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How To File For Unemployability On Ebenefits

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Evidence Requirements For Tdiu

How to file a claim on eBenefits and the VA sucks at Internet application development.
  • Evidence of at least one service-connected disability AND
  • Evidence that the service-connected disability or disabilities are sufficient, without regard to other factors, to prevent performing the mental and/or physical tasks required to get or keep substantially gainful employment AND
  • One disability ratable at 60% or more, OR
  • If more than one disability exists, one disability is ratable at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.

The VA website on TDIU gives two examples of situations where TDIU is appropriate. Before you read the examples, however, it is important to note that the VA disability rating system is not additive, which means if a veteran has two disability ratings, one at the 60% level and one at the 10% level, their combined rating is not 70%. According to the VAs Combined Ratings Table, the combined rating would actually be 64%.

A Veteran has a service-connected heart condition evaluated as 60% disabling. She has been able to work without difficulty until last year when she began to experience chest pain with any exertion. Her physician recommended that she retire as soon as possible. She subsequently filed a claim for increased disability compensation. Evidence regarding the Veterans work history and education was reviewed by the Rating Team. As it confirmed the Veteran was individually unemployable due to her service-connected disability, entitlement to compensation at the rate payable to a 100% disabled Veteran was granted.

Types Of 100 Percent Va Disability Ratings

Total disability ratings, or 100 percent disability ratings, from the Department of Veterans Affairs are often confusing to veterans, particularly because they are unsure if they can work after receiving this rating.

The Savannah veterans disability attorneys of The Nye Law Group have put together a helpful guide to 100 percent VA disability ratings. The guide explains the different types of total disability ratings and when you can work if you have received one of these ratings.

If you are struggling to obtain the benefits you are entitled, our experienced VA disability lawyers may be able to help you. Contact us today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

How Do I Get A Tdiu Rating

In order to receive a TDIU rating, you must have served in the U.S. military and have at least one service-related disability . As an alternative to the second condition, you must have two or more service-related injuries . The idea is that you are unable to keep gainful employment, which does not include odd jobs or marginal employment.

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What If I Dont Meet The Va Disability Rating Criteria For Tdiu Benefits Eligibility

To summarize, according to 38 CFR § 4.16, the VA allows veterans with total disability ratings less than 100% to be eligible for TDIU by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • If you have only one service-connected condition, the condition must be rated at least 60% or higher.
  • If you have two or more service-connected conditions, you must have at least one condition rated 40% or higher, with a combined rating of 70% or higher.
  • So, what if you do not meet those requirements but you still cannot work? All is not lost. The VA can grant TDIU according to outside factors not specified in that statutethese are called extra-schedular requirements.

    These standards are much broader than the traditional schedular rating. Outlined in 38 CFR § 4.16 , in order to be considered for extra-schedular evaluation, two principles must be met:

  • The disability must be exceptional or unusual that cannot be properly evaluated by the established rating schedule
  • The disability must include factors such as marked interference with employment or frequent periods of hospitalization.
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    How Do You Determine Whether Your Disabilities Prevent You From Working

    Preparation for notification

    To determine the severity of your disabilities and whether you qualify for TDIU, the Department of Veterans Affairs will look at medical records and other evidence. A trained attorney can take you through the process of gathering that information and ensuring all relevant evidence that is likely to support your case is collected and presented. A legal representative can also file an appeal should your application be denied.

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    Legal Requirements For Qualifying As Unable To Work

    What counts as unable to work in the eyes of the law and the VA?

    According to the VA, substantially gainful employment is employment at which non-disabled individuals earn their livelihood with earnings comparable to the particular occupation in the community where the Veteran resides.

    In simpler words, if a disabled Veteran can make an income that is similar to non-disabled people employed in the same field, he or she is considered able to work.

    To count as substantially gainful employment rather than the income would have to be higher than the poverty threshold per the Census Bureau. In 2016, this was $12,486 per year for an individual under the age of 65 and $11,511 for individuals aged 65 or older.

    Exceptions to these rules are disabled Veterans who are self-employed, work in a family business, or find employment in a sheltered environment. In those cases, the VA may consider you for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability benefits even if you earn an income higher than the poverty threshold.

    If you earn money through the Veterans Health Administrations Compensated Work Therapy Program , this will not count as income when the VA considers your eligibility for TDIU.

    Six: Pending Decision Approval

    During this phase of the TDIU timeline, the VSRs recommendation is examined. If the VSRs recommendation is approved, the VA will follow the VSRs recommendation and an award or denial will be made.

