As a disabled Veteran, you are entitled to certain benefits in exchange for your honorable service to our country. However, even if your disabilities don’t add up to a VA disability rating of 100%, you may be entitled to Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).
But what if you can hold down a job in some capacity? Let’s explore how employment affects TDIU and your total benefits in more detail.
Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) is a special rating assigned to Veterans whose collective conditions, disabilities, or injuries may not normally add up to a 100% disability rating but who receive disability benefits as if they were rated 100% anyway.
TDIU is normally reserved for Veterans whose disabilities prevent them from acquiring and maintaining “substantially gainful employment.” That’s any employment that lets a Veteran earn a livelihood with earnings that are common to a specific occupation or to a community where the Veteran lives.
TDIU is intended to compensate Veterans whose disabilities may be out of the ordinary or unique and that limit or prevent them from working despite not being rated as highly as other disabilities.
You can only receive TDIU in specific circumstances:
Generally, no. Again, TDIU is intended to compensate Veterans whose disabilities prevent them from maintaining employment and receiving normal income, despite their ratings not reaching the 100% total disability rating normally required for such compensation. However, there are some exceptions.
Marginal employment, according to the VA, is any employment that doesn’t provide a meaningful salary. More specifically, marginal employment is any employment that doesn’t provide a salary above the poverty level.
Furthermore, sheltered workshops or family businesses may count as marginal employment. A sheltered workshop can be a family business or any other unique working arrangement, such as running a self-employment business out of your garage or home office.
Regardless, you can only receive TDIU if your employment results in such poor compensation that it’s below the poverty line, and you cannot acquire other employment to bring your total income above the poverty line.
If you still have questions about TDIU and whether you qualify for these benefits, we don’t blame you! The entire process can be complex from start to finish. When you contact Berry Law, you’ll get the answers you need and sound legal counsel no matter where you are in the disability benefits process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
VA Individual Unemployability If You Can’t Work | Veterans Affairs
VA Individual Unemployability Factsheet | VA.gov
M21-1, Part VIII, Subpart iv, Chapter 3, Section A – General Information on (IU) Claims | VA.gov
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