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Total Disability Individual Unemployability

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Veterans Disability Law Firm for TDIU Benefits 

When injured veterans return home, many find that they are not able to engage in the same type of employment they did before their service. When that occurs, the VA offers disability benefits commensurate with the veteran’s reduced capacity for employment. But in some cases, a veteran’s physical and mental disabilities are so severe that the veteran cannot work or is unable to holding down employment.  Such individuals may qualify for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits. Contact our veterans disability law firm if you have questions about your entitlement to such benefits.

Eligibility for TDIU Benefits

While standard VA disability ratings focus on the veteran’s physical or mental handicap, the TDIU program goes further by taking the applicant’s employability into account. It is intended for those cases in which the applicant’s service-connected injury (or a combination of injuries) prevents him or her from engaging in substantially gainful employment.  To prove eligibility for the program, applicants must show:

  • They are veterans
  • They are unable to engage in substantially gainful employment as a result of a service-related disability
  • They were not dishonorably discharged
  • They have either:
    • One disability that is rated at least 60%
    • Multiple disabilities, with one disability rated at least 40%, and a total rating of at least 70%

The VA does not consider marginal employment (such as odd jobs) to be substantially gainful employment. The agency considers employment marginal when:

  1. The income does not exceed the Department of Commerce’s poverty threshold for one person, or
  2. The employment is in a “protected environment,” such as a family business or a sheltered workshop

In some cases, self-employment may also be considered marginal employment if it fits the above criteria.

TDIU Benefits Are Equivalent to a 100% Disability Rating

Individuals who qualify for TDIU receive the same benefits as those who are rated 100% on the VA’s disability ratings scale. However, TDIU is not the same as a 100% disability rating. The latter takes into account only the severity of the applicant’s physical and mental impairments, while the former also considers the applicant’s ability to work.

Applying for TDIU Benefits

To apply for TDIU benefits, the applicant must submit VA Form 21-8940 (“Veterans Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability”), which asks the applicant a series of questions about his or her disability, employment history, and education history. The VA will then contact the applicant’s former or current employers to discuss his or her employment history. The applicant may also submit additional evidence supporting his or her case, such as vocational rehabilitation and employment (VR&E) records, medical opinions, statements from friends, family, and coworkers, and proof that the applicant is currently receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.

Contact a Veterans Disability Law Firm for More Information

If your service-related injury has precluded you from engaging in steady, meaningful employment, you may qualify for TDIU benefits. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your situation, gather relevant evidence, and submit the best case possible to the VA. To get started, please contact the veterans disability law firm of Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by using our online form or calling us at 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley). We serve New York City and Long Island, including Nassau County and Suffolk County

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