A veteran who is unable to work may be entitled to a service-connected disability called Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU), which provides monthly compensation for veterans. Although veterans who are eligible for this VA benefit may still be employed, there are certain limits on the calculated income for this compensation.
Just4Veterans is a company consisting of veteran coaches dedicated to helping you claim VA benefits such as TDIU and providing you with an understanding of your disability percentage and the limits of your payout. We can also assist you with understanding the meaning of TDIU, your TDIU benefits, and improving your success rate with TDIU. But what is TDIU, and what makes a veteran eligible for it? We’ve got this blog post to cover that for you.
What is TDIU? How does it work?
Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) is one of the VA benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to compensate veterans who are unable to secure a substantial income or occupation.
The amount of your basic benefit is determined by your level of disability, which is assessed based on the evidence you provide with your claim and your military records. The VA assigns disability ratings in 10% increments from 0% to 100% (e.g. 10%, 20%, 30%, etc.).
The path to TDIU can vary for each veteran, depending on whether they are schedular or extraschedular. A veteran may be eligible for ‘schedular’ TDIU if they have clearly diagnosed and VA-rated disabilities. Alternatively, a veteran may need to apply for ‘extraschedular’ TDIU, which requires a closer examination of their disability and inability to work.
In order to be eligible for TDIU, your disabilities must prevent you from obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. Your total disability rating does not have to be 100%.
To obtain a Schedular TDIU, there are two eligibility requirements:
- Having a single disability with a rating of 60% or higher.
- Having two disabilities, each must be rated at least 40%, estimating a total of 70%
If your disabilities do not qualify for schedular TDIU, but you are still unable to maintain gainful employment for a specific reason, you may be eligible for Extraschedular TDIU. In these cases, the Director of Compensation Service must make an initial determination about your claim to see if it is eligible for benefits.
There are some situations where a veteran can receive TDIU while still working. An employed veteran may still be eligible for TDIU benefits if their job is considered “marginal employment.” One way to demonstrate marginal employment is to provide VA with proof that you work in a “protected work environment.”
TDIU and Protected Work Environment
What is a protected work environment? As stated above, TDIU eligibility is based on a veteran’s inability to generate income.
Veterans who work in a “protected work environment” can keep their TDIU benefits and earn more than the poverty line. This means that a veteran who is paid a fair wage can work for a business in a limited capacity, doing work similar to that of other coworkers but being held to a lower standard due to their disabilities. There are no definite rules about what constitutes a “protected work environment.” Each case is evaluated on an individual basis to determine whether the veteran’s work circumstances warrant the receipt of TDIU benefits.
Some general considerations for a protected work environment include the veteran’s productivity and reliability in doing their job. VA also takes into account all of the facts surrounding each individual case. It does not involve a single insurance policy, and TDIU benefit claims rely solely on the veteran’s ability to perform their job.
But is there an income limit for receiving TDIU benefits?
My income limits for receiving TDIU benefits
There is no official income limit for TDIU application, as the VA’s general disability unemployability rules state that veterans eligible for TDIU are unable to maintain substantial gainful employment.
The simplest way to determine if you are eligible for TDIU benefits is to meet one of the following three criteria:
- You are currently not working because of a service-connected disability
- You have been able to work but have not been able to earn an income above the poverty line.
- You are employed, but in a sheltered specialty position designed to accommodate your service-connected disability.
Verifying your income
Part of the criteria for these VA individual unemployability benefits of TDIU is not obtaining income above the poverty line. As of January 2022, a single person who has an income below $13,590 is still eligible for the TDIU benefit. See federal poverty threshold as of 2022 in this link.
If you have a service-connected disability that prevents you from working, you should apply for the TDIU compensation benefit, even if your disability is less than 100%, and if you have trouble with the application, you should seek the help of a veterans coach.
Get assistance with TDIU claims from a Veterans Coach
Just4Veterans is here to assist you with your VA disability claim application. You may also visit our VA calculator page to calculate your VA Disability Rating which can give you the estimated monthly payout from your disability.
After you serve our country, it is now our turn to serve you. If you have any further questions, please email us at [email protected]. You can also visit our page to learn more about the services that we offer in regards to VA claim assistance.