38 CFR § 3.342 - Permanent and total disability ratings for pension purposes.

§ 3.342 Permanent and total disability ratings for pension purposes.

(a) General. Permanent total disability ratings for pension purposes are authorized for disabling conditions not the result of the veteran's own willful misconduct whether or not they are service connected.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1502(a))

(b) Criteria. In addition to the criteria for determining total disability and permanency of total disability contained in § 3.340, the following special considerations apply in pension cases:

(1) Permanent total disability pension ratings will be authorized for congenital, developmental, hereditary or familial conditions, provided the other requirements for entitlement are met.

(2) The permanence of total disability will be established as of the earliest date consistent with the evidence in the case. Active pulmonary tuberculosis not otherwise established as permanently and totally disabling will be presumed so after 6 months' hospitalization without improvement. The same principle may be applied with other types of disabilities requiring hospitalization for indefinite periods. The need for hospitalization for periods shorter or longer than 6 months may be a proper basis for determining permanence. Where, in application of this principle, it is necessary to employ a waiting period to determine permanence of totality of disability and a report received at the end of such period shows the veteran's condition is unimproved, permanence may be established as of the date of entrance into the hospital. Similarly, when active pulmonary tuberculosis is improved after 6 months' hospitalization but still diagnosed as active after 12 months' hospitalization permanence will also be established as of the date of entrance into the hospital. In other cases the rating will be effective the date the evidence establishes permanence.

(3) Special consideration must be given the question of permanence in the case of veterans under 40 years of age. For such veterans, permanence of total disability requires a finding that the end result of treatment and adjustment to residual handicaps (rehabilitation) will be permanent disability of the required degree precluding more than marginal employment. Severe diseases and injuries, including multiple fractures or the amputation of a single extremity, should not be taken to establish permanent and total disability until it is shown that the veteran after treatment and convalescence, has been unable to secure or follow employment because of the disability and through no fault of the veteran.

(4) The following shall not be considered as evidence of employability:

(i) Employment as a member-employer or similar employment obtained only in competition with disabled persons.

(ii) Participation in, or the receipt of a distribution of funds as a result of participation in, a therapeutic or rehabilitation activity under 38 U.S.C. 1718.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1718(f))

(5) The authority granted the Secretary under 38 U.S.C. 1502(a)(2) to classify as permanent and total those diseases and disorders, the nature and extent of which, in the Secretary judgment, will justify such determination, will be exercised under § 3.321(b).

(c) Temporary program of vocational rehabilitation training for certain pension recipients.

(1) When a veteran under age 45 is awarded disability pension during the period beginning on February 1, 1985, and ending on December 31, 1995, the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division will be notified so that an evaluation may be made, as provided in § 21.6050, to determine that veteran's potential for rehabilitation.

(2) If a veteran secures employment within the scope of a vocational goal identified in his or her individualized written vocational rehabilitation plan, or in a related field which requires reasonably developed skills and the use of some or all of the training or services furnished the veteran under such plan, not later than one year after eligibility to counseling under § 21.6040(b)(1) of this chapter expires, the veteran's permanent and total evaluation for pension purposes shall not be terminated by reason of the veteran's capacity to engage in such employment until the veteran has maintained that employment for a period of not less than 12 consecutive months.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1524(c))
[26 FR 1586, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 26 FR 9674, Oct. 13, 1961; 29 FR 3624, Mar. 21, 1964; 39 FR 14944, Apr. 18, 1974; 46 FR 47541, Sept. 29, 1981; 50 FR 52775, Dec. 26, 1985; 53 FR 23235, June 21, 1988; 55 FR 17271, Apr. 24, 1990; 56 FR 25044, June 3, 1991; 56 FR 65851, Dec. 19, 1991; 58 FR 32445, June 10, 1993; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]