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What is Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or TDIU?

Veterans suffering from physical and mental disabilities caused or in connection with their service can significantly impact their employability and thus affect their ability to provide for themselves and their dependents financially. Such an issue is exacerbated if a veteran happens to fall under the 100% disability rating set by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). To hopefully alleviate some of these veterans’ challenges, the VA has created a special designation called TDIU, or the Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability Program. This benefit can be an excellent helpline for disabled veterans, providing them compensation equivalent to a 100% disability rating.

What is Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or TDIU?

TDIU stands for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability. This benefit is a unique rating within the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability system. It allows veterans to receive compensation at the same rate as those with a 100% disability rating, even if their combined disability percentage falls below that mark. Under the TDIU designation, it recognizes that specific disabilities, while not individually debilitating to the point of 100% impairment, can nonetheless render a veteran effectively unemployable.

What are the Key Criteria to be Eligible for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or TDIU?

Generally, there are three critical main criteria for a veteran to be eligible under the TDIU designation, and they are as follows:

  1. Service-Connected Disabilities: The veteran’s disability or disabilities must be directly linked to their military service.
  2. Substantial Gainful Employment: The veteran must not secure or maintain “substantial gainful employment” (SGE) due to their disabilities. The VA defines this threshold as earning more than the federal poverty level, with exceptions for specific situations.
  3. Evidence: The veteran must present substantial evidence to support their claim. This includes medical records, vocational assessments, employer statements, and other documentation demonstrating their inability to find or keep SGE.

Are There Any Set Percentages for Obtaining Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or TDIU Eligibility?

No, there are no set percentages associated with obtaining TDIU eligibility.

Although no specific percentages are attached to TDIU eligibility, two general paths often lead to successful claims. These routes are as follows:

  • Single Disability Path: The veteran has a service-connected disability rated at 60% or more.
  • Combined Disability Path: The veteran has two or more service-connected disabilities, with at least one rated at 40% or more, plus a combined rating of 70% or more. In this case, they must directly demonstrate how their disabilities prevent them from SGE.

However, it is critical to understand that these paths are merely general guidelines. Each veteran’s case is unique, and those with lower disability ratings may still qualify for TDIU under certain circumstances. Thus, it is vital to seek the assistance of knowledgeable lawyers in this area of law.

TDIU can be a life-changing benefit for veterans struggling with service-connected disabilities and the challenges of employment. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering strong evidence, and seeking professional guidance, veterans can navigate the path to this crucial benefit and secure the financial support they deserve. However, as with government benefits, navigating through TDIU can be complex. Thus, it is valuable to seek legal assistance from professionals familiar with the eligibility, requirements, and forms to file for TDIU benefits successfully.

If you or a loved one is eligible to claim TDIU, you can count on us to assist you in filing your claim. At McKown and Myers, it’s our job to help Hoosiers like you get the compensation they need to get medical treatment and support their families. We’re here to answer your questions about your TDIU application – call 765-668-7531 or complete our contact form here. There’s no obligation – we’re here to help.