UNITED STATES—Unemployability benefits are available to veterans deemed unemployable, even if their service-related injuries are not rated at 100 percent under VA rules. These benefits allow veterans to claim the maximum amount of funds allowable based on their inability to find and keep a job.

Here are several things disabled veterans need to know if they want to take advantage of these benefits.

You Don’t Need 100% Service-Connected Disability Rating to Apply

If you suffered multiple injuries, your combined rating might still be less than 100 percent. You can still apply for and receive unemployability benefits if you meet certain criteria.

  • You must be unable to work due to your service-related disabilities.
  • You have a single service-related disability rated 60% or more.


  • You have multiple service-related disabilities, with one rated at least 40 percent and all disabilities adding up to 70 percent or more.

If you have one or more service-related disabilities, the VA agent will evaluate each one separately and assign it a rating. The VA’s Combined Ratings table is a good guide that will help you to determine the most likely rating for your health condition.

Some veterans don’t meet the criteria for total unemployability based on their ratings alone. If you do not meet the minimum standards for approval of benefits, you may still qualify.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might consider special circumstances like frequent hospitalizations that make it difficult for you to work or the need for extraordinary workplace accommodations, for example.

What is Considered Employment?

Some veterans wonder if working full-time jobs or doing part-time work means they don’t qualify for individual unemployability. The VA considers “substantial gainful employment” consistent work that keeps you above the federal poverty level.

Many veterans find that their service-related disabilities make it difficult to maintain ongoing work at this level. If you have been working and earning less than the federal poverty level, you may be eligible to receive individual unemployability benefits.

Applying for Individual Unemployability Benefits

Veterans who are applying for benefits will have to explain why the service-related disability prevents them from securing substantial gainful employment. This is usually backed up with statements from physicians who have worked closely with the veteran.

These statements typically describe the disability and how it prevents gainful work. Some doctors may document the veteran’s inability to walk unassisted, chronic shortness of breath, or fainting spells. The key to creating a narrative that will satisfy the VA’s requirements is to gather information from all the experts who treat the veteran.

There are several ways to apply for IU benefits. First, you can apply online on the VA’s convenient eBenefits portal.

You can also call the Veteran’s Administration office and open a new case by phone. As an alternative, you can file for the benefits in person at any regional VA service facility.


Unlocking IU benefits as a disabled veteran can be challenging. There are many steps involved, and it can be easy to miss a step and get your claim denied. It helps to have someone working for you who understands the VA’s requirements and can get your application approved on the first try.

We have been working with veterans for decades, and we understand how the VA determines who is eligible for benefits. We stay on top of news and changes within the VA, and we can assist you with filling out the correct forms and creating the perfect application.

So, if you have been denied or have concerns about applying, an individual unemployability benefits attorney is ready to assist you with getting the monetary aid that you deserve. Call us for a free case consultation today!

Crystal A. Davis was born into a family of attorneys and was raised with a strong sense of justice. During her high school years, she developed a passion for journalism and decided to combine this with her knowledge of the law. She realized that she can make her voice heard to the masses through legal journalism. Crystal is honored to follow and report on any legal case. She shares her analysis in reader-friendly articles. However, over the years, she has become a strong advocate for VA rights and made it her mission to help veterans seek justice.