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Category: FAQ

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disability triggered by a traumatic event.  When the average person thinks of a traumatic military event, they often think of combat.  However, some military threats come from within our own ranks.  Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, refers to experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment during military service.  According to the Department of Defense, about 13,000 women and 7,500 men experienced an MST in 2018.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Military Sexual Trauma includes any sexual activity where a service member is involved against his or her will.  He or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied better treatment in exchange for sex), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.  Other MST experiences include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; and threatening and unwelcome sexual advances.  PTSD is the most common mental health diagnosis related to MST.  You may be eligible for VA 100% if your PTSD is due to MST.

Service Connection PTSD due to MST

Before VA will assign a 100% rating for PTSD due to MST, it must first determine whether it is related to service.  In other words, VA must first grant service connection before it will assign a rating.

There are 4 requirements to prove service connected PTSD due to MST

  1. current diagnosis,
  2. in-service event, disease or injury,
  3. medical nexus between the first 2 elements, and
  4. credible supporting evidence that the claimed in-service stressor occurred.

Challenge of Proving MST

Most victims are not eager to report MST to their superiors.  This is especially true if a superior committed the MST.  VA is well aware of this.  Absent an official law enforcement record, how does one prove PTSD due to MST?

Evidence Specific to MST

Instead of requiring a smoking gun, VA looks for credible supporting evidence. Credible supporting evidence of MST includes:

  • In-service pregnancy tests or tests for sexually transmitted diseases,
  • Statements from clergy, family members, roommates, or
  • Evidence of behavior changes following the claimed assault.

Disability Help Group Case Study

A 26 year-old female veteran of the Marines reported a military sexual assault to her civilian priest.  However, she did not report it to superiors for fear of retaliation.  The assailant was her commanding officer.  Within a year of discharge, she filed a claim for PTSD due to MST.  VA denied the claim for lack of credible supporting evidence.  She hired us to assist with her appeal.   Our representatives obtained a lay statement from her priest and submitted it to VA.  In addition, Disability Help Group sent specific portions of her military personnel records.  The personnel records showed that all her Article 15 punishments happened after the MST.  VA found the priest’s statement credible, and the Article 15s lined up after the approximate date of the MST.  Based on this credible supporting evidence, VA granted the claim for PTSD due to MST.

Rating PTSD due to MST

After VA grants service connection for PTSD due to MST, it must determine the correct rating.  To do so, VA consults the Schedule of Ratings.

Schedule of Ratings

The Schedule of Ratings breaks down disabilities into different categories.  Each category contains groups of medical problems.  For example, PTSD due to MST is found the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders.  Depending on the symptoms, a veteran may receive either 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%.

100% Rating: Total occupational and social impairment from PTSD due to MST

  • gross impairment in thought processes or communication;
  • persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior;
  • persistent danger of hurting self or others;
  • intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene);
  • disorientation to time or place;
  • memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name

70% Rating: Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood

  • suicidal ideation;
  • obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities;
  • speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant;
  • near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively;
  • impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence);
  • spatial disorientation;
  • neglect of personal appearance and hygiene;
  • difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting);
  • inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

50% Rating: Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity

  • flattened affect;
  • circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech;
  • panic attacks more than once a week;
  • difficulty in understanding complex commands;
  • impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks);
  • impaired judgment;
  • impaired abstract thinking;
  • disturbances of motivation and mood;
  • difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.

30% Rating: Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal)

  • depressed mood,
  • anxiety,
  • suspiciousness,
  • panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).

10% = Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms

  • decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational; tasks only during periods of significant stress; or
  • symptoms controlled by continuous medication.

0% Rating: A mental condition has been formally diagnosed

  • Symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning; or
  • to require continuous medication.

You May Be Entitled to VA 100% PTSD due to MST

The type, severity, and duration of a veteran’s symptoms will vary based on a number of factors.  For example, race, religion, and sexual orientation can affect the impact of MST.  Whether the MST happened once or was repeated over time may affect how long the symptoms last.  If your PTSD due to MST has caused any of the symptoms in the 100% range, then you may be entitled to VA 100%.

Call Disability Help Group for a FREE Case Review, 1-800-700-0652.

