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VA Disability Benefits

Representing Veterans Nationwide
Nationwide Success

Individual Unemployability Benefits

If you are a veteran and cannot work because of an injury or disability related to your military service, you may qualify for VA Individual Unemployablity benefits. You may be eligible for TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability), and may be entitled to benefits at the 100% disability rating if you can prove that you can’t work because of a disability related to your service in the military service-related disability.

It is a common misunderstanding for veterans that you can only qualify for a TDIU rating if you exceed a certain percentage disability requirement (usually 60 to 70 percent). Some veterans believe the VA makes the process confusing and difficult on purpose, thus limiting benefit payouts to thousands of disabled veterans.

If you have trouble finding work or cannot keep a job as a result of VA disability, you may have TDIU—VA Individual Unemployability Claim—and should be entitled to additional VA benefits. If the process appears too complex, you may benefit from a no-cost consult with a veterans disability attorney.

Joseph M. Lyon is an VA Disability Claims attorney reviewing VA claims and VA Individual Unemployability Benefits for veterans nationwide.

Individual Unemployability Disability Benefits

You may be able to get additional VA disability benefits if you have at least one service-connected disability rated at 60 percent or more disabling, or two or more service-related disabilities—with a combined rating of 70 percent or more.

The requirements for full TDIU benefits also stipulate that if a veteran is unable to hold down a steady job that supports them financially (“substantially gainful employment”) due to a service-connected injury or disability, they may qualify.

Marginal employment does not count as being employable, and if a veteran is hospitalized, they will qualify at a lower disability rating. The TDIU benefits will include health care costs and cash compensation.

Veterans who qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits will need to file a claim on their own. Each individual will need to provide evidence (medical reports and results) showing that their disability prevents them from working.

What is the TDIU Benefit?

A disabled veteran who qualifies for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) can receive over $3,000 a month from the VA. Additional VA benefits are available if the veteran is married and has dependents.

If you are currently working but cannot earn more than the poverty threshold due to disability, the VA may decide that your employment is not substantially gainful, and you will be entitled to TDIU.

If you work in a protected work environment, or sheltered employment, like a self-run business or a family business and your earnings are above the federal poverty limit (around $12,000 a year) you could still be entitled to TDIU benefits.

Some veterans are denied TDIU benefits because the VA thinks they may be capable of “sedentary work.” However, some disabilities are difficult to review from afar and PTSD and other serious conditions can prohibit a veteran from working even odd jobs.

The Department of Labor defines sedentary work as one which involves sitting, lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying small articles, paper work or tools.

Why Hire a VA Disability Attorney?

For a variety of reasons, the VA benefit process is not as easy as it should be. Therefore, veterans can often be denied for claims, then appeal, only to end up without any benefits. An experienced Veterans Affairs Attorney may be able to get you access to a medical examiner not on the VA payroll, and can give an independent assessment of your disabilities. An independent review will determine the following:

  • How severe are your disabilities?
  • What types of physical limitations do you have?
  • Can you lift heavy objects?
  • Do you have PTSD or a mental disorder?
  • Do you have a sleep disorder?
  • Have you been exposed to toxins in military service?
  • Are you able to hold down a substantially gainful job?
  • What specific limitations do you have?

A VA Claims Lawyer can guide you through the claims and appeals process, and help you file the proper documentation. If you were denied individual unemployability benefits previously, you can re-apply or appeal to the VA. Veterans generally have one year to appeal a denied claim.

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Why are these cases important?

VA cases support those who sacrificed to serve our country. Many veterans experience severe implications due to their military experience, creating additional costs in quality of life beyond the years of military service. Veterans deserve quality support and legal counsel to receive compensation for the additional, and sometimes lifelong, suffering their duty caused. 

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VA Disability FAQ

What VA Disability benefits are available?

The following disability compensation benefits are available to Veterans:

Disability Compensation – a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated by active military service. 

Automobile Allowance – financial assistance provided to help eligible severely disabled Servicemembers and Veterans purchase or adapt an automobile to accommodate their disabilities

Clothing Allowance – annual stipend(s) provided to disabled Veterans who have unique clothing needs as a result of a service-connected disability or injury.

Specially Adapted Housing/ Special Home Adaptation Grants – provides monetary benefits to adapt or obtain suitable housing for eligible severely disabled Veterans

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) – provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free insurance premiums and have the opportunity to purchase additional insurance  

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) – provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – provides educational and training services to Veterans with service-connected illnesses and injuries to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment

Education Assistance – provides education benefits to Veterans to assist with obtaining a degree or with pursuing other eligible education and training

Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) – provides assistance to survivors or dependents of Veterans to obtain a degree


Am I eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training. A disability can apply
to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee
condition, as well as a mental health conditions,
such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you were on inactive duty for training, the
disability must have resulted from injury, heart
attack, or stroke. Your discharge from service must
have been under other than dishonorable conditions.
Compensation varies depending on the degree of
your disability. 

If you have dependents, an additional allowance
may be added if your combined disability is rated
30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset
if you receive military retirement pay, disability
severance pay, or separation incentive payments.

What are presumptive veteran disabilities?

VA presumes that some disabilities are due to
military service. You may be eligible to receive
service-connected disability benefits if you have
a qualifying disability associated with certain
conditions of service, such as:

» Former Prisoners of War
» Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange
» Gulf War Veterans with undiagnosed illnesses
and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.

What is a “service-connected” disability?

A service-connected disability is related to an injury or disease that developed during or was aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training. VA also pays disability compensation for disabilities resulting from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during
inactive duty training.

What compensation can i expect?

VA disability benefits depend on your level of disability and stats of dependents. You can calculate what you think you may deserve at the VA Web site:

Are VA Disability Benefits for life?

You can be eligible for VA benefits for as long as your service-related injury or disability is assigned to a compensable rating by the VA.