How to Prove to the VA that You are Eligible for TDIU
Published February 5, 2019
The VA processes enormous volumes of paperwork on veteran disability claims, and because of that, sometimes information gets overlooked and inappropriate denials of benefits are made. You can assist the Decision Review Officer determining your TDIU claim for 100% disability, by assembling a solid package of evidence for the VA for both the medical/disability factor, and for the unemployability factor.
If a veteran has been terminated from their former employment for reasons related to service-connected disabilities, the VA MUST consider that in its decision. You can help them do that by providing as much of the following types of evidence as you can –
- Obtain letters or affidavits from the former boss and/or former coworkers establishing the service-related reason for the veteran’s termination. Job termination notices often don’t notate the reason for termination. In fact, some employers may purposely be scant on details with an intention of protecting a veteran from being labeled as a difficult employee. However, it is helpful for your TDIU claim to provide detailed evidence of how your disability affected your employment and this can be through sworn affidavits of a former boss or coworkers. They can provide details of the day-to-day challenges your disability posed in the work setting.
- Obtain Social Security earnings record and disability file (if any). The earnings record will show the veteran’s actual income over the years post-discharge from the military and show if it is below the poverty level. If Social Security disability benefits have been granted, the full underlying file can be useful evidence for the VA (though the VA will not just accept the SSA findings by themselves). This is a free document that you are able to get from the SSA their website or by walking in.
- Testimony at hearings by veteran and their spouse (if married). Being able to describe in heartfelt detail how their disability affects their ability to work is a key piece of evidence in establishing TDIU. The veteran can explain the day-to-day challenges of their disabilit(ies), how often flare-ups occur, what they need to do to mitigate symptoms and similar information. When it comes to PTSD or other psychological issues, the veteran may need some assistance in learning how to tell their story, explaining things such as occurrences of angry outbursts with the boss or coworkers, level of intolerance, inability to sleep well which affects concentration, inability to accept instructions, and similar challenges. If the spouse also testifies, they can give testimony as to their observations, providing additional details of the situation, sometimes even things about which the veteran is not fully aware.
- Vocational expert opinions. Vocational experts can help people find jobs, determine what jobs the veteran can qualify for, and whether or not they would qualify to work in certain areas. Vocational experts are not always local, but by providing adequate summaries of information, a copy of the underlying medical and/or employment files, and having a phone interview with the veteran, they can provide an expert opinion on whether the veteran can work, in what areas, and with what restrictions, or whether they are, in fact, not able to maintain substantially gainful employment.
Veterans Law Group specializes in helping veterans and their families get all of the veteran disability claims benefits to which they are entitled and can assemble the necessary information for appealing a TDIU denial.
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