What You Need to Know About Total Disability Individual Unemployability Benefits

February 1, 2019
Dayes Law Firm

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces who suffer injuries or develop illnesses during their service may be entitled to disability benefits when their service ends. The amount of monthly benefits you receive is based on your disability rating – you are eligible for benefits if the rating is 10 percent or above.

The higher the rating, the more you receive, which means veterans with a 100 percent disability rating receive the highest amount of money per month. These veterans are completely disabled so they are unable to work to earn a living.

However, sometimes veterans have a rating of less than 100 percent, but are still unable to participate in gainful employment. These individuals may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits. If you qualify, you receive benefits at the 100 percent level, even though your disability is not rated that high.

Below, you can learn more about TDIU benefits, including eligibility requirements, the duration of this benefit, and how much you could receive. Our Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to help you pursue the veterans benefits you deserve. Schedule your free legal consultation right now.

Am I Eligible for TDIU Benefits?

There are several eligibility requirements for TDIU benefits, based on your inability to work and the rating of your service-connected disability.

The first thing to remember is you must have a service-connected disability. Your medical condition will be considered to be connected to your military service if both of the following statements are true:

  • You were on active duty, duty for training or inactive duty training
  • You have a condition with a disability rating

One of the following statements must also be true for you to qualify for disability benefits:

  • You became injured or sick during your service and can link your disability to this injury or sickness
  • You were disabled before your service began and your service caused the condition to worsen
  • You are suffering from a disability that did not appear until after your military service ended

If you can prove you have a service-connected disability, the next step is proving you meet TDIU eligibility requirements. There are three basic criteria:

  • If you have one service-connected disability, it must be rated at 60 percent or more
  • If you have two disabilities, one must be rated at 40 percent or more and your combined rating must be at least 70 percent
  • You must be unemployable because of your disabilities

Proving you are unemployable or unable to substantially maintain gainful employment will require the following:

  • Employment records or other evidence of your unemployability
  • Medical records, such as a doctor’s opinion, proving your condition renders you totally disabled and unemployable

This does not mean you are disqualified for having a paying job. In order to still receive benefits while working, you must have a job that fits certain criteria, such as:

  • Paying substantially less than the poverty level
  • It is protected from requirements that someone else in the position would be expected to satisfy, or
  • You are working for a friend or relative

Another thing to remember about eligibility for benefits is that you cannot receive them if you were dishonorably discharged from your service. As long as your discharge was something other than dishonorable, you are still potentially eligible.

Filing a Claim for TDIU Benefits

If you think you may be eligible for benefits, you must gather documentation of your military service and disability, including your discharge papers, service treatment records, and medical reports from doctors and hospitals on your condition. You will also need documentation of your inability to maintain gainful employment, such as employment records.

Use this information to complete an application for disability compensation. There are three ways you can apply:

How Much Will I Receive?

If your claim for TDIU benefits is approved, you should receive compensation at the level of a 100 percent disability. The amount of benefits for a veteran who is 100 percent disabled is $3,057.13. The amount increases if the veteran has dependents, such as a spouse or children:

  • $3,171.12 for a veteran with a child only
  • $3,193.92 for a veteran with one parent
  • $3,227.58 for a veteran with a spouse
  • $3,307.91 for a veteran with one parent and a child
  • $3,330.71 for a veteran with two parents
  • $3,352.41 for a veteran with a spouse and child
  • $3,364.37 for a veteran with a spouse and one parent
  • $3,444.70 for a veteran with two parents and a child
  • $3,489.20 for a veteran with a spouse, one parent and a child
  • $3,501.16 for a veteran with a spouse and two parents
  • $3,625.99 for a veteran with a spouse, two parents and a child

It is important to remember that TDIU benefits are not permanent. You may be required to undergo medical examinations periodically to confirm you are unable to work due to your service-connected disability. If you do not report for a scheduled examination, your benefits could be suspended or terminated.

The VA may also periodically request employment information to determine if you are still unable to be gainfully employed. The VA may also review your employment earning with the IRS.

If the VA finds out you were taking part in gainful employment and receiving benefits during this time, you may be forced to pay the VA back the benefits you received. Once your TDIU benefits are stopped or revoked, your compensation level will be based on your disability rating.

Contact Dayes Law Firm Today

If you think you may be eligible for TDIU benefits for your service-connected disability, contact our firm today for a free, no obligation legal consultation. We will explain your legal options and how we can help you pursue the benefits you deserve.

You will not be charged for our services unless you receive fair compensation at the end of the legal process.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 1-800-503-2000.