If you have more questions about getting a 100% rating for PTSD due to MST, please fill out our information form or call us.  We offer a 100% guaranteed free case review.  We will be happy to answer your questions.

Related Articles

Our website is also full of helpful information. Firstly, if you would like to review other blogs, click here. Secondly, if you would like to see a list of resources click here. And thirdly, you can click on Testimonials to read the great comments we receive.

Resource for PTSD due to MST

Can I get VA 100% for Sleep Apnea?

Service Connection

In order for the VA to assign a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, the VA must first determine that the condition is related to service.

Generally, VA will grant service connection if the following are met:

  1. Proof of a current diagnosis,
  2. Proof of an in-service event, disease or injury, and
  3. Proof of a medical nexus between the first 2 elements.

VA Schedule of Rating

After VA grants service connection, it must determine the correct rating.  To do so, VA consults the Schedule of Ratings.  The ratings should reflect how much that specific disability impairs your ability to work.  In order to get a 100% rating for sleep apnea, it must be so severe that it prevents gainful employment.

Requirements Specific to Sleep Apnea

The Schedule of Ratings breaks down disabilities into different categories. Each category contains groups of medical problems.  For example, Sleep Apnea is found in the Respiratory System category.  Each group contains a list of disabilities, and each disability has its own diagnostic code.  In turn, each diagnostic code specifies the symptoms required for various ratings.  For example, the 6847 code applies to Sleep Apnea.  See 38 C.F.R. § 4.97.  A 100% VA rating for Sleep Apnea requires:

  1. Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or
  2. The condition requires tracheostomy.

Chronic Respiratory Failure

Chronic respiratory failure usually happens when the airways that carry air to your lungs become narrow and damaged.  In other words, less oxygen gets in and less carbon dioxide goes out.  A tracheostomy is a surgically made hole in the front of your neck where a breathing tube is connected to your windpipe to help you breathe.  Naturally, a veteran with these extreme symptoms deserves a 100% VA rating for Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea Medical Evidence

Only medical evidence can satisfy these requirements.  It is not enough for the veteran to say “I cannot work because of my sleep apnea.”  Fortunately, VA provides rating tools such as Disability Benefits Questionnaires (“DBQs”) on their website.  Specifically, VA provides a Sleep Apnea DBQ that focuses on the symptoms described in the Schedule.  Veterans seeking a higher rating for sleep apnea should have their doctors complete the DBQ. The VA will likely grant the rating if the DBQ includes the criteria for a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea.

Disability Benefits Questionnaire

A doctor who treats the disability in question should fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire.  For example, an orthopedic specialist who is treating a foot condition should not complete a DBQ for PTSD.

Watch out for Pyramiding

When seeking a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, one must consider every rule and exception related to VA ratings.  Under the VA rating system, a veteran should be compensated for each service-connected disability.  However, there is one big exception.  VA cannot pay a veteran more than once for the same disability or same manifestation.  For example, Asthma and Sleep Apnea have nearly identical manifestations.  They both involve impairment of the airways, they share symptoms such as daytime fatigue, and they are under the same category in the Schedule of Ratings.  A veteran who is service connected for both will only receive a rating for one of them.  In that circumstance, VA must assign the higher of the 2 possible ratings.

Disability Help Group Case Study Sleep Apnea

The anti-pyramiding rule recently affected a DHG client.  He is a 64 year-old veteran of the Army who filed a claim for asthma and sleep apnea.  VA denied the sleep apnea claim, but granted the asthma claim at 30%.  After a successful appeal, VA granted 60% for his asthma.  Furthermore, the VA conceded that the criteria for sleep apnea was met and granted a 50% service-connected disability.  The VA, however, could not grant the additional 50% rating because of the anti-pyramiding rule.  Instead, VA awarded 60% for his “asthma with sleep apnea.”

Call Now for a Free Case Review,
1-800-800-3332 or Click Here

If you have more questions about getting a 100% rating for Sleep Apnea, please call us.  We offer 100% free VA case review.

Related Articles and Blogs

Helpful Resources

Our website is also full of helpful information. Firstly, if you would like to review other blogs, click here. Secondly, if you would like to see a list of resources click here. And thirdly, you can click on Testimonials to read the great comments we receive.

Can I get TDIU for PTSD?

