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January 4, 2024

VA Unemployability Over 65: Top 9 Questions Answered

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Understandably, disabled veterans question VA unemployability over 65, especially if they can’t maintain substantially gainful employment.

If you have a service-connected disability from your active duty service, you’re entitled to specific VA disability benefits, but is there a time limit to benefits like individual unemployability?

This post will cover the top 9 questions about VA unemployability over 65, ensuring you understand your rights to access your IU benefits.

Let’s get to it! 



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Can I Get VA Unemployability Over 65?

Yes, if eligible, you can receive VA unemployability over 65 years of age. 

Generally, individual unemployability (IU) benefits are given to veterans who can’t secure and maintain gainful employment due to service-connected disabilities.

Related: VA Individual Unemployability Fact Sheet 

Does VA Unemployability End When You Retire?

No, your retirement doesn’t affect your access to IU benefits.

A common misconception about VA unemployability is that your retirement age matters and your individual unemployability benefits have an expiration date.

Instead, the VA examines whether your age and disability prevent you from working at any job.

For example, the VA will examine age-related challenges, including physical and cognitive limitations, making it challenging to perform job duties and maintain employment.

Lastly, if you have a new disability caused by an in-service event or injury, you can apply for disability benefits regardless of age.


Does TDIU End at 67?

No, TDIU doesn’t end at 67 years of age. 

If you’re a disabled veteran receiving TDIU benefits, it’s because you can’t maintain substantially gainful employment and depend on your disability compensation, and it has nothing to do with your age.

However, to continue TDIU benefits, the VA must deem you unable to work. 

Related: The Difference Between TDIU and 100 Percent VA Disability

At What Age Does VA Unemployability Stop?

Many veterans worry they will lose these benefits once they hit 65, but there is no age limit on IU benefits.

While VA disability benefits can be stopped, lowered, or increased, VA Unemployability would only stop due to findings of fraud or changes to the severity of your symptoms and how they impact your work, life, and social functioning.

How Long Does VA Unemployability Last?

Generally, VA individual unemployability lasts indefinitely unless the VA determines you can maintain substantially gainful employment.

In other words, you can keep a job that pays about the poverty threshold and is competitive. The Census Bureau tracks the poverty threshold by family size and number of children. (For example, in 2022, the poverty threshold for a single household with the member being 65 or older was $14,036).

Notably, odd jobs (marginal employment) don’t count as a substantially gainful occupation.

You must be able to keep a steady job without your medical conditions interfering with your performance.

How Does the VA Determine Whether You’re Unemployable?

The VA examines whether your disability prevents you from maintaining substantially gainful employment when determining whether you’re unemployable.

For example, if you have multiple service-connected disabilities that make it impossible to work, the VA may approve you for total employability.

In addition, you likely will need to provide past employment information, medical records, and statements from your healthcare professional with your IU claim.

Eligibility requirements for IU benefits:

  • You have at least a single service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or two or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—and
  • You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment) don’t count.

Does Early Retirement Affect VA Unemployability?

No, early retirement doesn’t affect your VA unemployability. Instead, the VA would look at other factors to determine whether you still qualify for individual unemployability benefits.

Per CFR Title 38, Part 4 Subpart A § 4.19, “age in service-connected VA disability compensation,”

  • Age may not be considered as a factor in evaluating service-connected disability.
  • Unemployability, in service-connected claims, associated with advancing age or intercurrent disability may not be used as a basis for a total disability rating.

Age is a factor only in evaluations of disability not resulting from service (i.e., for the purposes of pension).

Do I Need to Prove My Job History for VA Unemployability Over 65?

No, you don’t have to prove you quit your job or your work history because of your VA disability.

Occupational history is a non-economic factor that must be considered in a TDIU determination.  However, it is not determinative of the outcome of a claim for TDIU unless you are currently gainfully employed.

In addition to completing a standard VA disability claim, you must also submit the following two forms:

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits and VA Unemployability at the Same Time?

Yes, it is possible to receive Social Security disability and VA benefits simultaneously, depending on the amount you receive from the VA and if you’re approved for SSI or SSDI. 

In addition, each program has its own eligibility criteria, and approval for one doesn’t guarantee approval for the other.



Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we guide you and take control of the claims process so you may get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us!

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you in building a fully developed claim (FDC)—so you may increase your rating FAST! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!

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