A Disabled Veteran Using a Wheelchair Alperin LawIf you are unable to work due to your condition, you may be able to receive Veterans disability benefits at the same rate as someone who is considered 100% disabled—even if your condition wouldn’t normally qualify for this high of a rating. This is referred to as Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU).

About Total Disability Individual Unemployability

To be able to receive benefits based on TDIU, you must have at least one service-connected disability that is considered 60% or more disabling, or two or more service-connected disabilities—with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined disability rating of 70% or higher. However, there are some potential exceptions made for applicants with conditions that require regular hospital visits.

In addition to the disability rating requirement, you must be unable to hold gainful employment because of your condition. This refers to a position where you earn more than the federal poverty threshold. If you are self-employed or working for family members, you may still qualify regardless of your earnings because these accommodated work environments are not considered gainful employment by the VA.

Your work history, skills, and education will be considered carefully to determine if you are eligible for TDIU. This means there is no set standard for what disabilities will qualify. For example, back and knee problems would reasonably be expected to prevent a Veteran from continuing in a factory job he’s held for 20 years, but the same disabilities wouldn’t necessarily prevent someone who has been trained as an accountant from continuing their employment.

Working and Receiving TDIU​

You can continue to work odd jobs, in marginal employment, or in a protected work environment when receiving TDIU. However, if your earnings exceed the federal poverty level, you could be required to pay back benefits you received. If you wish to continue some form of part-time employment, you should consult an attorney experienced in Veterans disability claims to make sure you’re complying with all necessary program requirements.

Are You A Veteran Who Needs Legal Help To Obtain The Disability Benefits You Deserve?

If you are a veteran and you need help receiving the benefits you deserve you should speak with an experienced veterans disability benefits lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.


Scott Alperin
Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Serving Virginia Beach Area Clients Since 1994.
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