A total disability based on individual unemployment rating, or TDIU, allows a veteran to receive maximum compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) without having a 100 percent combined disability rating. TDIU disability benefits are awarded to veterans who are unable to work as a result of their service-connected impairments and who have not already received a combined 100 percent disability rating for service-related conditions.
If a former service member can prove that their disabilities prevent them from working, so long as all of those disabilities are directly connected to their active duty service, or service-connected, they may be eligible to receive TDIU. In other words, they must establish that they are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment before VA will award entitlement to TDIU.
The stresses of serving in an active-duty military role can create health problems for many veterans. A combination of physical and mental conditions could leave you with reduced mobility, emotional concerns, or a general inability to care for your own needs.
When these conditions become so severe as that they prevent you from working, they may qualify you for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability, which provides monthly payments to veterans as if they were 100 percent disabled under traditional VA disability compensation benefit plans. In this program, the VA examines a veteran’s medical conditions and gathers evidence showing how those medical conditions prevent them from working a full-time job. VA calls this ability to work in a full-time job the ability to maintain substantially gainful employment. It is important to note that VA uses the term “maintain” – if you are easily finding, but then being terminated from employment, you may qualify for this benefit.
After reviewing medical evidence, the VA will evaluate your medical condition and assign a disability rating. It is critical to ensure that the VA has your most recent medical documentation to receive an accurate assessment. Putting your best case forward from the beginning can result in a better outcome.
Although many veterans believe they must meet the schedular TDIU criterion before applying for TDIU, any former servicemember with at least one service-connected condition can apply. In most cases, the higher combined rating a veteran has for service-connected conditions, the better the chance they have that VA will consider their application favorably; however, there is no minimum rating to request that VA review their service-connected disabilities and make a determination if they are able to maintain substantially gainful employment.
A veteran who qualifies for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability can receive benefits regardless of their assigned disability rating. Normally, to gain these benefits, you must meet two qualifying criteria, the first of which is to have a singular disabling condition that results in a rating of at least 60 percent. Alternatively, you may have two or more conditions with one of them meriting a rating of at least 40 percent and a total rating of 70 percent. However, even if you do not meet these first qualifying criteria you may qualify for TDIU on an extraschedular basis. Contact VetLaw for more information on how to apply for TDIU if you do not meet the baseline criteria.
A VA Disability Lawyer can help with all of your TDIU questions. Schedule a Free Case Review today.