First and foremost I am not a service officer. I am offering advice on personal experience and would recommend independent verification of any and all recommendations.
SSG Rock wrote:I'm rated at 50%. I have three conditions, rated respectively at 30%, 20% and 10% for a total of 60%, but my overall rating is only 50%.
I was thinking about applying for a re-eval, I'm sure I could get my rating raised, but I want to keep working. At what percentage level will the VA rating prevent you from holding a job? Can you be rated at over 70% and still be allowed to work?
The rating system is not linear so that is why your rating is not at 60%. The formula the VA uses to determine that acutal % also looks at how the disabilities interact with each other.
If you do decide to apply for a re-eval then I would strongly suggest you retain the services of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans). Please note that the DAV is my personal preference as I am a member and have had good experience with them but quality of service can vary from office to office. The DAV is a veterans service group run by veterans and they will assist you in filing the paperwork properly and then argue on your behalf. They are located in most VA hospitals and VA regional centers. They also have services in the community. It would probably be best if you looked them up on the internet. They offer there services for free but you can become a life member for $150 (atleast that is what it was when I joined) and that helps pay the salaries for the DAV representatives. There are a number of other fine service organizations such as the American Legion etc etc. Each will be happy to assist you with your claim and to explain the process to you.
As for work. If you apply for and recieve individual unemployability then you telling the VA your service connected disability is too severe for you to work.. We used to have a pastor that was rated at 100% disability but he still worked as a pastor. So each case is based on the individual and their situation. The VA cannot tell you that you can't work. That is up to you and, if applying for individual unemployability, the individual unemployability needs to be recommended by your physician. I would caution you to look at work options that do not exasperate your conditions. For instance if you have injured you knees while in service you may not want to be hiking guide in Rocky Mountain National Park as it may aggravate your knees.
There is an important side note. If a person is recieving SSDI then they will be limited in their earned income. More information can be found out at http://ssa.gov/
I do not believe that VA compensation is considered earned income but it would be best to verify that for yourself.