Top Five FAQs About TDIU Benefits

What Are The Top Five FAQs About TDIU Benefits

We are providing this summary of the top five FAQs about TDIU Benefits to assist veterans in setting expectations when filing their claims. Often, a 100% disability rating is a reasonable goal in a VA disability claim. The rating is typically based in large part on the results of a compensation and pension (C&P) examination.

For the most part, the disability rating system is objective. But Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits are different. Even if the Veteran’s disability rating is substantially less than 100%, full disability benefits might be available.

The TDIU process is complex, to say the least. This post will address some common individual unemployability questions. As always, a VA disability lawyer should be your ultimate resource for all such matters.

Do I Qualify for TDIU Benefits?

The minimum qualifications for TDIU are rather straightforward. Veterans qualify for TDIU benefits if they:

  • Have one disability with at least a 60% impairment rating, or
  • Have two or more disabilities with a combined 70% impairment rating, and at least one of those conditions has a 40% impairment rating.

In a few cases, TDIU benefits might be available even if the Veteran does not meet these disability percentages. These extra-schedular TDIU cases are rather difficult to prove.

As mentioned, the C&P exam usually determines the rating. But this rating is not always accurate. For example, if the C&P doctor specializes in knee and other muscle disabilities, the doctor might not be qualified to assess PTSD accurately.

What Additional Evidence do I Need?

Additionally, the Veteran must be unemployable outside a sheltered environment. A sheltered work environment is a situation in which disabled Veterans receive special accommodations to address their disability that they would not likely receive at another job (such as flexible hours, increased time off, etc.). A common example of this is a family-owned business that employs the Veteran but allows him or her to work only when the Veteran is capable.  

Lay evidence often helps establish unemployability. Once again, PTSD is a good example. Since the brain is adept at concealing its own injuries, many of these Veterans do not realize how difficult their disability makes it for them to work steadily. Testimony from friends or family members helps them develop their claims.

When is My TDIU Effective Date?

In this context, the effective date is the date the person became unemployable, as opposed to the claim filing date. Most Veterans do not run to the doctor at the first sign of unemployability. Instead, they try to push ahead, sometimes for months or years, before they file their claim. As a result, the difference between the claim date and effective date could mean thousands of dollars in back benefits. Veterans usually receive lump sum payments for past-due benefits.

Frequently, the effective date depends on the service-connected disability date or the date of an increased disability rating. Service-connected dates usually involve a subsequent VA determination of unemployability, which complicates matters. Disability rating increases often move the Veteran from ineligible to eligible, at least for an extra-schedular determination.

Does a Social Security Disability Claim Affect My TDIU Benefits?

Maybe. Some people believe that an SSD award automatically qualifies them for TDIU status, but that is not necessarily the case. There are separate criteria for SSD and TDIU awards. Moreover, different government agencies administer these programs. So, there is no guarantee of consistent results. 

Typically, however, SSD awards strengthen TDIU claims. If the disability was severe enough for Social Security, it is probably severe enough for unemployability benefits. That is assuming the social security and VA disabilities were both service-connected. That is not always the case.

How Long do TDIU Benefits Last?

The Claims Examiner or other awarding entity determines the duration of TDIU payments. If the designation is permanent, the file probably includes one of the following notations:

  • No further exam scheduled,
  • The “Permanent and Total” box is checked, or
  • The ratings decision indicates the award is permanent.

Additionally, TDIU awards are permanent if the Veteran is at least 70 or the Veteran has received TDIU benefits for at least twenty years.

Otherwise, if the Veteran’s physical condition improves, or the job market changes, the VA could reduce or terminate TDIU payments. These moves usually involve notice and a hearing.

Reach Out to Dedicated Attorneys

Partially disabled Veterans might be eligible for full financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer in San Diego, contact Cameron Firm, PC 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 relationship.