Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits provide compensation at the 100% disability rate for Veterans with service-connected conditions that limit their ability to work. If you’re having trouble working due to your disability, it’s important to understand the different ways you can qualify for TDIU benefits.
Regular TDIU Benefits
The majority of Veterans who receive TDIU qualify under what is referred to as schedular criteria.
The schedular rating needed to qualify depends on your number of service-connected conditions:
- One disability. You must have a rating of 60% or higher.
- Two or more disabilities. You must have a combined rating of 70% or higher and one disability that is rated 40% or higher.
If you meet the basic schedular criteria, you must be able to show that you are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment. While it might seem as though you can’t work at all and receive TDIU, this is not the case. Substantially gainful employment is defined as earning more than a poverty-level wage in a position that does not qualify as a protected work environment. Veterans who work limited hours in odd jobs, are employed by close friends making special accommodations for their disability, or own small businesses may still qualify.
The VA recognizes that no two Veterans are facing the exact same challenges, so the system allows for some discretion in granting TDIU benefits. If you don’t meet the schedular criteria, you can qualify for extra-schedular TDIU if you can make a strong case that your condition presents specific challenges that limit your employment. For example, extra-schedular TDIU is often awarded when a veteran must be frequently hospitalized due to their service-connected disability.
If your disability will only temporarily prevent you from maintaining substantially gainful employment, you may be able to receive TDIU for a limited time period. There are three main times when Veterans qualify for temporary TDIU:
- Prestabilization after being discharged for service-connected injury
- Extended hospital stay of more than 21 days
- Surgery or immobilization
We Can Help You Receive TDIU Benefits
If you believe you may qualify for TDIU benefits, the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law can help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced Veterans benefits lawyer.