Can I get TDIU for PTSD? Yes. TDIU is a special benefit for veterans who cannot support themselves due to service-connected disabilities.  It pays the same as a 100% rated disability.  For TDIU to apply, your PTSD must first be service-connected.  This may seem simple, but several veterans have PTSD because of a traumatic event that happened years after military service. Second, you cannot earn a living because of PTSD. 

TDIU for PTSD Requirements

In order to be granted TDIU for PTSD is does not mean the veteran has to be unemployed.  VA will grant TDIU to an employed veteran if the employment is considered marginal.  VA deems employment marginal if the veteran earns LESS than the federal poverty threshold for one person (in 2018, $12,784.00 per the U.S. Census Bureau).

Rating Percentage

The veteran must meet the percentage requirements.  If the veteran has only one service-connected disability, it must be rated 60% or higher.  The Schedule of Ratings for PTSD permits only the following ratings: 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% and 100%.

Services Connected Disabilities

If the veteran is only service-connected for PTSD, it must be rated no lower than 70% to get TDIU.  However, if the veteran has more than one service-connected disability, then at least one must be rated 40% or higher.  Also, there must be “sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating” to 70% or higher.

FREE CASE REVIEW, CLICK HERE, or Call 1-800-700-0652.

Disability Help Group Case Studies

Case Study 1: TDIU for PTSD

A 60 year-old veteran was diagnosed with PTSD secondary to his service-connected hypertension.  VA previously awarded 10% for his hypertension.  In March 2018, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denied his PTSD claim.  After a successful appeal, DHG secured a remand for a new VA medical examination.  In November 2019, VA granted service connection for PTSD at 70% effective September 2009.  Because the evidence showed that his PTSD prevented him from working, VA also granted entitlement to TDIU.  He received a lump sum of $340,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $133.57 to $3,057.13.

Case Study 2: TDIU for PTSD

A 65 year-old veteran asked VA for a higher rating for his PTSD.  At the time, he was service-connected for tension headaches at 50% and PTSD at 50%.  His combined rating was 80% and he had not worked since 2012.  After a successful appeal, VA granted TDIU back to 2012.  As a result, he received a lump sum of $121,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $1,556.13 to $3,057.13.

Case Study 3: TDIU for PTSD

A 65 year-old veteran had a 50% rating for anxiety with PTSD and a 10% rating for a lumbar spine condition.  Shortly after he hired Disability Help Group, it was clear that VA should have granted at least a 70% rating for anxiety with PTSD.  After a successful appeal, VA granted a 70% rating for PTSD and then granted TDIU.  He received a lump sum of $109,000.00, and his monthly payment changed from $1,062.27 to $3,057.13.

While most of this article refers to PTSD, it also applies to other mental disorders.  For example, many of our clients have won TDIU based on their service-connected schizophrenia.

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Total Disability (TDIU) for PTSD

What is VA Permanent and Total Disability?

Types of VA Total and Permanent Disability

What is VA Permanent and Total Disability? The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers 2 disability benefit programs: 1) Compensation; and 2) Pension. Both disability programs provide monthly payments to disabled veterans. There is a major difference in the programs.

VA Pension Total and Permanent

VA Pension is a needs-based program similar to Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Similarly to SSI, to be eligible for pension benefits, a veteran must have wartime service, low income, and a Permanent and Total disability. The Permanent and Total disability does not need to be “connected” to the period of military service. Disabled veterans aged 65 years or older can receive Permanent and Total disability for pension.  For further information on Permanent and Total disability you can read our blog, How Can I Get TDIU.

VA Compensation Total and Permanent

VA Compensation is not based on need, income or age.  It pays a veteran for disabilities incurred in or aggravated during their active duty service.  The monthly payment depend on how much the veteran’s ability to work is impacted.

Eligibility for VA Permanent and Total Disability

A veteran can be eligible for both Pension and Compensation.  Generally, Compensation will pay more money per month than Pension. Many veterans seek Permanent & Total disability for Compensation purposes instead of Pension because it pays more money.

Can You Receive Total Disability without Permanent Disability?

VA will award Permanent and Total disability to veterans whose disabilities are rated 100% with a very low likelihood of improvement. Although the terms “Permanent” and “Total” are often discussed together, it is possible to have a permanent disability that is not totally disabling. For example, a veteran may have a PTSD permanent disability at 70%.  The PTSD is not “Total” because it is less than 100%.

