When a veteran’s disability is rated less than a total 100% evaluation, but he or she is unable to obtain or maintain substantial gainful employment, VA regulations allow the veteran to apply for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (IU). Eligibility for IU is based on the severity of the individual veteran’s unique disability picture and its impact on the veteran’s ability to obtain and maintain substantial gainful employment. Generally, the veteran must have a single disability rated at 60% or a combined evaluation of 70% to be eligible for IU. In recent years, proposals for reducing or limiting IU has been the focus of many Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office reports—as a deficit reducing measure. In December 2018, it was suggested to terminate and cutoff IU benefits at the age of 65 and in December 2020, it was recommended to restrict IU once a veteran reaches the age of 67. H.R. 4732, the Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act, would provide additional protections for IU and prohibit the VA from considering the age of the veteran or their eligibility to any retirement benefits, including Social Security, in making such determinations. This bill would protect IU benefits from any ill-conceived cost-saving measures in the future.
More information on the bill may be found at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/hr4732/text/ih