In my five years working at the law offices of Attorney Sean Kendall, I have spent a part of nearly every day advocating for at least one veteran fighting for a 100% disability rating based on unemployability. Those who served our country and are unable to obtain or maintain gainful employment because of service-connected disabilities deserve to be compensated, so that they can provide a home and food for themselves and their families. It can be extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to support yourself - let alone a family - if you are suffering from severe mental and/or physical illness, and if your disabilities were caused or worsened by military service the Department of Veterans Affairs should help. Fast.
VA is Reluctant to Issue Unemployability Decisions
Unfortunately the VA Regional Offices in charge of issuing rating decisions that effectively award Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) and issue disability compensation benefits seem to do everything they can to either let TDIU applications linger or argue that a veteran is unemployable due to circumstances other than his or her service-connected disabilities. That’s where we come in.
Retaining a Qualified, Experienced Attorney is The First Step to Winning Your TDIU Claim at the VA
At the office of Attorney Sean Kendall, we will file your application for unemployability after helping you fill out your employment history on VA Form 21-8940, on which veterans also detail how and when they’re service-connected disabilities became severe enough to prevent them from working. We have been representing veterans on TDIU claims for over 20 years, and know what arguments to make and what evidence to submit. Service representatives can submit the VA forms, but they do not retain any experts to get the right evidence to win.
In order to qualify for a 100% disability rating based on unemployability, a veteran must – as our associate attorney Timothy Franklin recently explained – qualify on either a schedular or extra-schedular basis. Take note, if you do not meet the minimum schedular requirements the VA will most always deny your claim and simply say you do not meet the scheduler requirements. You need an aggressive representative to protect your rights and your claim. See Tim Franklin’s blog here for more information on extra-schedular ratings.
Veterans seeking TDIU benefits has been in the news a lot lately. As Sandy Britt at the Leaf-Chronicle (Tennessee) wrote recently, “The basic eligibility to file for [unemployability] is that the veteran has one disability rated at 60 percent or one at 40 percent and enough other disabilities that result in a combined rating of 70 percent or more. The one disability at 40 percent criteria can be a combined rating of related disabilities.”
Britt goes on to correctly explain that “meeting that basic criteria is not a guarantee that the veteran will be awarded 100 percent based on [TDIU]. The medical evidence must show that the veteran is unable to work in both a physical and sedentary setting.”
A 100% Rating Based On TDIU Does Not Prohibit a Veteran From Working
As Ted Puntillo wrote in the Vacaville (California) Reporter recently, “If your salary is substantially less than the prevailing poverty level (currently $11,702 annually), or you are working a job that someone else would normally satisfy (for example, working for a friend or relative), the VA will not consider you to be gainfully employed, and therefore [still] qualify you for TDIU benefits.”
Britt’s article is a helpful guide to different types of unemployability awards, including Permanent and Total ratings and temporary 100% ratings. But knowing what qualifies you for a 100% rating based on individual unemployability and filing a TDIU claim at the VA is only the beginning. At the office of Attorney Sean Kendall, we utilize a growing list of excellent doctors and vocational experts who provide the expert, independent reports necessary to prevail in your TDIU case.
Many veterans who are unemployable due to service-connected disabilities struggle mightily with basic living expenses like food; rent or mortgage; utilities and dependent-related expenses. It’s simply not fair - you served the country and these laws were drafted to provide for you and your family.
If you need help with your claim for unemployability - whether based on Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), debilitating back problems caused by service, Agent Orange-related symptoms or other service-connected disabilities - give the law offices of Attorney Sean Kendall a call today at (877) 629-1712.