Total Disability Individual Unemployability—with the acronym TDIU—is part of the VA’s disability compensation program. If your service-connected disabilities prevent you from being able to get and keep a job, TDIU allows your to have your disability rating raised to 100 percent even though the rating on your disabilities do not equal 100 percent. Unemployability is the VA’s way of acknowledging that some veterans with disability ratings below 100 are unable to work due to their impairments.
Frustratingly, the VA’s application form for TDIU is one of the hardest and most confusing to fill out. But, here are few tips to make this chore a bit easier.
The first section of the form will ask you about your disability and your medical treatments. You will be asked “What service-connected disability prevents you from securing or following substantially gainful employment?” This can be a tricky question. If your service-connected disability is PTSD, for example, but you are unable to work due to knee injury, then don’t put PTSD in the box. Instead, we recommend that you list the knee injury. Then when your knee injury is judged to be service connected, your claim for individual unemployability will already be on file. If you have multiple disabilities that prevent you from working, only list the top two.
The form has a space to list “Dates of Treatment by Doctors”. Answer this question only for the disability which you indicated prevents you from working. And, the best way to answer this is with how often you receive treatment. Weekly? Monthly? Three times a year? That is think of frequency—not exact dates.
The VA will also want to know about the doctors who are treating the disability which gets in the way of you earning a living. If you are being treated by a private doctor, list the doctor’s name and address. If you are being treated by a VA doctor, name them and list your VA facility. If you are being treated by more than one doctor, include a separate attachment with the names and addresses.
The second section of the TDIU form is an employment statement and will ask you series of questions about your work history. Again, you should answer these questions as it relates to the disabling condition which prevents you from working. For this section you will be asked for dates—when your disability affected full-time employment, when you last were able to work full time, and the date you became too disabled to work. If you cannot remember the exact dates, the month and year is generally sufficient. Likewise when you are asked what was the most amount of money you earned in any one year in your lifetime? If you cannot remember the exact figure, a ballpark number will be okay.
If you are considering filing for TDIU benefits, call us at Cuddigan Law. Our VA accredited attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and the benefits you have rightly earned.