Choosing when, and even if, to submit the form to apply for VA unemployability (Form 21-8940) can be challenging. Submitting this form with information that is inaccurate, or that contradicts other information you have given the VA, can cause significant issues to any current claims. A VA-accredited attorney can help you navigate the process carefully.
Below, we explain each section of the VA Form 21-8940, Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability (also called the IU app), in detail.
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In this article about VA Form 21-8940 for TDIU:
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section I: Veteran Identification
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section II: Disability and Medical Treatment
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section III: Employment Statement
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section IV: Schooling and Other Training
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section V: Remarks
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section VI: Authorization, Certification, and Signature
- TDIU Form 21-8940 Section VII: Where to Send Correspondence
- Get help with your Form 21-8940 from a VA disability attorney
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section I: Veteran Identification
The first section of Form 21-8940 is fairly straightforward. The VA needs your contact information. Make sure the information you are providing matches any other information in their system. If you are providing different addresses to the VA, your decision letters might not be sent to the right place.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section II: Disability and Medical Treatment
You should include all your treatment for service-connected physical and mental conditions–even though this section of the form often doesn’t give you enough space to write all of them. You can include an addendum with your form 21-8940 as needed. Just make sure you note on the main form that you have attached additional information.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section III: Employment Statement
Veterans should proceed through Section III with caution and read each question especially carefully. Submitting inaccurate or contradictory information that does not match information on previous forms can negatively impact a claim.
One important thing to notice about this section is the date requirements. When listing your employment, the VA is asking you to cover the last five years you worked including self-employment. This means the VA wants you to list your employment for the last five years that you worked, not necessarily where you worked in the last five years. If you were unable to work the past five years, you would still need to list information about the last five years you successfully worked, with the correct dates.
Remember, there are income limits for receiving TDIU.. If you currently make more than the income limits, you won’t be considered for TDIU benefits.
Veterans can attach statements from former employers with Form 21-8940. This may include a statement from a former employer explaining the difficulties you had while working and why you can no longer work.
Many veterans with severe service-connected conditions work for friends or family members because no one else will make the accommodations necessary for the veteran to work. One example of these accommodations may include being able to leave work at any time during a flare up of a condition without consequence. If your former employer is a family member or friend, attaching a statement from them to tell the VA what accommodations were made for your condition may be a good idea.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section IV: Schooling and Other Training
This section asks about your education and vocational training. The VA will consider your background and how that affects your chances of obtaining suitable employment. This is a reason our veterans disability benefits lawyers work with vocational experts to obtain reports for clients. A vocational expert can write a report about how your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working in the profession you are trained in as well as any other profession.
For example, if you have neuropathy from Agent Orange exposure and you were an HVAC technician, you may not be able to grasp the tools you need to do the job. You may still be able to greet customers at a store, but this could be seen as marginal employment considering your need for accommodations due to your limitations.
Attending school full-time may be considered when pursuing TDIU benefits. Going to school full-time is an indicator to the VA that you intend on having a career after school. If you are just attending a few classes here and there with no intention of completing a degree, explain that in the remarks section.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section V: Remarks
This open-ended section allows you to make any further comments in support of your claim. You may leave this section blank if you have nothing more to add. Keep in mind, what you write has the potential to hurt your claim, just as it has the potential to help it.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section VI: Authorization, Certification, and Signature
As with any other application for government benefits, it is illegal to knowingly include false information on your 21-8940. Submitting false information could result in a fine or even imprisonment.
Your certification is your statement you are unable to hold down any substantially gainful employment due to your service-connected condition or conditions. The authorization portion gives the VA permission to reach out to the necessary people listed on your form as sources of information about your employment and health conditions.
TDIU Form 21-8940 Section VII: Where to Send Correspondence
The final section of Form 21-8940 tells you how to submit your form by providing an address. The form can be sent as a standard piece of mail, or may be sent as certified mail, which creates a paper trail in the event the VA claims they never received it.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Evidence Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
“The firm got me to 70%, and I was happy. Individual unemployability was awarded to me and to this day I’m so grateful. My future is no longer bleak. These people work very hard for you.“
R.C., a Navy veteran in HawaiiFacebook review
Get help with your Form 21-8940 from a VA disability attorney
Filing for TDIU and knowing when and whether to submit Form 21-8940 can be difficult. Our VA-accredited attorneys, case managers, and legal analysts have worked with thousands of U.S. veterans around the world on their TDIU claims. Our team is familiar with VA forms and best practices, and can help you navigate the process. We don’t charge upfront and you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When and if you submit Form 21-8940 for VA individual unemployability is different from one case to the next. Veterans seeking TDIU without the help of a VA-accredited attorney should be cautious. Filing the form with inaccurate information or even at the wrong time can negatively impact a claim.
The TDIU timeline can take months to years, depending on factors like the average wait time at the VA, whether you’re making an initial claim or appealing, and whether you have submitted everything correctly.