There are no rules that prevent disabled Veterans who have been approved for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits from pursuing higher education using their GI Bill benefits. However, if you are able to maintain substantially gainful employment after completing your education, you will no longer qualify for these enhanced VA disability benefits.
What the GI Bill Provides
The Post 9/11-GI Bill provides eligible Veterans with up to 36 months of benefits. This includes the full cost of tuition and fees for public in-state education, as well as money for housing, supplies, and potential relocation costs.
If you ended your service period before January 1, 2013, you have 15 years from your last day of service to use your benefits. If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, your benefits under the GI Bill do not expire.
How Using GI Bill Benefits May Affect TDIU
Eligibility for TDIU is based on whether your disability allows you to maintain substantially gainful employment that is suited to your education and professional skills. These benefits aren’t necessarily permanent. TDIU awards can be reevaluated whenever there is reason to think your situation has changed. This includes any improvement in your health, as well as obtaining new professional skills that make you a competitive candidate for future job opportunities.
If you are seeking training in a lucrative and high-demand field, you may decide that the risk of losing approval for TDIU is worth the opportunity to obtain suitable employment. Even if you no longer qualified for TDIU, you would still have a service-connected disability that would receive benefits at a reduced level.
If you decide that pursuing further education throughout the GI Bill isn’t the right choice, keep in mind that your benefits can be transferred to your spouse or child. Transferring your GI Bill benefits will not affect your TDIU in any way.
We Can Help You Access the Benefits You Deserve
Our firm is committed to helping Veterans access the benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced Veterans benefits lawyer.