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Securing an Earlier Effective Date for TDIU: What You Need to Know

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Disability Compensation


A total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU or IU) is an extremely valuable benefit provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans whose service-connected disabilities render them unable to secure and maintain substantially gainful employment.

The effective date of TDIU determines the amount of back pay that a veteran receives, and there are unique rules governing the effective dates for TDIU that can sometimes allow a veteran to obtain an effective date well prior to when they first submitted a claim for TDIU.

In this post, I will explore some of the ways it is sometimes possible to receive an earlier effective date.

Qualifying for an Earlier Effective Date for TDIU:

There are several scenarios in which a veteran may be eligible for an earlier effective date for TDIU:

  1. Implicit TDIU Claim: In the landmark case of Rice v. Shinseki, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) ruled that a claim for TDIU can be implicitly raised by the evidence in a veteran’s file, even if the veteran did not explicitly request TDIU benefits. This means that the VA has a duty to consider TDIU as part of any disability claim if there is evidence in the file indicating that the veteran is unable to work due to a service-connected disability.
  2. New and Material Evidence: Prior to the implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) on February 19, 2019, if a veteran submitted or VA received “new and material evidence” during the appeal period of a decision, then VA was obligated to consider that evidence and issue a new decision. If VA did not consider that evidence and issue a new decision, then the decision was rendered non-final and the original claim pending. You can use this to secure an earlier effective date for TDIU by arguing that you continuously prosecuted TDIU from the date of filing of that still pending claim.

How to Secure an Earlier Effective Date:

The best way to secure for an earlier effective date is to directly appeal the rating decision that granted you entitlement to TDIU. This means when you receive the rating decision from VA granting you TDIU, you have 1 year to file an appeal for earlier effective date.

Your appeal should include argument as to why an earlier effective date is warranted (i.e., there is an implicit TDIU claim in the record), and you should also include evidence to support that earlier effective date. For example, if you are granted TDIU effective June 2019, and you are trying to get an effective date back to January 2010, you will want an expert vocational opinion confirming you were unable to work all the way back to January 2010.


Securing an earlier effective date for TDIU is difficult, but it can be extremely rewarding due to the additional amount of back pay that you can receive. You will want to hire a representative to review every page of your VA claims file to see if there is a possibility for earlier effective date for TDIU. I’ve won cases for earlier effective dates based on a couple words in the file, so it’s important you hire a representative that has a good eye for detail.

Call me today at 800-955-8596 or schedule a free consultation so we can discuss how I can help you win an earlier effective date for TDIU.