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TDIU Success Rate: Understanding The Two-Step Analysis To Qualify For A TDIU Rating

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | July 27, 2021 | Disability Compensation

Veterans who are incapable of securing and maintaining substantially gainful employment may qualify for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (a “TDIU” or “IU”). If awarded a TDIU, a veteran will be paid at the 100% disability rate even though their combined disability rating is less than 100%.

Substantially gainful employment is generally defined as earning less than the Federal Poverty Level for one person, which in 2021 is $12,800 per year. However, you can still receive a TDIU even if you earn more than the Federal Poverty Level if you work in a “protected” or “sheltered” work environment, such as a family business, self-employment, or a job where the employer makes substantial accommodations for your disability.

In order to receive a TDIU, you have to prove that your service-connected disabilities make you unable to work and earn above the Federal Poverty Level. The VA likes to pretend that you have to meet certain “rating requirements” in order to receive a TDIU, and while the regulation does include those rating requirements, there is a process called “extraschedular TDIU” where you can receive a TDIU even if you don’t meet those rating requirements.

The rating requirements for schedular TDIU are:

As mentioned above, even if you don’t meet those rating requirements, you can still qualify for “extraschedular TDIU.” It’s the exact same benefit (VA pays you at the 100% payment rate), but you have to jump through some extra hoops and it generally takes longer to win an appeal for extraschedular TDIU.

However, don’t let that deter you from applying. The bottom line is that if you have a service-connected disability that prevents you from working, even if it is only rated at 10%, you should apply for a TDIU.

Speak to an Experienced VA Disability Lawyer Today

Are you planning on filing a disability claim? Get in touch with After Service LLC to explore your options. You can arrange your free consultation with our experienced VA disability lawyer by calling 844-838-7529 or completing our online form on the Contact page.

VA Individual Unemployability FAQs

Who’s Eligible for a TDIU?

Any veteran, regardless of their ratings, who can’t work due to their service-related disabilities.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My VA Benefits Appeal?

It’s always smart to hire an attorney to assist with an appeal for VA benefits. Especially when you are unable to work and need the money to keep a roof over your head. A good VA benefits attorney will help you develop the evidence needed to win a TDIU appeal as soon as possible.

What Evidence Do I Need to Qualify for TDIU?

You will need proof that one or all your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working. In our opinion, the single most important piece of evidence in an appeal for TDIU benefits is a vocational assessment from a qualified vocational expert, which we can help you obtain.