When I talk with Veterans who are applying for compensation benefits, they often want to know if working while applying for VA benefits will hurt their chances of being approved.
For most Veterans the answer is usually pretty simple – if you are not receiving a non-service connected pension, Social Security benefits and you are not currently applying for them, then there is no reason that you cannot attempt to work while you have a claim pending with the VA. This is because the VA awards benefits based on a percentage ratings system. Many Veterans receive payment for a disability that arose from their service but is not severe enough to prevent them from working. UnlikeSocial Security disability benefits, which are only available to people who cannot work due to their health, Veterans benefits have no requirement that you be unable to work, with only a few exceptions.
Veterans who are eligible may apply for a non-service connected pension. The claim is based on the Veteran’s inability to work due to a health condition that is not related to their service. If the Veteran is able to work, then they will not qualify for this type of VA benefit.
If a Veteran has filed a claim for TDIU it means that they are claiming that one of their service-connected medical conditions or a combination of several of those impairments prevents them from working. Working during that claim may show the VA that while your medical conditions are severe, you are not prevented from working. This may mean that you are not entitled to TDIU, but it does not mean that you are disqualified from receiving benefits from the VA. Sometimes Veterans will attempt to work and find that they are not really healthy enough to handle full-time, regular employment.