If you or someone you know have ever been denied benefits for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) it can be frustrating.  The VA’s process can be confusing and overwhelming, but you don’t have to walk away. Our vocational experts understand how the VA works and what requirements you need for a TDIU VA Claim. Vocational Experts are able to offer insight in a TDIU VA claim and help answer whether a veteran’s service-connected disabilities prevent him or her from securing substantially gainful employment (“SGE”).

What Is Substantially Gainful Employment In A TDIU VA Claim?

The VA defines substantially gainful employment as “employment that is ordinarily followed by the nondisabled to earn their livelihood with earnings common to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides.

Conversely, the ability to secure employment refers to the veterans success in obtaining work of the type that the veteran is capable of performing that is available in their community.

VA Individual Unemployability

When a veteran is unable to work due to a service-connected disability, they may qualify for what’s known as “Individual Unemployability”. This means that a veteran is able to get disability compensation or benefits at the same level as a veteran who has a 100% disability rating.

For a veteran to get these benefits, veterans must file a claim to the VA for disability compensation. When veterans file, they must provide evidence showing disability, whether this is a doctor’s report or lab test results. The VA will also review the veteran’s education and work history.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For TDIU?

There is a specific set of criteria for veterans if they want to be eligible for disability benefits. If the veteran was injured during military service, or the injury is keeping you from gainful employment, you may be entitled to benefits.

In order to receive disability benefits, veterans must have received either honorable discharge or a general discharge. According to the VA, you must meet both the requirements listed below:

  • You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—and
  • You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment) don’t count.

Note: In certain cases—for example, if you need to be in the hospital often—you may qualify at a lower disability rating.

Reasons Why VA Denies A TDIU Claim

When the VA denies TDIU, there are a few reasons why. Several of these include: requiring veterans to prove 100 percent unemployability from all forms of work, considering age or non-service connected conditions and failing to examine the veteran’s educational and occupational history.

Requiring veterans to prove 100 percent unemployability from all forms of employment

One of the biggest mistakes that VA makes is requiring veterans to prove 100 percent unemployability from all forms of employment. In actuality, the requirements state that a veteran merely has to be disabled from “substantially gainful” occupation.”. However, being disabled from substantially gainful employment does not mean a veteran cannot work. It means that the type of work a veteran can do is limited and/or inadequate enough that it results in wages less than the annual poverty threshold.

VA mistakenly considers non-service-connected disabilities when determining unemployability

The VA has made the mistake in denying a claim based on factors such as age or non-service connected disability. For example, a veteran with a back disability and PTSD is filing a claim. The physical disability is not service connected but the PTSD is. Additionally, the veterans