FAQ about TDIU



We hope to clear up any misinformation with the FAQ about TDIU. For the most part, the VA disability system is rather objective. Claims Examiners usually look at the Veteran’s diagnosis and symptoms in order to determine the disability rating. Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU or IU) is different.

These determinations are quite subjective, and Claims Examiners largely determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis, assessing whether or not the Veteran’s service-connected disability prevent them from pursuing and obtaining substantially gainful employment. So, we get a lot of questions about TDIU benefits.

Even if the Veteran is not completely disabled, TDIU status means full financial benefits.
Additionally, these Veterans are eligible for free and expansive VA medical care. In many cases,
the medical benefits are more valuable than the financial benefits. Only a dedicated VA
disability attorney can review your case, determine your eligibility level, and fight for you.

Are These Benefits Permanent?

Generally, most VA disability awards can be temporary or permanent, depending on the facts of
the case. TDIU claims are no different.

Permanent TDIU status is usually reserved for Veterans who have no hope of any improvement
in degree of impairment from their service-connected disabilities. Since these Veterans are only
partially disabled, from a ratings standpoint, permanent awards are rather rare. However, if the
Permanent and Total (P&T) box is checked by the VA on the ratings award form and/or a note
indicates that they scheduled no further examinations, the TDIU benefits are normally permanent.

Alternatively, TDIU benefits are permanent if the Veteran is at least 70 and has received TDIU
benefits for at least 20 years. These factors could also mean that temporary TDIU awards
become permanent.

The VA can terminate or reduce benefits if, after a review, a Claims Examiner believes the
Veteran is able to obtain substantial gainful employment. More on this below.

What is the Connection Between Social Security Claims and TDIU Claims?

Contrary to popular belief, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) does not automatically
qualify Veterans for TDIU status, or vice versa. The comparison is apples to oranges.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) only awards disability benefits if the claimant is
completely disabled. The VA, on the other hand, awards benefits to most applicants according to the aforementioned disability rating system. Additionally, the SSA and VA use different assessment methods. So, even if they base the decision on the same condition, one disability finding may
not support another finding.

All Veterans are normally entitled to retroactive benefits dating back to the time the application
was filed. Since many of these matters wind all the way through the system, the filing date could
be a year or more before the award date.

TDIU claims work a bit differently. These benefits are retroactive to the date the Veteran became
unemployable, not the date the Veteran filed the claim. Many disabled Veterans try to “tough it
out” for several years before they file claims. So, the retroactive date could be much different.

How Do I Qualify for TDIU?

This question is the big one. Medically, most Veterans qualify for TDIU benefits if they have one
disability rated at 60% or a combination of two or more conditions with a 70%
disability rating. One of these conditions must have at least a 40% rating. A few Veterans are
eligible for extra-schedular TDIU benefits. So, if you do not meet the schedular rating
cutoff, do not lose hope.

Vocationally, the Veteran must be unable to secure substantial, gainful employment (SGE)
because of the disability. SGE means the Veteran earns enough money to live above the poverty
line and support any dependents in a similar manner. Additionally, the work environment must
be unsheltered. Family-owned businesses, Veteran-owned businesses, and other enterprises
that accommodate for the Veteran’s impairment are “sheltered environments.”  Supervisors at
these places frequently look the other way when disabled Veterans are unable to complete their
work assignments. Such accommodations are normally unavailable elsewhere.

Count on Experienced Attorneys

We hope this FAQ about TDIU was helpful. Full disability benefits are available even if you are only partially disabled. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, 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. It does not create an attorney-client