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In order to be eligible for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployment (TDIU) veterans must meet certain criteria. In addition to meeting the combined disability rating threshold, you must be unable to obtain and maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of your service-connected conditions. If this is the case, it is possible for TDIU to be awarded on either a schedular or an extraschedular basis. Determining whether you qualify for TDIU on a schedular or an extraschedular basis depends on your current disability ratings. Read on to learn more.

Continuing to Meet the Requirements for TDIU

You Are Unable to Secure and Follow Substantially Gainful Employment

The inability to secure and follow substantially gainful employment due to your service-connected conditions is the foremost requirement for TDIU eligibility. Substantially gainful employment refers to any employment that is not marginal. Marginal employment is that which 1) does not yield an annual income above the federal poverty threshold, or 2) takes place in a protected work environment.  A protected work environment is one that provides considerable accommodations for a veteran’s service-connected conditions without which the veteran would be unable to continue working.

Once you are granted TDIU, VA will require you to fill out Form 21-4140: Employment Questionnaire on an annual basis until the age of 70.  If VA can prove you were able to maintain substantially gainful employment for “a period of 12 consecutive months,” it may reduce or terminate your TDIU benefits.

Your Disability Rating Meets or Exceeds TDIU Thresholds

Aside from establishing that you are unable to secure and maintain substantially gainful employment, you must also meet specific VA disability rating requirements to receive TDIU. While the compensation of TDIU is equivalent to a 100 percent disability rating, you are not required to have a 100-percent-rated condition in order to be eligible. Instead, you can qualify for TDIU on a schedular basis if:

  • You have a single service-connected condition rated at 60 percent or above or;
  • You have a single service-connected condition rated at 40-percent, and additional service-connected disabilities that bring your combined rating to 70 percent or higher.

However, if your service-connected disabilities do not meet one of these two schedular thresholds, you can apply for extraschedular TDIU. TDIU on an extraschedular basis is warranted when a Veteran does not meet the disability rating criteria outlined above, but is still unable to secure and maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of his or her service-connected conditions.

Is TDIU Permanent?

TDIU can be permanent if VA determines you have a static disability (i.e., a medical condition that will not change or improve).

There are three ways VA will indicate that your TDIU rating is total and permanent. Your rating decision may:

  • Include a statement such as “Eligibility to Dependents Chapter 35 DEA/CHAMPVA are established.”
  • Include the phrase “No future exams are scheduled” (as VA is not planning to reevaluate your condition at a later date.)
  • Include language such as “total disability that is permanent in nature”

For Help Obtaining the Disability Benefits You Need, Contact CCK for a Free Disability Case Evaluation

The team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD works with Veterans seeking VA benefits including TDIU. We have extensive experience dealing with TDIU cases and we have the knowledge and resources to pursue the benefits to which you are entitled. For a free case evaluation with a member of the CCK veterans law team, call today: 800-544-9144.

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