Is a TDIU rating permanent (for the rest of my life)? (2023)

The only constant in life is change. Soldiers are trained to be prepared for the unexpected and to adapt to changing circumstances at all times. When you return to civilian life, especially when dealing with the aftermath of injuries or trauma from your military service, you hope for more predictability. Predictability in disability payments and the ability (or inability) to work top the list.

If a veteran meets the criteria, they receive a TDIU rating of 100% disability(total disability, individual unemployment), it is helpful to know if the decision is permanent, lifelong, or if the grade can be revoked if the veteran gets a job.

This is a big problem for the veteran who struggles with his disability and also wants to work if possible to do what is necessary to support his family.

The short answer is: aTDIU-Ratingis not permanent and will only be removed if the facts and circumstances warrant such a change. This article summarizes whatTDIUIt is and how that rating decision is made. You will then learn when and how a TDIU assessment can be changed.

What is TDIU?

stands for TDIU"Individual unemployment with total disability" under VA disability benefits. The veteran was deemed to have a service-connected disability severe enough to prevent him from being able to engage in substantial occupational work. This does not mean that nothing can be done at all, or that a veteran is relegated to life in a rocking chair on his front porch. It simply means that the ability to maintain a permanent and professional job over a longer period is significantly impaired.

TDIU benefitsare economic disability payments that exceed what VA would normally pay under the percentage disability rating.

How do I get TDIU?

TDIU ratings may be awarded as part of the VADisability pension procedure. VA generally refers to a claim as aTDIU claimif two conditions are met: (1) the veteran has a service-connected disability with a disability rating of 60% or more, or two or more service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of 70% or more, and (2) this case has medical evidence of disability .

If the veteran meets both of these conditions, they are eligible for a 100 percent disability rating.

INThe other way to get the same TDIU result is an "unscheduled assessment". ONEunplanned assessmentapplies to veterans who are unemployed because of their service-connected disability(s), but whose disability(s) do not meet the percentage requirements discussed above.

Medical evidence of unemployability refers to medical findings of medical conditions or symptoms that tend to interfere with the maintenance of regular full-time employment. Examples could be persistent panic attacks or social panic attacksAngst, frequent emotional outbursts due to PTSD, etc.

Can VA reduce TDIU benefits?

Yes, a TDIU rating can be revoked, but only if the VA determines that the veteran is able to maintain steady employment. A low-income part-time job alone is not enough to meet this threshold. Also, working in a protected environment that takes precautions not normally expected in this type of work does not necessarily preclude a veteran from receiving TDIU benefits.

Substantial professional employmentis "an occupation ordinarily performed by able-bodied persons to earn a living at an income customary for that occupation in the community in which the veteran resides." .

For purposes of the TDIU, a veteran's rating cannot be downgraded unless they have been able to maintain substantial gainful employment "for a period of 12 consecutive months," unless the employment is in a protected work environment.

The US Department of Commerce's Bureau of the Census publishes the state poverty line annually. For 2020, the amount for one person is $12,760 (slightly higher for Alaska and Hawaii) and higher for families with dependents. If you don't know your annual income (or your spouse's), you can request an earnings report from the Social Security Administration. Earnings below this limit are considered "marginal employment" and should not result in a change in TDIU classification.

Underemployment may also exist if the annual income earned exceeds the poverty line. But the employment is in a protected environment, such as a family business or a sheltered workshop, which offers veteran job opportunities that would not otherwise be available.

How does the VA decide to cut TDIU benefits?

VA's process for the ongoing assessment of the TDIU rating changed in February 2019.

Under the old process, a veteran receiving TDIU was required to submit an employment questionnaire (Form 21-4140) each year. The form asked if the veteran worked and, if so, where, when, and how much income he earned. Failure to provide these annual updates within the allotted time frame will result in termination of the TDIU.

However, this process has changed. From February 2019, VA introduced a new procedure for employment verification. With this new process, VA uses computer wage reconciliation with the Social Security Administration to identify veterans receiving TDIU who have also worked and contributed to Social Security. After this match, the VA then sends the Employment Questionnaire VA Form 21-4140 and a letter to the veteran. This letter must be answered within the time limit specified therein.

The veteran's earned wages do not automatically disqualify the veteranTDIU permit. Instead, VA reviews all the facts and circumstances before making a decision about the additional eligibility of TDIU.

If you can work, remember that you only have to combine TDIU benefits with a job. Look at the dollar difference between the current benefit level and 100% and see if that would be more than your veteran could earn at work. Each person's condition and circumstances are unique.

How important are independent medical examination reports for TDIU assessment requirements?

The VA Disability Benefits System describes itself as non-controversial and even claimant-friendly. While this may be the case in theory, in practice disabled veterans must be proactive in protecting their interests and fighting for their rights.

In general, veterans should not rely on the VA to protect their interests. This means veterans must obtain this evidence themselves rather than waiting for the VA to obtain valuable evidence. It also means that veterans should always try to get a positive medical report from their private doctors instead of relying on the VA to get a medical report from one of their doctors.

One of the most important strategies for getting your VA claim is to make sure you get itadditional medical certificateEvidence to support your claim. This is especially true for a request for a TDIU rating.

A number of doctors are available to the VA to assess a veteran's physical and mental condition. Still, according to many who routinely review these reports, VA doctors tend to favor the government and not support a veteran's claims.

A veteran needs an assessment by someone who does not have the shared allegiance and may need a medical report detailing the facts necessary to support the veteran's claim. For example, a veteran may need a letter from their doctor with an opinion of employability that differentiates between a service-connected disability and a non-service-connected disability. The veteran may have a back injury (non-duty related) and also PTSD (duty related). If the doctor concludes that the veteran is unemployable because of thisPTSDWhatever problems the back injury may cause, this would be helpful in determining the TDIU rating. Such careful rulings and supporting documentation are unlikely to come from a VA doctor.

While the VA has unlimited resources to gather adverse medical evidence, most veterans are not fortunate enough to pay for living expenses, let alone expensive medical reports. It's no wonder many veterans lose their claims due to negative VA medical reports because they feel there is nothing more to do. That's why the Veterans Law Group can be of great helpVeterans.

In most cases, VLG will succeedindependent medical examinationReports to his clients to combat the VA's arsenal of VA doctors. VLG has had remarkable success with private medical reports, primarily due to the quality of these medical reports. VLG ensures the quality of these examination reports by following a careful process: namely, to identify the appropriate physician to assess the veteran's disability, to submit a complete but easily understandable written description of the veteran's case for the physician's review, and to secure and forward all relevant medical and non-medical information to the veteran's physician. VLG pays for these statements, not the veteran.

Need help appealing a veteran's disability decision or finding higher evaluation rates?

Contact Veterans Law Group, a law firm dedicated to supporting veterans and their families just like you. Complete this questionnaire and send it to our office for evaluation. We will review your request for a consultation and contact you as soon as possible. Our consultations are free.
Is a TDIU rating permanent (for the rest of my life)? (1)


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