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TDIU Attorney: Total Disability Individual Unemployability Benefits

total disability individual unemployability

TDIU Veterans Lawyer: VA Disability Compensation

Are you eligible for TDIU?

If your serviced-connected injury or illness prevents you from earning a living, but the VA has not granted you a 100% disability rating, seeking Individual Unemployability status may be appropriate for you. It allows the VA to pay certain veterans disability compensation at the 100% rate, even though the VA has not rated the service-connected disabilities at the total level.

The VA benefits lawyers of George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can advise you about your eligibility for Individual Unemployability (IU) and help you obtain this valuable benefit if you qualify. We know the VA bureaucracy and the evidence required to obtain favorable benefit claim decisions for disabled veterans. Our objective for every disabled vet we assist is to obtain the maximum benefit available for them.

The VA requires veterans to prove their qualifications for disability benefits and, even then, the VA routinely denies legitimate TDIU claims. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you avoid losing money because of the VA bureaucracy. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for assistance today.

You do not have to go it alone. We want you to have ALL of the VA compensation you deserve.

Qualifying for the VA’s Individual Unemployability Benefit

The VA’s Individual Unemployability (IU) benefit represents somewhat of a loophole for disabled veterans in the VA system. It allows a total disability rating for compensation (100%) to be assigned to a vet when the vet’s objective disability rating is less than total according to the VA rating schedule.

The IU benefit, sometime referred to as TDIU (Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability), is based on the vet’s inability to maintain “substantially gainful employment” due to a service-connected illness or injury.

VA regulations require the vet to have at least one serviced-connected disability rated at 60% or more. Or, if the vet has multiple disabilities, at least one must be ratable at 40% or more, and in combination the vet’s disabilities confer a combined rating of 70% or more.

Veterans who do not meet the minimum disability rating requirements for IU may be considered if they can demonstrate exceptional or unusual circumstances, such as that their disabilities directly interfere with their employability or require hospitalization often enough to make steady employment impractical.

The veteran’s claim must show that their service-connected disability or disabilities are “sufficient, without regard to other factors, to prevent performing the mental and/or physical tasks required to get or keep substantially gainful employment.”

“Substantially gainful employment” is defined as “employment at which non-disabled individuals earn their livelihood with earnings comparable to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides.”

VA regulations also make it clear that substantially gainful employment is more than marginal employment, which is a secondary standard for evaluating a vet’s earnings. Marginal employment is defined as earning income that does not exceed the poverty threshold for one person as established by the Census Bureau. For 2016, that threshold was $12,4861 for an individual under age 65 and $11,511 1 for an individual age 65 or older.

Vets in sheltered work environments, employed by family businesses or self-employed may earn more than marginal employment income and still be considered for IU.

Money earned by participating in the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program is not counted as income for IU purposes.

A vet who has a 100% disability rating according to the VA rating schedule is permitted to maintain substantially gainful employment, but an IU benefit recipient is not.

TDIU Attorney: Eligibility Requirments for VA Benefits

Evidence that must be part of a veteran’s disability benefits claim to obtain IU / TDIU benefits includes:

  • Medical evidence allowing evaluation of the veteran’s current physical and mental condition, e.g., results of VA examinations, hospital reports, and/or outpatient records. As in other claims, the VA may schedule a medical examination if the veteran’s medical evidence is incomplete or inconsistent.
  • Employment and work history for five years prior to the date on which the veteran became too disabled to work, as well as for any work performed after this date.
  • Forms completed by each employer for whom the veteran worked during the 12-month period prior to the date the veteran last worked.
  • Social Security Administration reports if the vet receives Social Security Disability benefits, if the veteran’s other evidence is insufficient to award 1 compensation
  • Records from the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E) if evidence suggests rehab was undertaken but unsuccessful or was found to be medically unfeasible.

If the IU benefit is granted, the vet must complete a VA employment questionnaire each year until the age of 69 to affirm that he or she remains incapable of maintaining substantially gainful employment.

VA disability raters are trained to consider IU only in exceptional cases. Examiners are also to consider the vet’s age and distinguish between retirement and inability due to age as opposed to a true service-connected disability resulting in unemployability.

As in other cases, VA claims examiners may request additional information at any time to supplement or clarify evidence in a veteran’s claim. This, of course, slows the process.

Our objective at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is to avoid unnecessary delays or rejection of an IU benefits claim by identifying and obtaining all necessary records to ensure every claim forwarded on behalf of our clients is thorough, clear and convincing.

Our TDIU Lawyer will Fight for Your IU 100% Disability Rating by the VA

The veterans’ disability lawyers of George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, can discuss requesting a total disability rating based in individual unemployability (IU or TDIU) from the VA with you and help you compile the necessary evidence for such as disability rating. If it is at all possible for you to obtain this 100% disability benefit, we want you to have it.

George Sink, P.A. veterans’ disability lawyers have helped thousands of disabled individuals receive the full benefit the U.S. government promised them. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation assessment of your qualifications for IU benefits, and will fight for you if there is a way forward.

Attorney  George Sink Sr. is a disabled Vietnam veteran who has been fighting for vets and other injured and disabled individuals since 1977. Our primary objective is to get ALL disability benefits available to our clients into their hands as soon as possible.

The VA is a large, overworked bureaucracy burdened by complex rules and regulations. Don’t fight it alone. Call the experienced legal team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today.