The SSA finding you totally disabled does not necessarily mean VA will find you eligible for TDIU.
Because the Social Security Administration (SSA) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are two different organizations operating under two different sets of standards, each has a specific definition of “total disability” along with its own set of rules for granting benefits. Despite both being federal agencies, one agency’s decision or standards are not binding to the other.
How Can the VA Deny Me TDIU Benefits When the SSA Has Found Me Totally Disabled?
Aside from VA and SSA having differences in how they define total disability, an issue that frequently arises is whether an applicant provides sufficient evidence to VA that the medical condition impacting his or her ability to work is service connected.
To receive VA disability compensation benefits of any kind, Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) or not, you must establish a nexus between your condition and a specific injury, illness, or event that occurred during your military service. In other words, you cannot receive VA disability because you served in the military and later developed a disability unrelated to your service. You must show that a particular event during your service was the cause of your disability.
When You Might Qualify for Social Security Disability and Not TDIU
Consider this example:
- You served 10 years in the military.
- After leaving the military, you suffered a back injury moving boxes at work. Your back injury makes it impossible for you to work.
In this case, you may be entitled to Social Security disability. You would not be entitled to service-connected compensation, and thus TDIU, because the disability impacting your ability to work was not caused by or incurred during your military service.
However, if you suffered a back injury during your military service and because of it were unable to obtain and maintain gainful employment after service, you could be entitled to TDIU.
What if I Have Multiple Disabilities, Some Service-Connected, Some Not?
It is still possible to receive TDIU benefits if you have both service-connected and non-service-connected disabilities. However, VA will only consider eligibility for TDIU based on your service-connected disabilities.
How Can I Prove to VA That I Qualify for TDIU Benefits?
Unfortunately, recovering TDIU benefits is often quite difficult. However, VA offers a couple of routes to establish eligibility for TDIU benefits.
Proving Your Entitlement for Schedular TDIU
First, you can qualify based on your VA disability rating(s). The VA rates disabilities based on their severity and to what degree they functionally limit the applicant. Ratings run in increments of 10 percent from 0 to 100.
To receive TDIU on a schedular basis, you must have a service-connected condition rated at 60 percent or higher, or you must have multiple conditions that combine for at least a 70 percent rating with one of those conditions assigned a rating of at least 40 percent.
Recovering Extra-Schedular TDIU Benefits
The other way to receive TDIU benefits is on an extraschedular basis. What this ultimately means is that despite not meeting the schedular criteria noted above, your condition still impacts your ability to obtain and maintain substantially gainful employment.
For a Free Consultation with a Member of the CCK Legal Team, Call 800-544-9144 Today
Appealing a TDIU denial can be difficult, but the veterans lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD are ready to help. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you. For your free case evaluation with a member of our veterans law team, call our office at 800-544-9144.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
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