In short, a veteran who can’t work due to service connected disabilities may be entitled to Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This benefit is commonly referred to simply as unemployability. This is a great benefit that pays at the 100% rate, which is nearly $3,000 for a single veteran. As you might guess, this is a potentially large benefit so the VA fights having to pay. First, they frequently don’t makes veterans aware of it. Second, they try to deny that the veteran is actually unemployable without any reasonable basis. We regularly challenge the VA on their denials of unemployability. Below is additional information on the basic rules for qualifying for unemployabilty. Contact our veterans disability attorneys if you think you may qualify or have been denied.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for Individual Unemployability?
A veteran must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of his/her service-connected disabilities. Additionally, a veteran must have:
- One service-connected disability ratable at 60 percent or more,
- Two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, with a combined rating of 70 percent or more.
How Do I Apply?
- Submit a VA Form 21-8940 Veterans Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability.
- Send application to your nearest VA Regional Office.
What if I Still Have a Job?
- You can still qualify as long as your income is below the poverty level (around $10,000 for a single adult).
What if I Don’t Meet the Percentage Criteria?
Special consideration will be given to veterans when the following criteria is met:
- The veteran is considered unemployable due to a service-connected disability(ies) but fails to meet the minimum percentage standards, OR
- There is evidence of exceptional or unusual circumstances to impairment of earning capacity due to disabilities (for example, interference with employment or frequent periods of hospitalization).
Note 1: Veterans may have to complete an employment questionnaire once a year in order for VA to determine continued eligibility to Individual Unemployability.
Note 2: Veterans already receiving IU occasionally receive a notice from the VA that they are ordered to another Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination to evaluate “improvement” in their condition. If the examination indicates sufficient improvement the VA make take away the IU benefits. If you receive this type of notice you contact our veterans disability attorneys immediately for advice on how to proceed.