Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits are intended to help Veterans with service-connected disabilities that keep them from working. When a Veteran is approved for TDIU, they receive the same financial compensation as someone with a 100% VA scheduler rating—even if they would not qualify for this level of compensation under the schedular criteria.
TDIU generally requires that a Veteran either be unemployed or working in a position paying less than a poverty-level wage. However, Veterans who earn a wage that would normally be considered substantially gainful employment may still be able to receive TDIU benefits if their job can be classified as sheltered employment.
About Sheltered Employment
For the purpose of VA disability applications, sheltered employment means that your employer knows about your service-connected disability and makes accommodations that allow you to continue working. Often, sheltered work environments involve working for a family member or a close personal friend.
There are no specific criteria used to automatically determine whether a position is considered sheltered employment. However, the following might suggest your current work environment could qualify:
- You are able to work a flexible schedule to accommodate for your chronic fatigue or necessary medical appointments.
- You are allowed extra break time due to your condition.
- You are frequently late to work, but not disciplined for your tardiness.
- If you aren’t feeling well, you are allowed to leave work early with no repercussions.
- You aren’t expected to meet the same production guidelines as other workers.
- Other employees cover duties that would normally be part of your position.
- You are allowed to skip meetings or trainings that other workers must attend.
- You have access to accommodations not provided to other workers.
The Value of Legal Representation
If you believe you are entitled to TDIU benefits even though you are currently working, the best way to increase your chances of approval is to work with our Veterans benefits lawyers to thoroughly document your service-connected disability and the effects of your sheltered work environment. See what one Veteran had to say about our services, then call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.