Just as there are a number of different ways that a Veteran can get to a 100% rating, there are also a number of different variations of receiving compensation at the 100% level, all with different restrictions and benefits. Veterans may have noticed that the VA uses terms such as IU, TDIU, 100% schedular, and 100% P&T.
At Berry Law, we hear from Veterans all the time who wonder what they mean and how they’re different from each other. While they all refer to a manner in which the Veteran is receiving compensation at the 100% level, they are not all interchangeable.
The closest any of them come to actually be interchangeable is TDIU and IU. IU stands for Individual Unemployability, while TDIU stands for Totally Disabled based on Individual Unemployability. Effectively, these are the same thing and the requirements for both are identical. In order to qualify for TDIU, an honorably discharged Veteran must show that they are unemployable due to their service-connected disabilities.
The VA defines “unemployable” as not being capable of obtaining and securing substantially gainful employment, which is employment that compensates you above the poverty level. As such, the first requirement for TDIU is to be unemployable.
In order to receive TDIU, a Veteran must file a claim for it on VA Form 21-8940, which is a Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability. They will then also have to submit a VA Form 21-4192, which is a Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits. Once these have been submitted to the VA, a decision will be issued either granting or denying the claim for TDIU.
Once the claim of TDIU is granted, many Veterans then wonder whether it’s permanent. While TDIU can be permanent, that isn’t necessarily so. If a Veteran receives TDIU, the VA may determine that their condition has improved sufficiently enough for them to sustain gainful employment. So if a Veteran receives TDIU and then becomes employed, or the VA determines that they could become employed, the TDIU benefits could be terminated. However, a Veteran may find that their TDIU is permanent if they are 70 years or older or have been receiving TDIU consecutively for 20 years.
How does TDIU compare to being rated at 100% schedular? The main difference between the two is that with TDIU, a Veteran has been deemed unemployable even though their service-connected disabilities do not add up to 100% overall. Being rated at 100% overall, however, does not necessarily restrict a Veteran from obtaining and securing substantially gainful employment. So, if a Veteran is rated at 100% overall and still wishes to be employed, they are free to do so. Similarly to TDIU, if a Veteran is rated 100% schedular, they could still see their rating changed by the VA. If it was determined that the Veteran’s condition had improved, the VA could reduce their 100% schedular rating.
That is unless they receive 100% P&T which stands for 100% disabled, permanent and total.
For a Veteran to receive 100% VA P&T, the VA must determine that there is a reasonable certainty that the Veteran’s disabilities will continue for the rest of their life. A Veteran may receive a rating on an individual claim that is permanent but keeps them from reaching 100% overall. However, once a Veteran is rated at 100% overall and their disabilities are determined to be permanent, they are 100% VA P&T.
If a Veteran receives 100% VA P&T, that also entitles them to additional benefits that would not be available to them otherwise.
The Veteran may also be entitled to numerous other benefits depending on their circumstances.
Regardless of how you achieve a 100% disability rating, or what form your 100% disability rating takes, you are entitled to several important benefits once you acquire this rating.
Specifically, all Veterans with a 100% VA rating meet the eligibility requirements for Health Care Priority Group 1. In other words, this means you don’t have to worry about copayments for many medical procedures. The full VA health benefits package for 100% disabled Veterans includes:
You can check out a full list of VA health services here.
Those aren’t the only benefits that 100% disabled Veterans can take advantage of. If you have a total disability rating, you can request a property tax waiver.
Note that every state has different qualification requirements, so you should check your local state laws before applying for this waiver. If you are approved, you may not have to pay most or any property taxes on property you legally own within specific states.
On top of that, Veterans oftentimes qualify for free vehicle registration. Again, this is contingent on where you live and local state laws.
In addition to the above benefits, 100% disabled Veterans may qualify for special monthly compensation. If a Veteran is 100% disabled and is in need of aid and attendance or is housebound, he or she could qualify for additional compensation above the 100% benefits rate.
Special monthly compensation is intended to compensate Veterans for the loss of specific organs, limbs, etc. For example, if you can’t leave your house because of service-connected disabilities, you may receive extra compensation to help pay for medical care, nursing assistants, and more.
In order to qualify for housebound SMC benefits, you have to have at least one disability rated at 100% (under either the schedular or individual unemployability types) and at least one extra, unrelated disability rated at 60% or more. You’ll also require a letter from family members or your doctor attesting that you are completely housebound.
Lastly, Veterans with a total disability rating may potentially apply for waivers of premiums as well as supplemental insurance coverage up to $30,000.
Because there are many different potential benefits to apply for and take advantage of, it’s a good idea to contact knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys. The right attorneys can help you anticipate which benefits you’ll be able to apply for, help you fill out the paperwork correctly, and make sure you get all the financial support you need to live comfortably after your honorable service to our country.
If you’re a Veteran suffering from a service-connected disability and you need assistance appealing your claim to get all the disability benefits you deserve, Berry Law can help. We’ve helped thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable VA decisions. Don’t go to battle alone. Call Berry Law’s team of Veterans. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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