Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) is a form of 100% disability through the VA. Veterans who can’t maintain employment because of their service-connected injuries may be eligible for TDIU. The VA pays TDIU claims at the same level as those given to veterans with a 100 percent disability. However, the veteran does not have to be rated at 100%. Confused? We will explain exactly how to see if you meet the TDIU requirements.
Schedular 100% versus TDIU Requirements
Combat Craig is currently rated at a schedular 100%. In other words, all of his disabilities together equal 100%. This is a hard task, and it took him many years to accomplish this mission. A schedular 100% rating is better than TDIU. The schedular rating is based on more disabilities, and it is more difficult for the VA to reduce a 100% rating. However, TDIU is an excellent option for anyone who can not get to 100% directly.
Ultimately, Combat Craig cannot maintain steady employment because of his service-connected Combat PTSD. He would be an excellent candidate for TDIU. In fact, he had explored applying for TDIU. However, that become unnecessary once the VA rated him at 100%. I would encourage you to attempt reaching 100% before you file for TDIU.
TDIU Is A Great Second Option
If you cannot achieve a 100% schedular rating, then TDIU is likely your best option. You will need to prove to the VA that your service-connected conditions make it impossible for you to maintain employment. The good news is that the VA will take into consideration all of your service-connected disabilities to meet the TDIU requirements.
Can I Include My Non-Combat Mental Health Rating?
On that note, too many veterans believe the VA treats mental health ratings differently bases on combat versus non-combat. However, that is simply not the case. In fact, the VA rates all mental health claims using the same criteria. In short, it does not matter what diagnosis the VA assigns to your claim. It only matters that the VA properly rates you under the mental health schedule.
Vocational Experts And the TDIU Requirements
The main TDIU requirement to prove that your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working. In theory, you can do this through a mix of personal statements, and your medical history. It is important that your personal statements clearly illustrate that your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working. However, do not embellish and do not send them a 20 page personal statement. In short, focus on being clear and to the point.
In addition, we strongly encourage veterans to look at hiring a vocational expert. A vocational expert is someone whose role is to prove you meet the TDIU requirements. Their expert opinion is strong evidence to support your claim. Check out our BOOT CAMP for more information on vocational experts.
TDIU Requirements: Schedular VS Nonschedular
Normally, the following are the TDIU requirements:
- One service-connected condition rated at least 60-percent or greater OR
- Two or more service-connected conditions that equal 70% or greater, AND one of these conditions must be 40% on its own.
The VA refers to these standard TDIU requirements as schedular TDIU. However, the VA intends the TDIU claims to have some flexibility. A nonschedular TDIU rating can be assigned when the veteran does not meet the above TDIU requirements. Ultimately, the VA will review nonschedular TDIU claims on a case-by-case basis.
The Application VA Form 21-8940
Ultimately, you will fill out VA Form 21-8940 to apply for TDIU. It is essential that you study this form. You need to show you meet the TDIU requirements. I always recommend you file and submit VA forms online.
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