Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability

What is Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability?

In a nutshell, if you are a Veteran who has qualifying service-related disabilities. If your disabilities prevent you from obtaining substantially gainful employment. Then you are entitled to individual unemployability benefits.

These are benefits for a 100% disability start at $3,106.04 per month. As of December 2018. That statement contains a lot of information, so let us try to break it down.

Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits is not necessarily permanent. You may have to reapply, or submit new information or certification of employment status each year.

If your medical or employment status has changed significantly, the VA may eliminate the Veteran’s TDIU benefits.  

The application process is more difficult than other VA filings. The application for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) requires a great deal of information. Such as employment and wage information, dating back multiple years.

Where To Submit (TDIU) Applications?

You can submit applications online or go to a regional VA office, where a VA employee may be able to provide some assistance.

Unfortunately, claims examiners often deny TDIU applications, especially on the initial application.  Oftentimes, the VA cites lack of substantiating evidence as a reason for the denial.

That is where a VA benefits appeal attorney enters the picture. In the appeals process, your attorney can help you produce evidence. Or form legal arguments to help substantiate and prove the claim.  

If needed, your attorney can appeal TDIU denials to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).

Explaining “Total Disability”

The disability must be service-related, and the relationship could be direct or indirect. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are good case studies.

Assume militants target a passing supply convoy with a roadside bomb as it goes by a crowded market. When the bomb explodes it causes indiscriminate damage. The people on board the convoy vehicles are obviously affected.

But if there are off-duty servicemembers in the market, they may be hurt as well. Many times, their wound is a noise-induced brain injury as opposed to a traditional trauma wound.

Even though there was no visible blood. And even though the wounded Veteran was not directly involved in the incident. That Veteran may still have a disabling injury.

Age is not a part of this equation. Even if the Veteran retired many years ago, TDIU benefits may still be available. The only issue is whether the service-related condition prevents the Veteran from obtaining and keeping substantial gainful employment.

More on Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

First, a few words about what a “total disability” is in this context. The term is a relative one. Disability is not necessarily synonymous with something like paraplegia.

Many disabled people still function at a high level. They just cannot maintain that energy for more than a few minutes or cannot reach the level they need to hold down a job.

Furthermore, what is disabling to some people is not a big deal to others. Education and experience come into play, as well. For example, losing the use of a hand may not be a career-ender for a college professor. But it could be debilitating for a construction worker.

(TDIU) Threshold Requirements

Even though 100% disability is not required, you do need some level of service-connected disabilities (in most instances).  

Veterans who have at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 60%, would meet the threshold requirement.  

Alternatively, if you do not have a single service-connected disability over 60%, you could still qualify. IF, you have multiple service-connected disabilities, that have a total combined VA rating of 70%. With at least one disability rated at 40% or more.  

Please note, circumstances have limits. You may still be able to qualify for TDIU if you cannot meet the single 60% service-connected disability. Or the combined 70% service-connected disabilities. With at least one being greater than 40%.

Examining “Individual Unemployability”

This term is relative, as well. A person could be working and still be unemployable. Many times, a disabled Veteran can only work part-time or only work a light-duty job, like a Walmart greeter.

In either case, such employment probably does not pay enough to live above the poverty line.

In other cases, the disabled Veteran could earn more money and still be unemployable. For example, the Veteran might work in a sheltered environment, like a family business.

In that environment, the Veteran can miss work frequently and there may be no consequences. But in an unsheltered environment, this same Veteran may not be able to work for more than a few weeks.

It is important to contact an experienced VA benefits appeal attorney to see if you may meet the requirements necessary for TDIU benefits.  

Count on Dedicated Attorneys

Disabled, unemployable Veterans may be entitled to substantial monthly benefits. Get a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer. 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.