I Got a Decision but I Think it is Wrong: What are My Options?
Published February 15, 2019
How to Find an Independent Medical Examiner for My TDIU Claim
Total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is a disability benefit that allows disabled veterans to be compensated at a 100% rate, even if the combined scheduler rating does not equal 100%. TDIU is only awarded in circumstances in which disabled veterans are unable to secure substantially gainful employment because of their service-related disabilities. Medical exams are critical to the determination of whether a veteran qualifies for TDIU. If your physician gives you an incorrect decision, it can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in compensation per month. If you have received a decision for your TDIU claim that you believe is incorrect, you have options.
The Benefits of an Independent Medical Exam
The VA has its own set of doctors who perform medical exams for TDIU and other compensation and pension benefit applications. However, exams with these professionals often cause high anxiety for disabled veterans, and their results are not always favorable. In addition, exams by the VA for TDIU claims do not have to be completed by a trained physician, further complicating the issue. A doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or medical resident all technically qualify to give the exam at the VA, which can easily lead to an incorrect diagnosis for your case. An independent medical exam can either contradict an incorrect decision by the VA or confirm the diagnosis of disability for your TDIU claims.
VA doctors are inherently biased toward their employers, which is why an independent medical exam helps when applying for TDIU benefits. An independent medical examiner is a physician who has never treated you before and has no ties to the VA. An independent examiner has simply presented the facts in your medical history, service records, lay evidence, and statements, and will then complete an examination and make a diagnosis of disability.
How to Find an Independent Medical Examiner
The easiest way to find an independent medical examiner to reevaluate your TDIU claims is through an experienced disability benefits attorney. Attorneys with expertise in this area routinely utilize independent medical examiners for their cases and will be able to quickly set up an appointment for your case. Another option is to search the Independent Medical Examiners Directory or the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners to find one near you. However, if you find an independent medical examiner on your own, you will not have the additional benefits of an attorney advocating for your interests and helping you navigate the system.