Exploring the Two Types of TDIU Claims

Many military veterans qualify for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits but are unaware of how to proceed with the claim. There are two types of claims, both of which are available to servicemen who have been totally disabled while in the line of service.

Veterans who can prove that they are not employable based on their injuries are eligible for several benefits, but getting a quick payout means knowing how the system works and how to apply.

There is a common misconception that a veteran is only eligible for TDIU if he or she meets a disability rating of 60% or a combined rating of 70%. The truth is that any veteran can qualify for TDIU if any one of their service injuries renders them completely unemployable, regardless of the disability rating.

Two Types of TDIU

There are two types of TDIU claims that veterans may be eligible for. Reviewing each one is vital to ensure that you are approved the first time and don’t have to wait to get your benefits.

Schedular Claims

These are the most common types of claims. Vets apply for schedular claims if they have obtained a 100 percent disability rating and they have a single service-related disability that accounts for 60% of that rating. The veteran can also file a schedular claim if two or more of the disabilities amount to 70 percent of the rating.

Extra-Schedular Claims

These claims factor in extra circumstances when deciding whether a veteran will be considered totally unemployable to qualify for TDIU. The Veteran’s Affairs Department will check whether the veteran is receiving social security disability payments, suffers from conditions that are not connected to service, or has an extensive history of employment or education. The VA will also consider a veteran’s hospitalization that may interfere with their ability to work.

Benefits and Claims

The standard benefit payment for TDIU veterans is $3,000, with additional funds available if the veteran has a spouse or dependents. If the veteran is working but earning less than the federal poverty threshold, he is considered marginally employed, which means that it is not “substantially gainful” and thus makes the veteran eligible for TDIU.

If the veteran works in a protected work environment, such as a family business or one that is tailored to a veteran’s specific limitations, he can earn more than the federal poverty line and still receive TDIU.

The VA also gives veterans benefits if their service-related injuries prevent them from getting or keeping a job. It may be harder for a veteran who uses a wheelchair to find and keep a job, for example.

Strengthening Your Claim

There are several steps you can take to ensure that your TDIU claim is approved. These include:

  • Asking your last employer to complete the VA Form 21-4192. This form documents your complete employment history. If your former employer is no longer available, you can submit an affidavit that lists your work history.
  • Getting a statement from your physician that confirms that you are unable to work.
  • Submitting a VA Form 21-8940, which is an application for benefits increase based on unemployability. The government will deny your claim if you do not submit this form.
  • Hiring a TDIU lawyer (more details in the link). There are so many missteps that can delay or get your claim denied. An experienced attorney can ensure that you correctly fill out each form and submit all the information necessary to speed up the claim approval process.

Final Thoughts

There are two types of TDIU claims veterans who were disabled while in the line of duty can apply for: schedular claims and extra-schedular claims. The latter are designed to allow veterans that do not meet all VA schedular eligibility requirements to still get access to TDIU benefits.

But extra-schedular applicants must prove that their service-connected disability prevented them from finding and securing substantially gainful employment when they were back to civilian life. Talking to a TDIU lawyer when not eligible for schedular benefits can greatly streamline the process.