    Guess what could also happen during this phase of the TDIU timeline? The VA has the option to request more evidence. If that happens, youll go back in the TDIU timeline to step three.

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    Will I Get Back Pay For Tdiu

    Once you submit your Individual Unemployability claim, it can take months or years before your claim is resolved. If VA grants the TDIU rating, what about all that time you were waiting and received no benefits at all? This can add up to many thousands of dollars.

    VA does reimburse this and the payment is referred to as TDIU back pay, or retroactive pay. Usually, the VA pays this as a lump sum. The number one thing you need to do is make sure VA dated this back pay amount correctly.

    The correct date the TDIU retroactive payments should begin is the effective date and not the date you applied for benefits. Remember, the effective date is the date you were found to first be unemployable. The difference can be years before you ever filed your application to VA.

    How To Apply For Individual Unemployability Benefits

    7 Most Important VA Forms (and How to Use Them)

    There are a few ways to apply for individual unemployability benefits. You can complete VA Form 21-8940 . This form will ask you to submit details on your disability and medical treatment, your work history over the last five years, and any type of education and training you had before becoming disabled and being unable to work. It can be mailed to the VAs claims intake center or via fax.

    You can also go to a local VA regional office to get assistance filing out the application or work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or veterans service organization representative. The last option available is applying through eBenefits, which offers a comprehensive way to apply and manage your benefits online.

    If you are approved for disability compensation, you will be issued benefits each month. You may be able to receive extra monthly compensation on top of your benefits in the event you have dependent children and parents. Back pay could also be owed to you. This is the money that should have been given to you while waiting on the VA to make a decision on your claim.

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    Am I Eligible For Disability Benefits From Va

    You may be eligible for disability benefits if you meet both of these requirements.

    Both of these must be true:

    • You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilitieswith at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or moreand
    • You cant hold down a steady job that supports you financially because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs dont count.

    Note: In certain casesfor example, if you need to be in the hospital oftenyou may qualify at a lower disability rating.

    What If Va Denies My Ptsd Claim For Iu

    If VA denies IU for your PTSD or assigns the wrong effective date, appeal. With the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act you have three tracks for an appeal. You can appeal in the RO, submit a new claim or appealing to the BVA. If you win under any of these tracks then your effective date is the same as the first claim. You must appeal within one year though. If the veteran fails to appeal within one year, the decision becomes final. The only way reopen it is by submitting new and relevant evidence or by showing CUE in the decision.

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    Va Benefits For Family Members

    In some cases, family members of deceased soldiers can apply for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation , a VA benefit.

    The VA says that the surviving spouse, child, or parents of a military service member who died in the line of duty can apply for DIC, a tax-free monthly payment.8 9

    This benefit is also available to family members of a veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, according to the VA. 8.9

    Surviving parents can use VA Form 21-535 to apply.

    A surviving spouse or child can use VA Form 21-534a if the service member died in the line of duty. Otherwise, VA Form 21-534 should be used.

    Three: Gathering Of Evidence


    In this phase of the TDIU timeline for applications, your assigned VSR will request evidence. The VA may request records from your doctors, Social Security Administration, your C-File, and from you.

    Remember, the VA has a duty to assist your TDIU claim, but it does not always follow the law. Do not rely solely upon the VA for evidence. You should build a case on your own. Do not assume the VA is going to successfully request every relevant medical record.

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    Three: Get Lay Statements

    Lay statements from family and friends are often helpful when veterans are applying for benefits for mental conditions. Lay statements can help further the veterans story by showing how military service changed the veteran therefore service-connecting the mental impairment. Lay statements can also be used to show the VA the severity of mental conditions and how they affect the veterans life.

    How Do I Obtain A Permanent And Total Disability Rating

    The first thing you must do to obtain a permanent and total disability rating is to prove that your condition is service-connected.

    There is no VA benefits application for permanent and total disability. But if you believe that your total disability is unlikely to improve, and you have supporting evidence for this, you can write a letter to the VA requesting them to find you permanently and totally disabled.

    You should include medical evidence in your letter to support the request, including but not limited to medical reports, doctors notes, and treatment records.

    The VA may determine at the time you apply for benefits that you are permanent and totally disabled. Be prepared to support this claim in the event they dont so designate you first.

