Total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) benefits are for veterans who can’t keep substantially gainful employment because of service-related conditions. However, some veterans can’t work but don’t meet the TDIU requirements. This post explains extraschedular TDIU benefits, which some veterans may qualify for under those circumstances.
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You may feel like you’ve run into a VA loophole if you can’t work but don’t qualify for TDIU. After all, TDIU exists to help veterans who can’t work because of a service-related condition but who don’t qualify for a 100% disability rating. But you can’t work and don’t meet the criteria for TDIU. What now? You may qualify for a special category of TDIU benefits that helps some veterans with an “extraschedular rating.”
In this article about extraschedular TDIU requirements:
What is extraschedular TDIU?
Extraschedular TDIU is a rating for veterans with a service-connected condition(s) that keeps them from working gainfully, but they don’t meet the criteria for TDIU.
Qualifying for schedular TDIU typically requires you to have:
- At least one service-connected disability rated at least 60% OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one disability ratable at 40% or more, with a combined rating of 70% or more
In some specific situations, the VA can give a single rating that qualifies for TDIU by considering multiple conditions as a single disability.
For veterans who don’t meet these rating criteria but still can’t work full-time because of service-related disabilities, the VA can award extraschedular TDIU. This rating is awarded only in exceptional or unusual disability cases. Examples of unique circumstances include:
- Frequent hospitalization
- Records of disability interfering with employment
- Impactful symptoms not included in the schedule of ratings
The VA regional office submits cases of veterans who are unemployable because of service-connected conditions but who fail to meet the percentage standards discussed above to the Director of Compensation and Pension. The director makes decisions on extraschedular ratings. This unique procedure exists because these types of cases are so rare.
What do you need for an extraschedular consideration from the VA?
To receive an extraschedular rating, you must have evidence that shows your disability is more severe than the schedular rating criteria. You can do this through an increased rating claim, an appeal to the VA, or you can raise evidence that currently exists within your VA file.
The regional office will review the claim and decide if it warrants sending to the compensation service director. The VA regional office must explore and exhaust all possible schedular rating methods/alternatives and determine that the disability is likely impacting the vet’s ability to work before referring a claim for consideration.
These are the steps the regional office are supposed to follow when considering extraschedular claims:
- Determine that the schedular evaluation doesn’t address the claimant’s level of disability and symptoms
- Determine that the disability picture exhibits other related factors, such as marked interference with employment or frequent periods of hospitalization
- Refer the case to an authorized official to determine whether an extraschedular rating is warranted
VA-certified disability benefits lawyer Zack Evans said veterans who think they qualify for extraschedular TDIU ratings may need help with their claims.
“Every case is completely different, and that’s why it’s really important that whatever representative you choose, that it’s someone who’s focused on your specific facts bringing your story out and discussing why your unemployability actually flows from your time in service,” he said.
“Regardless of your reason for leaving the workplace, if the medical evidence shows that your current service-connected conditions leave you unemployable, you could potentially win a TDIU claim.”
Do you get a higher VA rating with extraschedular ratings?
An award of TDIU pays the same monthly compensation as a 100% rating without your conditions being rated at that level. So, yes, an extraschedular rating tends to be higher than the regular rating for your disabilities.
A common example is a veteran who has a service-related back injury. The back injury itself may only receive a rating of 40%, but if the veteran can prove that the injury is severe enough that they can’t work gainfully, they can receive an extraschedular TDIU rating and receive payment for a 100% rating.
The veteran wouldn’t meet the criteria for a TDIU because the back injury only qualifies for a 40% rating. Still, the exception comes from an inability to work because of chronic pain and limited movement.
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Woods and Woods can help
Extraschedular TDIU ratings are more difficult to receive because the circumstances surrounding them are rare. But they exist to help veterans with service-connected disabilities who don’t meet the rating criteria for traditional TDIU benefits. If you can’t work because of your military service, you deserve VA disability compensation. Contact Woods and Woods to file an initial claim or appeal a rating decision. You only pay us if we win.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Extraschedular TDIU is for veterans who can’t secure or keep gainful employment because of a service-connected disability or disabilities but don’t meet the rating criteria for TDIU.
The VA considers conditions that would result in failure to meet the TDIU criteria but qualify for extraschedular rating rare. Therefore, it may be more challenging to receive this rating. But the rarity of the situation shouldn’t discourage you from applying if you believe you qualify.