Total Disability Rating Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU or IU)

Are you struggling to find or keep employment due to a service-related disability? You may qualify for payment at the 100% rate even if your disabilities are not rated as 100% disabled by VA.

Many veterans with disabilities face challenges when it comes to not only performing everyday activities but also finding gainful employment and making ends meet. No matter how long ago you were injured, it can be a difficult process to manage the pain and limitations caused by your disability while trying to earn a living.

At Vetus Legal, we understand how difficult it can be to live with a disability and overcome the struggles that come along with it. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping military veterans get the benefits and assistance they need to live fulfilling and fruitful lives.

TDIU stands for “Total Disability Rating based on Individual Unemployability.” It’s a VA benefit offered to veterans who are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected disabilities.

This benefit provides financial compensation to veterans with a less-than-total disability rating and pays the same amount as a veteran with a 100% disability rating. Veterans who receive TDIU VA benefits are not rated as 100% disabled. Rather, their disability hinders them from earning a substantially gainful wage – that is, if they cannot earn from employment more than the poverty rate for a single person – and as such, are entitled to payment at the 100% rate. However, the law permits you to earn more than the poverty rate in certain circumstances, and it does not necessarily preclude you from working!

If you need assistance navigating the claims process for TDIU VA benefits, contact a VA attorney today for a free case review.

The Difference Between a 100% Rating and TDIU

A 100% disability rating is based on the combined effects of a veteran’s service connected disabilities. Using VA’s combined ratings calculations, the ratings “combine” (not add) up to 100%. The veteran’s ability to work and earn wages is not directly taken into consideration.

For TDIU, a veteran’s disability ratings combine to less than 100%, but the combined effects of the disabilities render the veteran unable to obtain or maintain employment earning wages above the federal poverty rate (known as a “substantially gainful occupation”).

TDIU VA Eligibility Requirements

If your VA disability rating is less than 100%, but you still can’t get or hold a job that supports you financially, you may be able to get TDIU benefits.

In order to qualify for TDIU VA benefits, however, you must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Qualified Veteran Status

The first requirement for TDIU eligibility is that you are a U.S. veteran who was not dishonorably discharged from the military.

Service-Related Disability With Certain Ratings

Next, you must have at least one service-connected disability. This means that your disability must be linked somehow to a disease, injury or event you experienced during your military service period.

Your disability must also meet certain criteria when it comes to ratings. For example, generally, if you have one disability, it must have a 60% or higher rating and if you have two or more service-related disabilities, one must have a 40% or higher rating, and the combined rating of all disabilities must be 70% or higher.

Inability To Obtain Or Maintain Gainful Employment

TDIU VA benefits are reserved for veterans who can prove that their disability prevents them from obtaining or keeping employment that can financially support them above a substantially gainful amount.