Extra-Schedular TDIU

The VA pays out extra-schedular TDIU benefits to qualifying disabled veterans who cannot work due to their service-connected condition or conditions. If you want to apply for these benefits, you may not know where to start or if you even qualify.

VetLaw is a veteran-owned law firm, and all of our attorneys are accredited by VA. We know what it’s like to serve our country. And, we know firsthand how challenging it can be to return to civilian life. Our lawyers are ready to help you apply for any VA disability benefits you may qualify for, including extra-schedular TDIU. Please contact our office today to learn more.

What Is Extra-Schedular TDIU?

TDIU stands for a “Total Disability rating based on Individual Unemployability.” Extra-schedular TDIU benefits may be available to veterans who do not meet the standard criteria for schedular TDIU, and the award of TDIU may be permanent and total in certain circumstances.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, extra-schedular ratings may be available to veterans whose “disability is so exceptional or unusual” that it interferes with the ability to hold a steady job or requires frequent hospital stays.

Extra-Schedular TDIU Eligibility Requirements

There are several eligibility requirements that you must meet to qualify for extra-schedular TDIU.

1. You Must Have a Service-Connected Condition or Conditions

A service-connected condition is:

  • An illness or injury that was caused by your military service; or
  • A pre-existing illness or injury that was exacerbated during your military service; or
  • An illness or injury that is secondary to (caused by) another condition which is already service-connected

A service-connected condition can impact your mind and/or body, so both mental health and physical conditions apply.

2. Your Service-Connected Condition or Conditions Makes Substantially Gainful Employment Impossible

The VA defines “substantially gainful employment” as earning enough money to adequately provide for yourself with a steady job that keeps your annual income above the federal poverty level. You may be able to work seasonal or odd jobs and still qualify for extra-schedular TDIU.

3. You Do Not Meet the Standard Eligibility Requirements for Schedular TDIU

To meet the VA’s standard eligibility requirements for TDIU, you must have:

  • One service-connected disability that is rated 60% or higher; or
  • Two or more service-connected disabilities, with
    – One disability rated at least 40%, and
    – A combined disability rating of 70% or more; or

If you do not meet these schedular TDIU eligibility requirements, you may qualify for extra-schedular TDIU benefits that still allow you to earn the equivalent of 100% VA disability compensation.

Extra-Schedular TDIU Denials: What Happens Next?

At VetLaw, we know just how frustrating it is to receive a disability claim denial. The good news, you have the right to file a disability claim appeal. We can help you with your TDIU appeal, even if we didn’t submit your original benefits claim application.

No VA disability lawyer can guarantee that your extra-schedular TDIU benefits will be approved, but we do know what a strong application looks like, and we know how important supportive documentation is for an extra-schedular rating.

Extra-Schedular TDIU Applications: 3 Ways a VA Disability Lawyer Can Help

At VetLaw, we do more than fill out paperwork. When we meet with veterans to discuss appeals for extra-schedular TDIU benefits, we offer the following services:

  1. We’ll let you know about any other VA benefits you may qualify for. The laws are always changing. You may now be eligible for certain benefits, even if you weren’t in the past.
  2. Our lawyers will help you gather documentation that supports your inability to work at a steady job. That often includes a “buddy statement” from those closest to you. The formal name for a buddy letter is Statement in Support of Claim. This form can be filled out by not just fellow servicemembers, but friends, your spouse, religious clergy, and former employers.
  3. Extra-schedular TDIU benefits are typically granted at the discretion of the Director of Compensation Service or their delegate. We’ll make sure your TDIU appeal demonstrates that, despite not meeting the standard TDIU criteria, your service-connected condition still prevents you from maintaining gainful employment. It’s also important to keep in mind that even if the Director denies the application, a judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals can overturn that finding.

At VetLaw, we are veterans helping other veterans. If your claim is denied, our VA-accredited attorneys are here to help you with the appeal process.

We’re ready to help you pursue extra-schedular TDIU benefits, so contact us today for a free case review.






Matthew  White


Appellate Attorney Matthew White represents veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Brendan Garcia


Owner and Lead Attorney Brendan Garcia represents veterans in all 50 states with their VA Disability Appeals, in all stages of the VA Appeals process.


VetLaw’s experienced veterans’ disability lawyers are accredited by VA and can help analyze the reasons for your initial or any subsequent denial, assist you in gathering any additional evidence that can help prove your case, and guide you to pursue the appeal path that aligns with your unique circumstances. Perhaps most importantly, we can appear with you before the

Veterans’ Law Judge who will hold your hearing and decide your case. Since the time to file a request for an appeal is limited, call us today to schedule a free case review.

No, because a presumptive condition may not prevent you from substantial gainful employment. If you have a presumptive condition that is preventing you from being able to work, you will still need to apply for TDIU. Extra-schedular TDIU benefits may be granted for a presumptive condition which does not otherwise meet the schedular criteria for TDIU.

Yes, it is possible to be eligible for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and extra-schedular TDIU. However, receiving one of these benefits does not guarantee that you are eligible for the other.

The VA manages extra-schedular TDIU, while the Social Security Administration manages SSDI. If you do qualify for extra-schedular TDIU, you won’t automatically receive SSDI and vice versa. You have to submit a separate application for each benefit.

The form for TDIU benefits, whether schedular or extra-schedular, is VA Form 21-8940. You can submit the required information online in your eBenefits portal or over the phone. Alternatively, you can bring your completed form in person to your local VA benefits office, mail it, or fax it.

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Please fill out the form below, or give us a call, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. The more detail you can provide, the better we can determine if we can help you. (And even if we can’t take your case, we will do our best to offer other options, and point you in the best direction we can!)

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