What Is TDIU?
One of our main services for Veterans is finding what it takes to get VA Individual Unemployability. Also known as TDIU cases, they are considered by some to be the best possible ruling you can get from the VA. This is your Ultimate Guide to all of our resources about
TDIU benefits, short of what you’d get from calling us and getting your VA claim started (1-866-232-5777) or helping you get into the VA appeals process.
Why is Getting 100% TDIU a Big Deal?
The big deal about a TDIU ruling is that you jump from a 70% VA Rating to get the monthly payment equal to a 100% Rating. The key isn’t about adding many ratings together, because VA math doesn’t work that way. TDIU is based on the inability to work. According to the VA you have to have both of these conditions:
1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—andTaken from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/
2. You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.
The same VA page also says “Note: In certain cases—for example, if you need to be in the hospital often—you may qualify at a lower disability rating.”
This means that you don’t have to have a rating that adds up to 100% to get 100% VA Disability. If you have three ratings that add up to 70% and one of those is at 40%, you can ask for TDIU. You can put your ratings into our VA Disability Calculator and see what the monthly compensation would be, but if you get TDIU, that rating would jump up to the 100% level entitlement.
How Hard is it To Appeal TDIU if the VA Denies my Claim?
After 13 years of VSOs and trying by myself, I could not do nor deal with any of it anymore. I hired Woods and Woods, and four and a half years later, I finally got the rating PCPs and others told me I should be at. Woods and Woods quickly moved when needed, unlike the VA taking their sweet time processing the filing, denying, and appealing of my claims. Thank you Woods and Woods!From a Facebook review https://www.facebook.com/WoodsandWoods/reviews/
It isn’t hard to appeal your claim, but you want to make sure you do it right. Here are two articles that talk about the denial and (hopefully) the appeals process that follows. If you feel that you are entitled to TDIU, you should not stop trying, especially if new evidence or new conditions develop that are connected to your active service.
It depends. If you’ve been fighting the VA for a while and you already have a high rating, it might just take a few pieces of expert evidence to push you into 70%. That could take a few months.
If you are just starting out and haven’t applied yet, it could take years. Every case is different.
You can use our VA Ratings Calculator to see an estimated rate based on the veterans disability combined ratings table. The 100% entitlement is how much you get for TDIU, even if your highest rating is 70%. (See the 2 requirements above.)
There are some cases where you can work in a protected work environment and still qualify for 100% TDIU. These special cases involve odd jobs, volunteer work, and involvement with various charities. Every case is different, so talk to your case manager about your job.
Are TDIU Benefits Different than Other VA Benefits?
In some ways, your TDIU claim brings new issues into your claim. Not only are you seeking compensation for your service-connected disability, but you are linking that disability to your inability to work. Your inability to work and keep a job can affect your mental health as well as your ability to pay your bills. We take that into consideration and try to convince the VA about the holistic impact of all of your ratings.
My PTSD Makes it Impossible to Work
Yes, the effects of PTSD can affect your work in many ways. There are direct effects like difficulty dealing with co-workers and conflict, to the indirect issues that insomnia or depression might cause. Missing work due to anxiety or depression are a factor in presenting PTSD in a TDIU claim. If you can’t keep a job because you keep falling asleep at work because your PTSD keeps you up all night, you can use PTSD in your TDIU claim too. Just like a busted hip can have a secondary effect on your knees and feet, PTSD can have a secondary effect on a lot of work issues.
Here are some articles that talk about PTSD and your VA Disability claims.
Get Help from an Experienced Attorney when you File your Claim
If you meet with another disabled veteran at the VFW or a VSO and all they tell you is “fill out this form” then call somebody else right away. There is a lot more to your claim than just filling out a form. You want expert testimonials from medical doctors, shrinks, and buddy statements too.
Here’s the thing: you want a VA disability lawyer to make the whole case for your winning TDIU claim. You might need testimonials from your past employers that testify to how lousy you are at work. It sounds awful, but we’re trying to convince the VA that you can’t work anymore, right? Even if you wanted to take the time to track all of those down yourself, your legal team at Woods and Woods know the questions to ask your past employers and how to present those answers to the Veterans Benefits Administration.
With a Decade of Experience, We Aren’t Going Anywhere
You want to pick someone to be on your team for the long haul. Every part of the process that we have described above can involve a ruling and be followed by a lengthy appeal. We even appeal to the higher courts from the beginning because administrative law judges can override what local regional office judges get wrong. We look for errors in your past claims and sometimes bring up new fights that you thought were already lost.
Getting TDIU isn’t Easy But it’s Very Possible
Regardless of the reason for leaving the workplace, if your condition is service-connected and you can’t work, you could have a TDIU claim.