This article is dedicated to veterans that have trouble keeping or obtaining employment because of service-connected PTSD. This article covers VA TDIU ratings for PTSD and give some information vets should know. We’ll explain applying, appealing, denials, evidence requirements, eligibility, and more.
If you have any questions after this article, we are always available for help. Woods & Woods TDIU lawyers offer free legal consultations to anyone. Click here to get a free VA claim evaluation.
Introduction to VA TDIU Ratings for PTSD
Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits are for veterans that cannot work from service-connected disabilities. PTSD is just one of the many service-connected impairments that are eligible for TDIU benefits. If your PTSD is preventing you from working, you may be eligible to receive VA TDIU ratings for PTSD.
Veterans who obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD are compensated at the same rate as a 100% rating, but they do not have to obtain a 100% rating. In other words, VA TDIU ratings for PTSD allow veterans to obtain the maximum monthly benefit payments allowed by the VA.
We want to warn you though, getting VA TDIU ratings for PTSD alone can be very difficult. The majority of veterans we see obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD also have service-connected physical conditions. That is not to say that veterans cannot obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD alone, it is just that your PTSD is going to have to be pretty severe.
TDIU Rating Requirements & Eligibility
Individual Unemployability Requirements
- Evidence of at least one service-connected disability AND
- That the service-connected disability or disabilities are sufficient, without regard to other factors,
to prevent performing the mental and/or physical tasks required to get or keep substantially gainful employment AND
- That one disability is ratable at 60% or more, OR
- If more than one disability exists, one disability is ratable at 40% or more with a combined VA disability rating of 70% or more.
Individual Unemployability Eligibility
- You must be a veteran
- You must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 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.
- You must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful employment for VA purposes).
Evidence Used to Win VA TDIU Ratings for PTSD Claims
Veterans that wish to obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD need to prove to the VA that first their PTSD is service-connected and second that their PTSD is severe enough to prevent them from working. That can be done through medical evidence. The VA is going to want evidence of your conditions and evidence proving that your condition renders you unemployable.
Our Individual Unemployability lawyers use reports from psychologists on the majority of claims we submit to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) for mental conditions such as PTSD. This evidence is used to show how severe the veteran’s mental condition is and how it is linked to their service. We use psychologists that know VA law and understand what the VA is looking for in a report.
When clients have service-connected physical conditions that will be factored into their VA TDIU rating our lawyers often use reports from medical doctors. These reports will link your direct service-connected conditions to your secondary service-connected conditions. These reports help the VA understand the link between all your different mental and physical conditions. For example, did you know there is a link between sleep apnea and PTSD? No? There are thousands of little tricks we have learned over the years of representing veterans. One of the most important is how to link all conditions together to get veterans the highest rating they are eligible for.
These are simply written statements from family and friends. These statements can show the VA how a veteran changed after they returned home from the service. Lay statements can also tell the story of a veteran’s anger issues, isolation problems, paranoia, etc. Often friends and family know the veteran with PTSD better than anyone else. So, have them tell the VA how severely the veteran’s life is affected by PTSD. If the veteran has employment issues, tell the VA why you believe they can’t keep or obtain employment. These simple statements can help veterans obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD by further telling the story of employment issues from service-connected disabilities.
If your military records are missing you may want to use buddy statements to prove combat and non-combat PTSD stressors. When applying for VA TDIU ratings for PTSD, many veterans find events and records are missing from their file. As you know, if you want to get VA TDIU ratings for PTSD, you are going to have to relate your PTSD back to a stressor event. If your records are missing documentation of a stressor, you can use statements from fellow service-members who remember or were present at the event.
Former Employer Statements
To obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD, you need to prove to the VA that your conditions prevent you from gainful employment. The VA will accept statements from your last employer regarding your employment problems. If you want to get VA TDIU ratings for PTSD, tell the VA why you are unemployable. For example, your former employer may state that you are unable to work with other people because of your anger problems. You miss work because some days you are manic or depressed. If you had accommodations at work because of your PTSD, have your former employer detail what those accommodations were and how they affected your employability.
Denials: VA TDIU Ratings for PTSD Appeals
Did you receive the dreaded denial or low-rating? If you received an unfavorable Rating Decision letter within the last 12 months, you can appeal. Don’t let your denial or low-rating discourage you from seeking VA TDIU ratings for PTSD. A large number of veterans are initially denied or rated too low. The VA forces thousands of veterans to go through the slow VA appeal process.
