Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits let Veterans receive the same compensation as someone who is considered 100% disabled—even though they don’t qualify as totally disabled under the schedular criteria. This is in recognition of the fact that certain conditions or combinations of disabilities can make it impossible for a Veteran to continue working even though they can still complete many other types of tasks.
What a Vocational Expert Does
Vocational experts make an assessment of a person’s ability to maintain employment in a competitive environment based on factors such as:
- Physical impairments
- Psychological impairments
- Educational achievement
- Skills obtained through on-the-job training
- Personal characteristics such as reliability, concentration, and productivity
- Ability to maintain appropriate relationships with supervisors, coworkers, and customers
- How side effects of medication affect work performance
- Impact of chronic pain on work performance
- If a Veteran could be successful without the accommodations currently being made by their workplace
Why Testimony From a Vocational Expert Is Valuable
Opinions from vocational experts are particularly valuable in obtaining TDIU benefits because a vocational expert is allowed to consider the total picture of a Veteran’s condition. Medical specialists are only able to comment on one small aspect of what’s keeping a Veteran from working, such as a psychiatrist testifying about treatment for PTSD or an orthopedic specialist discussing the causes of chronic back pain. A vocational expert can consider all the relevant factors and make a recommendation based on their knowledge of the demands of a competitive work environment.
A vocational expert’s testimony can also be beneficial in countering the results of an unfavorable option from a VA doctor or C&P examiner. These individuals may have knowledge of specific medical conditions, but they do not have the training necessary to provide a full picture of a person’s vocational prospects. For example, a VA doctor may claim a Veteran with trouble bending and lifting can perform sedentary work despite the Veteran’s limited education and lack of transferable skills.
How We Can Help
At the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, we are committed to helping Veterans access the disability benefits they deserve. Our experienced attorneys have extensive networks of medical and vocational experts who can provide the testimony needed to support your application for VA disability benefits. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.