After putting their lives on the line for our country, many veterans return home to fight yet another battle: food insecurity.
This blog urges veterans experiencing food insecurity to consider applying for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (“TDIU”) benefits.
Over a Quarter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Struggle with Food Insecurity
According to the Washington Post, “more than half of children in Pentagon-run schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.” Further, as reported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 27% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans “struggle to put food on the table.”
The VA Has Attempted to Help by Implementing Hunger Screenings
Taking note of the gravity of the situation, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (“VA”) implemented a hunger-screening program. Under the new program, VA staff screen every veteran who visits a VA healthcare center for food insecurity. If a veteran expresses that she or he has experienced food insecurity, the VA directs her or him to a food pantry, shares information on food-stamp programs, or refers her or him to a dietary counselor.
Additionally, nonprofits such as Rich Synek’s “Feed Our Vets” have opened food pantries dedicated exclusively to veterans.
TDIU Benefits Are Key to the Solution
While the above solutions are laudable, there is one potential fix that is often overlooked: TDIU benefits. TDIU benefits provide a minimum of $2915.55 a month to those who qualify.
To be eligible, a veteran must be unable to maintain gainful employment because of a service-connected disability. While there are certain rating requirements, the disability does not need to be rated at 100%.
Because individuals who have disabilities or mental illness are far more likely to be food insecure, many of the veterans who are currently struggling with hunger are likely to qualify for TDIU benefits.
How to Win TDIU Benefits
If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability and you are facing food insecurity, we encourage you to apply for TDIU benefits right away. If you have already applied and you were rejected, give us a call. The VA makes erroneous decisions all of the time and, with decades of experience successfully appealing VA decisions, we know what it takes to win a veteran the benefits she or he deserves. When you are ready to make an appeal, send us a note or give us a call at (877) 629-1712.