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Court Wins

CCK Successfully Argues for TDIU for Vietnam War Era Veteran

Lisa Ioannilli

July 25, 2022

Updated: November 20, 2023

multiple sclerosis

Case Summary

The Veteran served in the Air Force from January 1966 to August 1973.

In March of 2021, the Veteran filed a supplemental claim for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).  Additionally, the Veteran filed for benefits for cancer residuals for bladder cancer, increased benefits for deep vein thrombosis, an incisional hernia, scars, and erectile dysfunction.

Prior to this filing, the Veteran was service connected for bladder cancer residuals at 60 percent, deep vein thrombosis at 10 percent, hernia, erectile dysfunction, and scars at 0 percent.  The effective date for the Veteran’s benefits was January 2017. The Veteran had previously been denied benefits for TDIU.

CCK Argues on Behalf of Veteran for TDIU

The Veteran had last worked as an ironworker in June 2009.  Using financial documentation and evidence, CCK argued that the Veteran had not received substantially gainful employment since he held this position in 2009.  From 2017 to 2019, the Veteran received only marginal earnings from occasionally mowing laws for his subdivision on a riding lawn mower.  As such, CCK reasoned that any earnings the Veteran received, during the timeframe he was eligible for VA disability benefits, must be considered marginal.

Additionally, CCK needed to prove that the Veteran’s service-connected disabilities prevented him from maintaining substantially gainful employment.  CCK argued that the Veteran’s bladder cancer residuals, deep vein thrombosis, and hernia caused fatigue, swelling, and pain in the legs and feet.

CCK also relied on medical evidence and evidence collected from VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) exams to prove that the Veteran’s conditions caused flare-ups that inhibited his ability to work.  The Veteran also submitted lay evidence that his legs and feet often swell to the size of basketballs and prevent him from walking more than a quarter mile at a time.

Further, the Veteran’s bladder cancer residuals forced him to wake up every hour and a half to use the bathroom.  After bladder surgery, the Veteran’s bladder was replaced with a fake bladder which does not cause the urge to go to the bathroom.  This often causes him to have accidents.

As such, CCK reasoned that the Veteran should be entitled to TDIU based on the physical and mental limitations caused by his service-connected disabilities.

The Board Agrees with CCK’s Arguments

The Board of Veterans’ Appeal, in a decision issued in June of 2021, found that the Veteran was entitled to TDIU.  Specifically, the Board found that the Veteran met the criteria to make him eligible for TDIU and that his service-connected disabilities prevent him from obtaining gainful employment.

With the decision, the Veteran was granted TDIU benefits dating all the way back to January 2017, when he first became service connected.

About the Author

Bio photo of Lisa Ioannilli

Lisa joined CCK in March 2012. Lisa is a Senior Attorney focusing on representing disabled veterans in claims pending before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about Lisa