As a veterans benefits attorney, I have worked on and won countless TDIU claims since I began working with Sean Kendall. Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU), or simply, Individual Unemployability (IU) provide a 100 percent rating to veterans when their individual ratings do not add up to 100 percent. The basic requirements are that you have to be a veteran, and your service-connected disabilities prevent you from maintaining gainful employment. Sounds simple but TDIU claims are denied all the time. In my experience, the top 5 ways to win your TDIU claim are:
- Make sure you have VA Form 21-8940 (Application for Increase based on Individual Unemployability) submitted. Without the TDIU form in your file the DRO or rating officer will outright deny your claim, regardless of the evidence in your claims file. It’s not right but that is what most VA Regional Offices do now. The RO will usually send out the form as part of a VCCA notice letter but you can download it from the VA’s website or use this link. Be aware of box number 7 – make sure you only list service-connected disabilities, do not list any other non-service-connected disabilities.
- Make sure you provide the VA with your past employment information by having your last employer complete VA Form 21-4192. If you can’t reach your last employer or it does not exist, explain this to the VA by submitting a statement in support of claim (VA Form 21-4138) or other type of affidavit. Most of the RO’s simply will not issue a decision without the form or a satisfactory explanation of why your past work history is not available.
- Get your doctors to provide statements that your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working. Start doing this now. Do not rely on just one doctor, ask your general practice doctor and each specialist you see. If you have hearing issues, ask your audiologist. Ask your cardiologist, psychiatrist and any others I haven’t listed to write a short statement for you. The more statements you get the better chance you have of winning your TDIU claim.
- Get a Vocational Opinion. Recent Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims opinions and decisions issued by the Board of Veteran’s Appeals have sent a clear indication to Veterans Benefits attorneys that vocational opinions (also called vocational assessments) are the way to win TDIU claims and get veterans to 100 percent. The VA doctors will almost always state that you can do sedentary work regardless of the severity of your disabilities. Additionally, VA doctors will not comment on the cumulative effect of all of your disabilities and how they affect employment. Vocational opinions directly refute the sedentary employment findings and discuss the cumulative effect of your service-connected disabilities and clearly state that you cannot work. A good vocational opinion makes it extremely hard for the VA to deny your TDIU claim.
- Get a Veterans’ Benefits Attorney that specializes in VA compensation claims. Sean Kendall has specialized in representing Veterans for over 25 years. I have represented Veterans for almost six years now. Why do you need an attorney? Because attorneys, certainly Sean and I, argue and fight to get your TDIU benefits. The VA always finds a reason to deny your TDIU claim, If service-connected disabilities prevent you from working then you deserve a 100 percent rating, regardless of whether or not you meet the VA erroneous scheduler requirements. We also know how valuable medical and vocational evidence is to winning your TDIU claim. If you cannot afford to obtain your own vocational assessment, call us for a free case analysis. If we fell we can win you your case we will often cover the expense for you until we win you TDIU benefits.