As a veteran with one or more service-connected disabilities, you are eligible to apply for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through this application, you will also be considered for TDIU, or Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability. TDIU payments are meant to assist veterans whose disabilities have left them unable to obtain substantial gainful employment, and are equivalent to 100% disability benefit payments.
In order to understand TDIU, it helps to be familiar with the VA’s disability rating system. In order to determine the benefits that each disabled veteran is to receive, the VA assigns a category (affected part of the body), group (medical issue), and rating. The rating determines the severity of the condition, and assigns a percentage that reflects your disability as it relates to the injury. When you have more than one service-connected disability, the VA uses a formula to combine your ratings into a single rating.
How Do You Qualify for TDIU?
In order to qualify for TDIU, you must meet one of two criteria:
- Schedular. You have one impairment rated at 60%, or multiple impairments with a combined rating of 70% with at least one impairment rated at 40%.
- Extra-Schedular. You do not fall under the schedular criteria, but you have an unusual disability that may be considered under an extra-schedular rating.
Of course, as is the case with most dealings with the VA, being subtle is not usually your best bet. You can include a statement in your application that you would like to be considered for TDIU based on your service-connected impairments, and you should include VA Form 21-8940 with your application.
If you are unable to work due to your health, but your health problems are not service-connected, you may qualify for a non-service connected pension payment.
If you have more questions about TDIU, feel free to contact us by phone or by filling out our online contact form. Our veterans’ benefits law firm regularly assists clients with initial applications for benefits as well as with appeals for denied claims.