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Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects every person differently. While some veterans are able to manage their condition with proper treatment, others struggle to perform day-to-day activities due to their symptoms. If you are a veteran who is unable to work due to PTSD, you may be wondering how you will support yourself and your loved ones moving forward. While TDIU benefits are available, the process of applying for and obtaining TDIU for PTSD is often time-consuming and difficult.

The attorneys at VetLaw are dedicated to helping injured veterans. We will give your case the individual attention it deserves, and advocate for your rights at every step of the process. As a veteran-owned law firm, we understand the strategies that work and the tactics the VA uses to deny claims. We offer a no-risk, no-obligation free case review to all prospective clients so you can determine if we are the right fit for you.

What Are the Chances of Getting TDIU for PTSD?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a condition that develops after a person experiences or witnesses a terrifying or shocking event. According to the VA, 7% of veterans struggle with PTSD, with those who have deployed more likely to develop PTSD than those who have not. In fact, the VA estimates that PTSD rates may be as high as 15% to 30% for veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If you struggle with PTSD, there are a range of treatment options available that will allow you to live a happy and gratifying life. Accessing these treatments can be difficult, leading many veterans to pursue TDIU for PTSD to help manage their day-to-day symptoms. These benefits are designed to help veterans who struggle to find and keep a job due to their symptoms. If you qualify for TDIU, the VA will provide financial support to offset your costs while you recover.

PTSD symptoms vary from person to person, and it is not uncommon for symptoms to manifest years after the traumatic event. To get TDIU benefits for your condition, you must prove that your PTSD diagnosis is connected to your service. The VA will evaluate this connection alongside the severity, duration, and frequency of your symptoms to determine if you are eligible for TDIU benefits.

What Is the Process of Applying for TDIU for PTSD?

The process of applying for TDIU begins with filing the VA Form 21-8940, the application for increased compensation based on unemployability. On this form, you will be required to provide identification information, details of your medical treatment, and a list of all prior employment over the past five years. You can submit this application online, via fax or mail, or in-person with the help of your attorney.

What Are the Common Mistakes Veterans Make with TDIU Claims?

After spending years navigating the TDIU claims process, we understand the common pitfalls that veterans often experience along the way. Some of the most common mistakes veterans make when applying for TDIU benefits include:

  • Incorrect or incomplete forms. While the Form 21-8940 is not technically required for TDIU claims, the VA generally does not award TDIU benefits without this form. This specific form includes key details about your employment history, background, and skills, providing the VA with context needed to determine your unemployability. Many times, if this form is not initially included with your claim, the VA will request that you submit it, further delaying your claim.
  • Insufficient evidence. The VA process can be puzzling, leaving many veterans unsure of which type of evidence to include in their claim. While medical evidence plays a key role in your claim, there are a range of other documents you can (and should) include to strengthen your claim. Lay evidence from you, your loved ones, or employer can all be helpful. Likewise, including vocational expert testimonies, Social Security determinations, and private medical records may all greatly benefit your claim.
  • Lack of understanding of TDIU requirements. The VA looks at specific criteria to determine your unemployability. We often receive questions about the concept of “substantially gainful employment,” which is the foundation of TDIU claims. To secure TDIU for PTSD, you must prove that you cannot sustain substantially gainful employment as a consequence of your condition. If you earn below the poverty threshold for one person, you likely still qualify for TDIU. Working in a protected environment, like a family friend’s business, is another example of how a veteran can work and remain eligible for TDIU benefits.

What Does Your Rating Have to Be to Get TDIU for PTSD?

To qualify for TDIU for PTSD, you must meet the disability rating requirement. To receive TDIU, you must have a rating of 60% or more if PTSD is your only service-connected condition. However, since there is no 60% rating for PTSD, for all practical purposes this means you must receive a 70% rating for PTSD to qualify if you have no other service-connected disabilities. If you have two or more service-connected conditions, the combined rating must total at least 70% combined with one disability having a rating of at least 40%. So for example, if you have a 50% rating for PTSD and some additional conditions that interfere with your ability to maintain substantially gainful employment, this can be enough to qualify for TDIU. If you do not meet the minimum schedular rating requirements for TDIU, you may still qualify for Individual Unemployability on an extra-schedular basis.

What Is Extra-Schedular TDIU?

Extra-schedular TDIU is a disability rating granted when the traditional rating schedule does not accurately reflect the severity of the veteran’s condition. To qualify for extra-schedular TDIU, you must have a condition that leaves you unable to work but does not meet the normal disability rating thresholds. The extra-schedular TDIU ratings are set forth in 38 CRF 4.16(b), which specifies that a veteran can apply for extra-schedular TDIU to receive 100% total disability compensation each month.

What Should You Do If Your TDIU Claim for PTSD Is Denied?

Receiving a denial may feel disheartening, but it is not the end of the road. If your TDIU claim for PTSD was denied, it is important to understand that you have options to continue your case. A VA-accredited lawyer at VetLaw will review your case and file an appeal to secure the TDIU benefits you deserve. The VA offers several avenues for appealing a denied claim, but it is important to proceed strategically.

Your attorney will understand how to strengthen your case as much as possible before moving forward with the appeals process. Securing TDIU for PTSD is undeniably difficult, and these cases often boil down to the type of evidence you provide to support your claim. We regularly employ vocational experts to provide an opinion, work with you and your family members to write lay statements, and assist you with obtaining any additional medical nexus letters that may assist with bolstering our clients’ cases and successfully appealing a denied TDIU claim.

How Can VetLaw Help with a Denied TDIU Claim for PTSD?

When you contact VetLaw, you can expect the support of a dedicated team of experienced attorneys who will advocate for you through every step of the legal process. We begin every case with an honest and direct conversation about your situation to determine the right case strategy and implementation, then fight to get the rating and compensation you are entitled to.

You have already given your time, dedication, and health to our country. Now, let us invest our time and dedication into your case. At VetLaw, our team of experienced attorneys will leverage their in-depth knowledge and experience to secure the highest amount of compensation possible for your claim. To discuss your TDIU for PTSD claim with our team, consider scheduling your free case review today.