How To Get VA Unemployability Benefits

0:00 Introduction
0:18 What is TDIU (Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability)
0:43 How Do I Get VA Unemployability (TDIU)?
2:07 Required VA Form for Unemployability Form 21-8940
2:41 Evidence for VA Unemployability Claim
3:13 Developing Evidence for VA Unemployability
3:38 Nexus Letter for TDIU
4:16 Filing VA Unemployability Claim
4:29 Case Example of PTSD & TDIU Client
4:55 Effective Date for TDIU Claim
5:55 How often does VA grant Service Connection and VA Unemployability together?
6:23 Can I get TDIU while working( VA Unemployability)?
6:40 Sheltered Environment and VA Unemployability
7:11 What if I can get work but not maintain employment?
7:45 What if my service-connected disabilities keep me from work but they are not rated higher than the threshold for TDIU?
8:29 TDIU for Migraines Example
9:24 Does the VA automatically consider veterans for TDIU under Regulation 4.16b?
9:47 VA Unemployability for Back Disability Example

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VA admits some veterans are still unable to work due to their disabilities by granting IU, despite their assigned combined ratings not reaching 100% disability. How do you know what the VA is looking for when it decides these VA unemployability claims? How do you get started with your VA unemployability claim?

When VA evaluates disability claims for IU, it first looks at whether the veteran meets the schedular requirements for VA unemployability. They are as follows:

Veterans with only one service connected condition must be rated greater than or equal to 60% for that condition;
Veterans with two or more service connected conditions must have at least one condition rated at or above 40%. The combined ratings of the disabilities must be at least equal to 70%;
For the purposes of the IU, VA considers the following combinations as a “single disability”;
One involving one or both arms, or legs, including the bilateral factor;
disabilities resulting from a common problem or single accident;
Disabilities affecting a single body system (i.e., orthopedic, respiratory);
Multiple injuries incurred in action; and/or
Multiple disabilities incurred as a POW.

If you do not meet the 60%/single disability or 70% combined disabilities VA still allows for Unemployability benefits. VA recognizes some veterans can’t work because of their service connected disabilities, but they don’t meet the schedular requirements. In such cases, the regional office (RO) submits the claim to the Director of the Compensation and Pension Service. The Director reviews the claim for extraschedular consideration. The RO must prepare a statement regarding the veteran’s disabilities, work and educational all other factors bearing on the issue. As you can imagine, this is not a quick process. Receiving VA unemployability through extraschedular consideration can take a long time. Also, it is very rare for the RO to refer a claim for IU for extraschedular consideration. If you believe your claim warrants such consideration, you should make the request for extraschedular IU. Typically, you have to fight all the way to the BVA before you even get the referral to the Director.

To get VA unemployability benefits, the evidence must show you cannot work due to a service connected disability. Evidence supporting your claim could be letters from former co-workers or employers. A professional’s opinion would be more impactful evidence. If the veteran has participated in a VA vocational rehabilitation program VA must also consider this evidence.

VA must consider your educational and work history when determining if you are entitled to VA unemployability benefits. VA must look at your education and training, and how your current disabilities. Then VA must see how those disabilities could prevent you from working in the jobs you had been trained for. For more information, check out our VA unemployability guide!


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