veteran’s age when determining whether he or she should be granted IU status based in an inability to engage in substantially gainful employment would decrease the amount of veterans granted IU status and thus lower the amount of money the government spends each year in paying out disability benefits to veterans.

Lessons to be Learned by All Veterans

All veterans who are currently receiving disability benefits and those who will apply for these benefits in the future should hear this news and be reminded of several truths about VA benefits:

  • If you are currently receiving VA disability benefits, most proposed changes, if enacted, would probably not affect the benefits you are currently receiving
  • New applicants should seek out competent legal counsel to learn all they can about current application requirements and how the process works as various aspects about the VA disability process can change with little notice or fanfare

The process of obtaining and maintaining appropriate veterans’ disability benefits can be a challenging task. At Klok Law Firm LLC, we are committed to helping those who were injured in the line of duty obtain the compensation they need and deserve. If you have questions about the benefits you are currently receiving or if you have been denied benefits, schedule a free consultation with us by calling (843) 216-8860 or by contacting us online.