TDIU and work


Hi Jim, I have been Rated by the VA at 100% Disabled unemployable since 2004. I am now living in Korea with my wife. I am 65 years old and my question to you is that I was told if I work and my yearly income is below $12,000.00 it would be OK for me to work. Could you please confirm that for me. Thank You so much for your time.

Jim's Reply:

The TDIU benefit is the "unemployability" benefit that protects veterans who are unable to seek and hold gainful employment because of their service connected disabling conditions. Gainful employment is generally defined as that work income that would exceed the federal poverty wage level in your region.

VA is starting a program to match SSA reporting of taxable income so the VA will know if you're earning more that the wage limits imposed by the TDIU benefit. If not, you're fine and shouldn't have any issues with VA. If your income goes over the limit you can expect to eventually hear from VA asking why? 

Your situation becomes a bit more complex with your ex-pat status and life in Korea. I'm not at all sure how earning a wage on the Korean economy would impact your American taxes, if at all. If you plan to work I'd suggest that you talk with an attorney who is aware of how international employment and income may affect your American income taxes.