How Do You Qualify for TDIU? - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

How Do You Qualify for TDIU?

Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU0 is a VA benefit program that allows veterans with less than a 100-percent disability rating to receive 100 percent of their benefits if they’re not employable.

The program offers a full disability benefit to veterans with these qualifications:

  • Your service-related disability must be rated at 60-percent or higher.
  • If you were diagnosed with multiple disabilities, at least one must be 40 percent or higher.
  • The total of multiple disabilities must be 70 percent or higher.
  • Your condition must make you unemployable.

There are two ways that you can qualify for 100 percent of your benefits. The previous list covers the way to win approval for the schedular TDIU. However, an exception can be made for extraordinary circumstances.

Schedular and Extraschedular Disabilities

The VA makes exceptions to disability rating requirements in exceptional cases when veterans don’t meet the requirements but are still unemployable. Some disabilities might be so unusual that they don’t qualify for benefits under the VA’s rules. Other conditions might also require regular hospital treatments that preclude working at a meaningful job.

Both schedular and extraschedular TDIU programs apply only if the service-related disability is the only reason why the veteran is deemed unemployable at what the VA considers “meaningful” work. Doing odd jobs isn’t considered “meaningful” by the VA.

Types of Benefits Covered

Once a veteran is approved for a schedular or extraschedular program, they will

receive their full benefit. Even more important to some veterans, their spouses

and children are also entitled to benefits that could last a lifetime in some cases. For example, both spouses and children can get educational loans and job training for free under VA’s programs.

What You Need to Claim TDIU Benefits

If you haven’t already, you need to file for disability compensation. You’ll need evidence to support your claim under schedular or extraschedular rules. The original letters explaining your disability rating are sufficient proof, or you could supply the information to someone from the administrative staff to check.

You’ll need to supply a detailed reason why you qualify for the extraschedular exception. This includes any doctor, psychiatrist, or hospital reports that show why you are unemployable for meaningful work. Your work and educational background might affect the decision.

Examples of Decisions

A veteran with a service-connected leg injury is rated at 50-percent disability. She also has a service-connected chronic hand injury that’s rated at 25-percent disability. Each condition limits the meaningful work she could perform, and with both injuries, she finds that she is unemployable. Her TDIU application is approved, and she receives full benefits along with some benefits for her husband and children.

Another patient developed PTSD after service, and he frequently had mental breakdowns reliving the time he fought in the desert. Multiple triggers seemed to set him off, including sights, sounds, blue skies, and news reports on battles.

He was initially rated 50 percent because he was highly functional when he wasn’t stuck inside his flashbacks. His doctors convinced the VA that he was truly unemployable.

Getting a Specialized Lawyer

Individual unemployability benefits eligibility is a hot-button topic among disabled vets as no one seems to know how you can qualify for an extraschedular exception and get full benefits. So, if you think you are eligible for the extraschedular TDIU program, it is best to hire a lawyer who specializes in veterans’ disability claims to help you build a strong case and get the compensation you deserve.

A specialized attorney could also help you appeal an unfavorable decision and even grant you access to any back pay you are owed. A lawyer is a worthwhile investment that can pay big dividends in the long run.


About the author

Crystal Davis

Crystal A. Davis was born into a family of attorneys and was raised with a strong sense of justice. During her high school years, she developed a passion for journalism and decided to combine this with her knowledge of the law. She realized that she can make her voice heard to the masses through legal journalism. Crystal is honored to follow and report on any legal case. She shares her analysis in reader-friendly articles. However, over the years, she has become a strong advocate for VA rights and made it her mission to help veterans seek justice. Contact the author.
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