Many veterans who return from military duty have a service-connected condition, illness, or disability that may interfere with some aspect of their lives. Additionally, these conditions can make it impossible for them to function in society or sustain gainful employment. If you are a veteran who can prove you unable to work at any job due to a service-connected impairment, you may qualify for higher level disability benefits under a classification known as Total Disability Individual Unemployability—or TDIU for short. Under TDIU you may be eligible for a 100 percent disability rating even though your individual disability ratings do not add up to 100 percent.

However, TDIU claims are often initially denied by the VA.  So it’s often advantageous to hire an experienced VA disability attorney to assist you with your application and in some cases hiring a vocational expert can make the difference between winning or losing your case. 

A vocational expert can evaluate your physical or psychological limitations along with your educational achievement and skills obtained from past work and will compare that with the demands of competitive employment. A vocational expert will also consider factors such as reliability, concentration, and productivity in order to form an opinion about whether you are employable given the restrictions imposed by your impairments.

Vocational evidence can be especially compelling because it can provide a bigger, more complete picture of your situation. During a VA compensation and pension examination, the medical examiner typically is looking at just one disability because that is their specific area of expertise. For example, a cardiologist examining a veteran’s heart condition cannot also evaluate that veteran’s PTSD because they are not qualified to do so. Since many veterans have multiple disabilities, a vocational opinion can show the limitations these disabilities present when in combination with one another. For these reasons, often times, a professional opinion by a vocational expert is the best evidence for obtaining TDIU benefits.

As I mentioned, initial TDIU claims are usually turned down, so most require an appeal. We at Cuddigan Law understand this. If your claim has been denied we will be there to guide you and fight for your rights in the appeals process. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.



Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska