VA disability payments are granted to veterans on a scale from zero to one hundred percent in ten percent increments. Veterans are paid different amounts depending upon how the VA judges the severity of their disabilities.  At the low end you can be granted VA disability and not be compensated. This would be the zero percent rating. The traditional way that VA determines your compensation is called “schedular”. Under this method the VA uses tables, called schedules, to determine your rating and how much you will receive in monthly disability benefits.

If you have multiple service-connected disabilities, you will likely be eligible for a higher rating. However, disability ratings are not just simply added together. Instead the VA uses a Combined Ratings Table to calculate your disability rating. Even under combined disability ratings, it is difficult to get to 100 percent with the traditional schedular rating. So, many veterans pursue 100 percent compensation by way of a different route—Total Disability Individual Unemployability, TDIU for short.

TDIU is part of the VA’s disability compensation program. If your disabilities prevent you from being able to get and keep a job, TDIU allows you to have your disability rating raised to 100 percent even though the rating on your service-connected disabilities do not equal 100 percent. TDIU is the VA’s way of acknowledging that some veterans with disability ratings below 100 are unable to work due to their impairments.

In the first step for qualifying for TDIU you must meet one of two key conditions. You must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least 60 percent.  Or, alternatively, you must have at least two or more disabilities with a combined rating of 70 percent or more and one them has to be rated at 40 percent or more.  Then you must show you are unable to maintain substantial gainful employment as a result of your disabilities.

A veteran generally can still work when receiving VA disability. However, typically in order to receive individual unemployability or a 100 percent schedular rating for certain disabilities, a veteran cannot work full time or make over a certain amount of money per year—that is generally anything above the poverty line.

We know how confusing this process can be and this why so many veterans turn to us at Cuddigan Law.  Our team is focused on disability, and we know how to get results. Call us for a free evaluation of your situation.

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