TDIU Requirements: Part 1, Schedular Requirements
Many disabilities can leave a veteran unable to maintain employment. The VA awards 100% disability ratings if they find that the veteran’s service-connected disability inhibits them from being able to work. But, 100% ratings can be rare and hard to achieve. Alternatively, one condition may not render you unable to work, but rather a combination of several conditions. The VA recognizes that veterans without a 100% rating still may not be able to get and keep a job. Because of this, there is another option known as Individual Unemployability which has its own requirements. Disabilities differ in effect and severity for each individual. Those veterans with a disability rating of less than 100% may need that extra compensation in order to combat the lack of income and stability full-time employment provides.
Are there Unemployability Requirements Veterans Must Meet?
The VA provides an opportunity for those in that category to obtain compensation called Total Disability Rating Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU or IU). If you are granted TDIU, the VA has conceded that your disability makes you unable to get and keep a job, and they will pay you at the 100% rate.
TDIU compensation exists to allow those veterans with disabilities that render them unemployable to be able to support themselves and their families. Unemployable according to the VA standards is to be incapable of maintaining substantial and gainful employment.
According to 38 CFR § 4.16, the VA allows veterans with ratings less than 100% can be eligible for TIDU by adhering to the following guidelines:
- If you have only one service-connected condition, the condition must be rated at least 60% or higher.
- If you have two or more service-connected conditions, you must have at least one condition rated 40% or higher, with a combined rating of 70% or higher.
Do I Need A Specific Disability for Unemployability?
The VA does not have any sort of guideline as to what type of disability you must have in order to be eligible. Both mental and physical conditions are considered. And while the VA does allow combining ratings, they do have a requirement as to what counts as a single disability. The requirements are as follows:
- Disabilities of one of both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor of application
- Disabilities resulting from a common etiology or a single accident
- Disabilities affecting a single body system (ex: orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, etc.)
- Multiple injuries occurred in action
- Multiple disabilities occurred as a prisoner-of-war
Other Important Factors About Unemployability Requirements:
- The VA only recognizes disabilities that are already service-connected when assessing a TDIU claim. If you have other pending claims, they will not be considered in your TDIU decision.
- Disabilities that are not service-connected will not be considered in your TDIU decision.
- The age of the veteran is not a factor the VA will take into consideration. The decision will be based solely on the service-connected disability.
Receiving TDIU compensation can be life-changing for a veteran. If you are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment but do not meet these requirements, do not fear. The VA provides more exceptions to TDIU requirements that will be outlined in Part 2. And if you need help with a TDIU / Unemployability claim, click here!