If you have worked with the VA long enough, it probably comes as no surprise to learn that the VA often disagrees about claims of total disability individual unemployability (TDIU). Vocational experts can go a long way in proving that a veteran does in fact qualify for TDIU. In cases without vocational experts, the VA relies on VA doctors to make the determination of unemployability; however, in most cases only an experienced vocational expert has the knowledge to determine whether a veteran qualifies for TDIU. Talk to a local attorney with experience handling TDIU claims for help today.
The Benefits of Vocational Experts
In a typical TDIU claim, a veteran claims that he or she cannot return to his or her former employment because of a service-connected disability. The question then shifts to whether the veteran has the education, work experience, transferrable skill set, and adequate physical and mental capacity to secure and maintain another type of employment. Vocational experts have the industrial knowledge and expertise to evaluate the opportunities in the current marketplace compared to the veteran’s current circumstances. A vocational expert often is the only person qualified to render an expert opinion on a veteran’s ability to obtain another position and can critically alter the final decision in a TDIU claim.
A vocational expert creates a vocational assessment report for the TDIU claim, which can overcome unqualified opinions rendered by VA doctors and C&P examiners who lack the experience and expertise in the vocational field. This report will typically include a review of the veteran’s medical record, identification of the service-related conditions, a break down of the veteran’s prior work experience, an evaluation of transferable skills, and a vocational discussion about the potential for this veteran’s ability to return to work. This report helps to point out limitations connected to service-related disabilities and improve your chances of qualifying for a TDIU claim.
VA doctor evaluations typically only look at the individual disability and whether that disability prevents you from working. A vocational expert considers other aspects of how this disability might affect employment, such as the effects of pain and medication associated with disability and whether it affects the ability to concentrate, focus, complete instructions, and complete tasks in a timely manner. A vocational expert’s review also takes into consideration things like the veteran’s ability to communicate with managers and fellow employees, adaptability to stressful situations, and what accommodations would need to be necessary in order to employ this particular veteran. A VA doctor or C&P examiner takes none of this into consideration when making a determination about TDIU claims, which is why having a vocational expert report included in your application for benefits can be such a beneficial addition to your claims.