Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits provide monthly cash compensation at the same rate you'd receive if you'd been granted a 100% VA schedular rating. TDIU recognizes that Veterans with certain conditions may be unable to hold substantially gainful employment even though their limitations don't qualify for a total disability rating under schedular criteria.
While having a non-service-connected disability won't necessarily prevent you from getting TDIU benefits, only the effects of your service-connected conditions can legally be considered in evaluating your application. This can complicate the process of being approved for benefits. For example, even if you've already been approved for Social Security disability (SSDI/SSI) benefits, your TDIU application could be denied because the SSA uses different eligibility criteria.
Strategies to Get Approved for TDIU With Non-Service Connected Disabilities
Since non-service connected disabilities can't be considered in evaluating your application, you may be unfairly denied TDIU benefits if the VA claims your inability to work is due to the non-service-connected parts of your condition. To overcome this, you have four options:
- Attempt to gain a secondary service connection for your conditions that are currently non-service connected
- Downplay the effects of any non-service connected conditions
- Emphasize the effects of your service-connected disabilities
- Only submit medical evidence that discusses your service-connected disabilities, so the issue of your non-service connected conditions doesn't come up with the VA
The best option depends on the specific circumstances of your case, but each of these choices requires the assistance of a skilled attorney familiar with Veterans disability law. A Veteran's benefits attorney can line up the necessary medical evidence to support your application and ensure that VA law is being applied correctly.
Get the Benefits You Deserve
If you've been denied TDIU benefits, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can be of service navigating the appeals process. Our Veterans benefits attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of those who've bravely served our country.