Apply For TDIU
How Do You Apply For TDIU Benefits?
Frequently, the key to obtaining Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability benefits is
successfully filling out VA Form 21-8940. It is an application for Individual Unemployability
disability benefits for a service-connected condition that prevents you from keeping a steady job.
This form has some glaring omissions, as outlined below. Yet, in many cases, Form 21-8940 is
sufficient to obtain benefits at the initial review level or appeal level.
Since the lion’s share of this form is devoted to employment history, many Veterans assume that
Form 21-8940 is mainly statistical. But that is not the case. Putting the correct information on
this form and presenting it properly is the key to obtaining TDIU benefits. Our VA disability
attorneys are glad to help Veterans prepare this paperwork, even if we are not otherwise involved
in the case. Our goal is to help you maximize the benefits you deserve as quickly as possible.
Completing the Form
VA Form 21-8940 begins with a relatively straightforward section, Veteran’s Identification
Information. The only caveat is Box #6, the email agreement.
Box #6 includes an option stating, ‘I agree to receive electronic correspondence from VA in
regards to my claim.’ Only select this option if you are more comfortable with electronic
communication than paper communication, as doing so will change all future communication to
electronic form. Also, double and triple-check your email address to ensure it is correct.
Next is Section II: Disability and Medical Treatment. The space provided in this section is not
reflective of the information it requires, as most Veterans applying for TDIU benefits have at
least two or three disabling conditions. When filling out the boxes in Section II, keep your
handwriting small yet legible. Typing the form may be an easier feat as you can shrink the font
Filling In Section III
Section III, Employment Statement, can be counterintuitive. Sometimes it can be a bad thing to
list too many jobs on an application or resume. However, in this context, Veterans should list as
many jobs as possible.
Section III begins with Box #14, Date Your Disability Affected Full-Time Employment. Your
answer should be subjective, meaning it should be the date you believe your disability affected
your ability to work. On the other hand, Box #16, Date You Became Too Disabled to Work,
requires an objective answer. Usually, the answer is when a doctor advised you not to work or
work less due to your disability.
It is unlikely that the VA will verify the information provided in the employment history section.
Still, it is good practice to include a complete mailing address, as someone may eventually verify
The next page is a puzzler. Veterans must list their attempts to find work since the outset of their
disabilities. It is usually best to have one or two entries in this section. Generally, Claims
Examiners do not want Veterans to pound the pavement even though they have little chance of
getting hired, but they want to see that you made an effort.
Section IV, Schooling and Other Training, is relatively straightforward. If you wish to include
additional information in Section V, Remarks, be sure to reference the corresponding question
Many Claims Examiners take a rather unrealistic view of TDIU cases. They are under the
impression that if a Veteran is theoretically able to obtain substantially gainful employment in an
unsheltered environment, the applicant is ineligible for these benefits.
Briefly, ‘substantially gainful employment’ is generally a job that pays enough to keep the
Veteran and any dependents out of poverty. A ‘sheltered environment’ is generally one where a
family or Veteran-owned employer provides accommodations for the Veteran, which would be
As it may be difficult to prove the aforementioned factors, we often seek the assistance of
vocational experts and professionals. These experts provide reports detailing the Veteran’s actual
likelihood of obtaining substantially gainful employment in an unsheltered environment.
Frequently, the economic factors involved can change the theoretical outlooks of Claims
Rely on Diligent Attorneys
TDIU benefits could be a piece of paper away. For a free consultation with an experienced
Veterans disability attorney, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262 or fill out the
contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. Therefore, it does not create an attorney-client