One of the first things you can do after a denial or low-rating is to start gathering new and stronger evidence. One of the most common reasons veterans are denied VA TDIU ratings for PTSD is because they simply used underwhelming evidence.
Other VA TDIU ratings for PTSD disability claims are denied because of VA mistakes. This is the other most common reason claims are denied. Your initial application is decided by bureaucrats. We find that many of them simply don’t know VA law. The decisions we see are often incredibly wrong. Luckily during the appeals process your claim can go to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). Our lawyers like the BVA. We trust judges more than we do bureaucrats. We find they tend to understand the law better.
The Individual Unemployability denial lawyers at Woods & Woods have helped thousands of veterans appeal bad VA decisions. Our law firm has entire teams of VA benefits appeal lawyers and staff dedicated to only TDIU benefits appeals. These staff members work with doctors outside the VA, psychologists, vocational experts, and more to help veterans obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD.
FAQ: VA TDIU Ratings for PTSD Disability Claims
Q: What are TDIU benefits?
A: TDIU benefits are specifically for veterans that cannot keep or obtain meaningful employment because of service-connected disabilities.
Q: Can I work and receive TDIU benefits?
A: Yes. But you are going to have to be under the VA Unemployability income limits. We have found it is very hard for working veterans to obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD. Look at this from the VA’s standpoint. If you are trying to prove you are unemployable, why are you working?
Q: Can vets get a 100% PTSD rating?
A: Yes. However, it can be very difficult to get a 100% VA rating for PTSD. If you can’t work from service-connected conditions, we find it is more likely to obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD than a 100% PTSD rating. Mental conditions that reach the 100% rating are very, very severe. Many of those veterans have extended stays at mental treatment facilities.
Q: Can I get a 100% permanent PTSD rating?
A: Yes. But it is very difficult for veterans to receive a 100% Permanent and Total PTSD rating without physical conditions. Also, the VA believes that mental impairments will improve over time so they aren’t big on handing our Permanent and Total ratings for PTSD.
Q: Can a vet with VA TDIU ratings for PTSD get Social Security?
A: Yes. Veterans can receive both Individual Unemployability and Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time. Remember, your VA TDIU ratings for PTSD and SSDI benefits are totally separate from each other. Each claim has different evidence requirements and eligibility requirements. VA TDIU ratings for PTSD do not require you to have worked for so many of the last years before you applied, while SSDI has a work history requirement.
Q: Is there a secret to winning PTSD claims?
A: No. Do you really want to know how to win your PTSD VA disability claim? You’ll need good evidence, medical reports, case law, persistence, a well-written brief, and a deep understanding of VA law. There is no secret to winning PTSD claims besides good old fashioned hard work on your claim’s legal argument.
Q: How long do VA TDIU ratings for PTSD disability claims take?
A: You are not going to like this answer. Currently, the application process moves fairly quickly. However, the VA denies lots of claims so many veterans are forced to appeal. The application backlog currently has almost 74,000 claims waiting on decisions. The appeal process currently has over 470,000 cases waiting on decision. The wait times fluctuate and you should be ready for a long fight with the VA. Veterans do not receive VA TDIU ratings for PTSD overnight.
Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for Individual Unemployability?
A: The Individual Unemployability fact sheet lays out most of the requirements that veterans must know. If you want to learn more about your eligibility, give Woods & Woods a call. We can discuss your claim for free. We’ll help you determine at no cost if you are eligible to obtain VA TDIU ratings for PTSD.
Free Legal Consultation on VA TDIU Ratings for PTSD
The PTSD veterans disability benefits lawyers at Woods & Woods have successfully represented thousands of disabled veterans. Since 1985, we’ve fought aggressively for injured and disabled people. We offer free legal consultations to any veteran or military families that need help. We can discuss VA TDIU ratings for PTSD with you and help you better understand your legal options.
Our law firm is not just dedicated to winning clients’ claims, we also focus on customer service. Many potential clients have a fairly negative view of law firms from past experiences. Remember that time your previous law firm wouldn’t answer the phone and failed to call you back? Did you feel like you never knew what was going on with your case? Woods & Woods doesn’t operate like that. We have built innovative case management systems to focus on winning clients’ claims and keeping clients happy during the process.
At Woods & Woods, you only pay your veterans disability benefits lawyer if we win your appeal. If you do not win your appeal, you pay our VA disability compensation lawyers nothing. Woods & Woods will never ask for money upfront, never bill by the hour, and we don’t charge for phone calls.