What Is TDIU?
Many veterans are unable to earn a living because of service-connected disabilities. Congress created a special benefit called TDIU to help these veterans live comfortably. Also known as Unemployability. TDIU pays the same monthly amount as a 100% disability rating. Under 2019 rates, VA will pay TDIU recipients a minimum of $3,057.13 per month tax free. VA will pay an additional amount for each of the veteran’s dependents.
Ways to Get TDIU
It is not enough to tell VA “I cannot work due to disabilities related to service.” To win TDIU, a veteran must meet specific requirements.
Cannot Earn a Living
First, a veteran must prove that he cannot earn a living because of service-connected disabilities. That does not mean that one has to be unemployed. VA will grant TDIU to an employed veteran if the employment is considered marginal. VA considers employment to be marginal if the veteran earns LESS than the federal poverty threshold for one person (in 2018, $12,784.00 per the U.S. Census Bureau).
Must Meet Percentage Requirements
Second, those disabilities must meet the percentage requirements. If the veteran has only one service-connected disability, it must be rated 60% or higher to receive TDIU. If the veteran has more than one service-connected disability, then at least one must be rated 40% or higher. Also, there must be “sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating” to 70% or higher. The regulation specifies five circumstances in which multiple disabilities “will be considered as one disability”. These include when the disabilities result from “common etiology or a single accident.”
Can You Get Total VA Disability?
Disability Help Group has won TDIU for thousands of veterans. Here are a few examples:
- A divorced, 70-year old Vietnam-era veteran had a 20% rating for diabetes, 20% each for diabetic neuropathy in both legs, and 10% each for diabetic neuropathy in both arms. These combined to a 60% rating. As a result of these conditions, he had not worked in 3 years. Because the disabilities all arose from exposure to Agent Orange, we argued that VA should consider them as one service-connected disability and grant TDIU. VA agreed and granted TDIU. His monthly payment changed from $1,062.67 to $3,057.13.
- A married, 35-year old Gulf War veteran asked us to help with an appeal for PTSD. She did not have a VA rating and she just lost her job. We submitted evidence to VA to win the PTSD claim. However, we noticed that she lost her last 2 jobs because of her PTSD. She had daily panic attacks, thoughts of suicide, and was hospitalized for PTSD four times in the last year. We argued that VA should grant her PTSD claim at a 70% rating, and then grant TDIU. VA agreed. Her monthly payment changed from $0 to $3,227.58.
- A single, 50-year old veteran had a 60% rating for Meniere’s disease. His symptoms prevented him from working a full-time job, but he worked as an Uber driver. Because he earned less than $12,784.00 per year with Uber, VA granted TDIU. He continued to receive his income from Uber, but his monthly VA payment changed from $1,062.67 to $3,057.13.
If you are interested in learning more about TDIU you can read the regulation, 38 C.F.R. § 4.16. If you like this article or would like a free case evaluation please fill out a contact form by clicking here.