Is Age a Factor in VA Claims?
Michael Lostritto: Welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00. I’m Mike Lostritto, and today, I’m answering the question, “Is age a factor in VA claims?”
So, the short answer is VA may not consider age as a factor when evaluating a veteran’s service-connected disability. Additionally, unemployability, at least in service-connected claims, associated with advancing age, may not be used as a basis for total disability ratings. Age is a factor only in evaluations of disability when not resulting from service. So, in other words, for the purposes of VA pension.
VA pension, otherwise known as veterans pension, is a tax-free monthly benefit for certain low-income wartime veterans. Even though it’s called a pension, the benefit has no relation to the number of years that the veterans served. Instead, it’s based on financial need, disability, and age. For VA Pension, if veterans meet the wartime active duty and income requirements, they can qualify based on age alone. However, if the veteran is over the age of 65, they do not necessarily have to have disability in order to be eligible.
So, with regard to VA claims involving Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, otherwise known as TDIU, VA is not allowed to consider age when determining a veteran’s disability. This is a major difference between the TDIU benefit and Social Security Disability Insurance or otherwise known as SSDI benefits.
SSDI is a federal insurance program that replaces the income that a worker loses because of a significant disability. For SSDI, the veteran or the person’s age is a very important factor in their claim. But again, for TDIU and other VA disability compensation benefits, it’s not a factor that should be used in evaluating their claim.
When does age matter in a VA disability case? Well, there are really two situations. For veterans who are 85 years or older, they will be eligible to have their claim expedited at a local Regional Office. For veterans who are 75 years or older, those veterans are eligible to have their claim, or appeal rather, advanced on the docket at the Board. And so, in those two situations, age can be used in the veteran’s benefit to advance their case and hopefully get a more expedited review of their appeal.
For more information on VA requirements for disability compensation, for pension, for TDIU, and all other benefits, please visit our blog or check out our many YouTube videos. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Thanks for watching.
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