The process of applying for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits is quite detailed, so it’s not surprising that applications are often denied due to misinterpretations of the law. If you are unable to work and have been denied TDIU benefits, an experienced Veterans disability attorney can help ensure that your case is evaluated correctly.
1. Veterans Are Denied Based on Non-Service Connected Disabilities
The VA is not allowed to consider the effect of any non-service connected disabilities on a Veteran’s employment. However, applications are often denied when work impairments are mistakenly attributed to a non-service connected disability instead of the effects of a service-connected condition.
For example, consider a Veteran with service-connected PTSD and a non-service connected knee condition that makes it hard to stand or walk. He might be denied TDIU for a job involving frequent standing or walking if the VA claims the knee condition is the reason he is unemployed. However, if his job involves regular public contact and he has social anxiety related to service-connected PTSD, this assessment would be unfair and incorrect.
2. The VA Doesn’t Consider Education and Occupational History
Employability is determined by more than just a person’s physical or mental condition. Without sufficient qualifications—such as a degree, certifications, or relevant work experience—obtaining specific types of employment is impossible.
A Veteran can’t be denied TDIU because he is able to perform sedentary work if he has no qualifications to obtain this type of employment. Claims can also not be denied simply because a Veteran is young and highly educated. All relevant factors must be considered under the law.
3. The VA Uses Part-Time or Protected Work to Declare a Veteran Ineligible
Unemployability benefits are for those who are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment, but this doesn’t mean a Veteran can’t work at all. Veterans who work part-time and earn low wages can still qualify. Those who work in what is considered a protected work environment may also still be eligible—even if they earn more than a poverty-level wage.
We’ll Help You 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 Veteran’s benefits attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of those who’ve bravely served our country.