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    How Do I Get These Benefits

    Youll need to file a claim for disability compensation. When you file, youll have to provide evidence showing that your disability prevents you from holding down a steady job. Well also review your work and education history.Example: A Veteran has a service-connected heart condition and a 60% disability rating. She was still able to work until last year when she began to get chest pain when doing anything physical, like walking or lifting boxes. Her doctor told her to retire as soon as possible. She filed a claim for more disability compensation. We reviewed her work and education history and agreed that she was individually unemployable because of her service-connected disability. So we increased her disability compensation to the same rate as a 100% disabled Veteran.

    When you file a disability claim, youll also need to fill out these additional forms for Individual Unemployability benefits:

    • A Veterans Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability

    Medical Evidence To Include

    When should Veterans apply for VA Disability? | Department of Veterans Affairs | theSITREP

    Medical evidence can support your TDIU claim by showing how your service-connected disabilities prevent you from obtaining and sustaining substantially gainful employment. Some medical evidence can include the following:

    • Medical Diagnoses
    • Dates of treatment and hospitalization
    • Medical opinion or letter from your doctor
    • Other Documentation from your doctor appointments that supports your inability to hold a job.

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    Qualifying For Tdiu Benefits

    Military service requires certain sacrifices. Whether giving up time with loved ones or personal safety, all veterans have made sacrifices for their country. When the results of those sacrifices jeopardize a veterans ability to work, however, it can be difficult to pay the bills and put food on the table. Thats why the Department of Veterans Affairs offers Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits for disabled veterans .

    Unfortunately, the process for applying for such benefits can be time-consuming. The TDIU requirements include having evidence of service-connected disabilities and proof that the veteran is unable to work. Applying for benefits can feel overwhelming but connecting with a VA benefits attorney who has extensive knowledge in TDIU benefits can make the process simpler.

    We Are With Those Who Need A Helping Hand

    The Supplemental Security Income program is a program that provides income support to people with disabilities, people age 65 or older, or blind, who have low income and resources. U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust funds, pay for SSI.

    If you or someone you know may be eligible for SSI, visit to learn more and apply.

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    What Is A 100 Percent Va Disability Rating

    Your disability rating is the percentage the VA assigns to your disability when determining eligibility for various VA benefits. Your rating can range from 0 to 100 percent in 10 percent increments.

    There are several different types of 100 percent VA disability ratings, according to Department of Veterans Affairs Code § 3.340:


    These are disabilities caused by injuries that occurred or were aggravated during your service.

    If you receive a 100 percent disability rating for one service-connected disability, or a combination of these disabilities, you are still able to work full time without disrupting your benefits.


    Total disability/individual unemployability is a disability rating that may be granted if a veterans claim asserts that he or she be paid benefits at the 100 percent disabled rates, even though the disability or disabilities rate below 100 percent.

    These claims can be made by a veteran if a service-connected disability prevents him or her from maintaining gainful employment.

    To qualify, a veteran must:

    • Have a single disability with a rating of 60 percent or a single disability with a rating of 40 percent, paired with additional disabilities equaling a rating of 70 percent or more
    • Medical documentation establishing why the veteran cannot work in physical and sedentary jobs

    Va Individual Unemployability Lawyer

    Individual Unemployability benefits are given to veterans with service-connected disabilities that prevent them from keeping or obtaining substantial gainful employment. In other words, if a veterans disabilities prevent him or her from working or accomplishing minimal work, he or she may be eligible to receive Individual Unemployability benefits. The important aspect of TDIU is that it enables the VA to pay certain veterans disability compensation at the 100% rate even if the veterans disability rating is lower than that.

    If a Veteran has at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 60%, or two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one disability rated at 40% or more and with a combined rating of 70% or more, the veteran may qualify. The other requirement is that the veteran must prove they are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of the service-connected disabilities. If there is evidence to show that the service-connected disability or disabilities create an unusual or restrictive living situation, the requirements can be modified. For example, if the veterans disability requires frequent or ongoing hospitalizations, his or her ability to hold down a job would not be possible.

    If you filed a TDIU claim and the VA denied it, contact us for help with the appeals process. We provide free consultations to veterans nationwide.

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    How To Start The Application Process

    Its important to ensure your paperwork and process is carried out in the proper manner.

    Ensure you file the Correct Application Form

    You must correctly fill out the Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability form, VA Form 21-8940, Veterans Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability. This form requires all information to be accurate and complete. If you fail to include all of the information and documentation, VA may defer or deny your claim.

    When filling out this form, you must include all the requested information along with any supporting documentation. Any inaccurate information or incomplete sections may lead VA to deny or defer your TDIU claim.

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