Individual Unemployability: An Everyday Struggle

Many veterans try to work as long as they possibly can, even when suffering from tremendous physical pain and struggling with severe mental health issues. In the case of most disabled veterans who can’t afford not to work but suffer from intense pain daily, the grant of TDIU (or total disability based on individual unemployability) comes as welcome relief. Veterans who have been out of work for months or years might qualify for TDIU almost immediately, but what if you’re still working?

First, it’s important to understand that a veteran generally cannot qualify for total disability based on individual unemployability if they are gainfully employed. There are some specific exceptions to the rule, like self-employment, but those exceptions can be difficult to prove. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases where a veteran is currently employed, he or she will not qualify for TDIU.

Second, if you’re a veteran who’s currently working but feel as though you may be forced to quit or get fired due to service-connected disabilities, now is the time to begin gathering whatever documents you can. Negative performance reviews, sick slips, time sheets that show how much time you had to take off work or letters from coworkers and/or supervisors can all help establish that you are unable to work due to service-connected disabilities.

Meeting Individual Unemployability Requirements

Assuming you meet the other statutory requirements for total disability based on individual unemployability (one disability rated at 60 percent or more, or multiple disabilities with one rated as 40 percent disabling with a combined total rating of at least 70 percent), you are entitled to compensation the day after you stop work. The VA requires form 8940 to apply for TDIU.

If you need assistance applying for TDIU, or if you have been denied and need help with your appeal, please call (888) 883-2483 to speak with a member of our team or contact us online. Your consultation is free.