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How Does Work and Education Factor Into a TDIU Claim

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | March 7, 2021 | Firm News


Two major factors that VA is required to consider when determining whether the veteran’s service connected disabilities preclude them from securing substantially gainful employment are education and employment history. VA is not allowed to simply imply that work history or education are the reasons for a denied claim without attempting to relate these factors to the disabilities of the veteran.

The US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has stated:

Where the veteran submits a … claim for a TDIU rating … the BVA may not reject that claim without producing evidence, as distinguished from mere conjecture, that the veteran can perform work that would produce sufficient income to be other than marginal.

How Does Education Impact Unemployability?

The type and length of education that a veteran received has a direct impact on the skills they have to do work. A person with a four year college degree will have vastly different skills and abilities than one with an elementary school education. VA is required by law to determine how much education a veteran has, along with how that education has impacted the depth of knowledge a veteran has in relevant subjects. To properly assess how prepared the veteran is to do different kinds of jobs and do a proper vocational analysis, knowing this information is vital.

As an example, actually getting a degree will impact a verteran’s skills differently than a brief stint in college. In one case, The Board of Veteran’s Appeals misrepresented the details in a case about a veteran’s level of education when it discovered that he had “attended college for approximately one year.” However, it was clearly shown that while the veteran attended a full term of community college, he only took two typing courses during his time there. In light of the level of education that he actually received, The Veterans Court remanded the case to the Board to properly evaluate the denied TDIU Claim.

How Does Work History Factor Into Unemployability?

As with education, jobs that a veteran has had in the past allowed them to gain skills that may be relevant to other work. As an example, someone that worked as an engineer for years would be qualified to design bridges, but someone that only did front office work would not. It is the duty of VA to accurately determine what work a veteran has done in the past, so that the skills acquired from past jobs can be accurately assessed.

One often overlooked aspect are skill courses and on the job training that a veteran might attend while on a previous job. Similar to a college, these proved a knowledge base in much the same way by teaching skills and abilities to know how to do certain aspects of a job. VA cannot determine the veteran’s ability to perform work if it does not properly evaluate a veteran’s prior work experience.

Contact a Disability Benefits Attorney Today

Obtaining VA disability compensation can be a complicated process. Knowing what you need to be successful is not always obvious, so working with an experienced VA disability benefits attorney is the best way to secure the money you need.

Gregory M. Rada, Attorney at Law has the knowledge and dedication you need to win compensation and is ready to speak with you today. Helping clients nationwide, call him at (844) 838-7529 for a free phone consultation.