Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU Benefits)

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Chicago Disability Attorney (38 CFR 4.16)

Comerford Law Office provides legal services for veterans seeking veterans’ disability benefits. James R. Comerford has fulfilled the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs accreditation process and is authorized to represent Veterans seeking disability benefits. Many young military members go overseas just starting their adult lives and with many plans for their future careers. However, too many return to the United States with those plans vastly changed. Many serious injuries sustained at war can prevent a veteran from pursuing their intended career path or even from working at all. If you were injured and are unable to earn a living, you may qualify for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) Veterans’ Compensation.

Generally speaking, the amount of veterans benefits you will receive for your injuries depends on your disability rating as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, if you have an injury or condition that is not 100 percent disabling but still prevents you from getting a job and/or keeping gainful employment, you may qualify for a TDIU rating, which can increase the number of benefits you receive to 100 percent despite having a lower disability rating.

Generally speaking, to qualify for individual unemployability, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a veteran;
  • You have service-related disabilities as follows (one disability with at least a 60 percent disability rating; or two or more disabilities with one rated at least 40 percent and the combined rating for both adding up to at least 70 percent);
  • Your disability renders you unable to sustain gainful employment (odd jobs do not count).

In some rare circumstances, veterans with ratings lower than the above minimums may still be approved for TDIU benefits if their disabilities have specific effects that make it impossible to hold down a job.

Helping You Qualify for TDIU

Many people who do have less than 100 percent disability ratings are not aware that they may be eligible for more benefits if they cannot work. They may struggle to try to survive on their partial benefits and odd jobs since they are unable to hold a job for an extended period of time. Some conditions that may keep you from working include:

  • Back injuries – These can keep you from lifting, moving around, or even from sitting for extended periods of time;
  • Traumatic brain injuries – TBIs can cause cognitive impairments that can make it impossible to focus, follow instructions, or communicate with others;
  • PTSD – Many veterans with PTSD have uncontrollable flashbacks, fears, anger, and other mental struggles that can often lead to termination from a job.

These are only a few of many conditions for which we may be able to get you qualified for TDIU.

VA Unemployability FAQ’s

What Exactly is a VA Unemployability Claim?

A TDIU claim is quite difficult to prove, but you do not have to prove that you are “100% disabled.” The VA will, however, expect you to prove that your disability is real, it meets specific criteria from the VA, your disability was acquired in the line of duty, and it prevents you from sustaining gainful employment. 

What are the VA’s Criteria for Total Disability or Individual Unemployability?

Even if the disability rating assigned to you by the VA is less than 100%, you can still have your rating adjusted to 100% based on individual unemployability. To claim TDIU benefits, you must prove the following:

  • You are already the recipient of service-connected benefits
  • One disability is rated at 60% or higher OR two disabilities are rated at 70% or higher
  • OR, your disability qualifies you for special consideration and the rating method used by the VA should not apply (known as extra-schedular)
  • OR, you have medical or vocational proof that your disability prevents you from working
  • Lastly, you can file a separate claim to have your disability rating increased.

What is the TDIU Effective Date?

The effective date is the date from which you are assigned benefits. This date is not the date that the VA accepts your claim. Instead, it is the date on which you filed the claim (or the date on which the VA received your claim). You will be entitled to back pay from the date your filing was accepted to the date your filing was granted. Additionally, veterans who apply for disability rating changes have effective dates as well. These are calculated from the date the VA receives the claim.

Am I Entitled to Back Pay from the VA?

Yes. Applications can take years to sort out. Once your application has been granted, the VA will pay your claim from the date it received your application. You are entitled to recover payments from the date your application was received to the date your claim is granted.

How Long Does VA Unemployability Last?

Depending on your medical progress, VA unemployability can either be permanent or temporary. In cases in which unemployability is deemed permanent, you will see the P&T (permanent and total) box checked. This means that there will be no future medical exams scheduled to determine your status. In some cases, veterans are re-rated as having higher disabilities, while in other cases, they are re-rated lower. 

Contact an Experienced Chicago Veterans’ Compensation Lawyer For Help

Many different service-related conditions and disabilities can make it impossible for you to keep a job that is sufficient to support yourself. At the Comerford Law Office in Chicago, we understand the many different ways that disabilities can prevent you from earning an adequate living. You do not have to continue struggling to make ends meet with partial veterans disability payments. Instead, you should not hesitate to call dedicated veterans disability attorney James R. Comerford to discuss your options for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) Veterans’ Compensation. Call us today.

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