 

It is possible to have a total disability that is not permanent.  For example, the same veteran’s PTSD may be temporary at 100% during hospitalization for a suicide attempt. To learn more about TDIU and PTSD you can read our posts, Can I get TDIU from PTSD? or VA Permanent and Total Disability for PTSD.

General Rule

Generally, VA will award a Permanent & Total designation if the following criteria are met:

  1. The veteran has a disability rated at 100%, and
  2. Medical evidence shows that this disability is not likely to improve during the veteran’s lifetime.

Medical Evidence

Your treating doctor can provide the best medical evidence to prove entitlement to Permanent and Total Disability.  Ask your doctor whether your 100% disability is likely to improve during your lifetime.  If the answer is no. Ask your doctor to put this opinion in writing.  VA will most likely defer to your doctor’s opinion and award Permanent and Total disability.

Exception to the Rule

As with most rules, there are exceptions.  Regardless of the percentage, VA will deem certain disabilities Permanent & Total.  Examples include the loss or loss of use of both hands, both feet, or sight in both eyes.  In addition, VA would probably award Special Monthly Compensation

Case Studies

The following DHG clients received a Permanent & Total disability rating.

PTSD Permanent and Total Disability

A 50 year-old Gulf War combat veteran filed a claim for PTSD in 2009.  In 2010, he was denied despite the Combat Action Ribbon noted on his DD Form 214.  After significant development, we won the case on appeal.  The medical evidence proved that he met the criteria for a 100% rating.  His symptoms included unprovoked irritability with periods of violence, impaired impulse control, audio hallucinations, and panic attacks.  They were so severe that he could not hold a job.  In addition, his doctor wrote that his symptoms would only get worse throughout his lifetime.  VA awarded a Permanent and Total disability for PTSD. You can also work and get TDIU, if you are working you may want to read our post, Can I Work and Get TDIU?

Schizoaffective Disorder

A 57 year-old Air Force veteran lost his wife to a deadly car accident. This happened 3 months into his active duty service.  He was never the same after that accident. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, depressive type. Unfortunately, he turned to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate his symptoms.  He was homeless for many years.  When he filed a compensation claim, VA branded him a drug addict. At the local VA hospital, he met another veteran who referred him to us. We developed medical evidence, a lay statement from the veteran, and legal arguments. Our represtative also submitted a medical opinion from a private psychiatrist, who recommended a total and permanent rating based on the medical evidence. Shortly afterwards, VA awarded a Permanent and Total disability rating for schizoaffective disorder

Our website is full of helpful information. Firstly, if you would like to review other blogs, click here. Secondly, if you would like to see a list of resources click here. And thirdly, you can click on Testimonials to read the great comments we receive.

Related Articles and Blogs

How Can I Increase My VA Disability Rating?

Increase VA Disability Rating

How Can I Increase My VA Disability Rating? When discussing VA Disability rates, one must distinguish between the Compensation and Pension rates.  Both involve monthly payments from VA, but they have very different requirements. Pension is a needs-based program similar to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). VA will grant pension benefits to veterans with wartime service, low income, and total and permanent disability. The total and permanent disability does not need to be “connected” to their military service. 

Maximum VA Pension

VA Pension rates are based on income.  The maximum pension rate is an annual amount set by Congress. A veteran’s pension is determined by how much income his family generates. 

VA Compensation Rating

VA Compensation is NOT based on need or income.  It pays a veteran for disabilities incurred in or aggravated during their active duty service. A veteran may not receive both pension and compensation at the same time.  Compensation is generally paid at a much higher rate, most veterans opt for compensation.  The following will focus on disability compensation rates.

Increase VA Disability Rating, Schedule of Ratings

Congress directed VA to, “adopt and apply a schedule of ratings of reductions in earning capacity from specific injuries or combination of injuries.” In other words, a veteran’s disability rating must reflect how much that disability impairs the veteran’s ability to work.  VA law also requires that the Schedule of Ratings “provide 10 grades of disability and no more.”  Under the schedule, VA assigns disability ratings of: 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, and 100%.  The higher the disability rating, the higher the monthly compensation VA will pay to the veteran. 

Why VA Ratings Differ

Some medical conditions are more disabling than others.  How does VA figure out the right disability rating?  The Schedule of Ratings breaks down disabilities into different categories based on the affected part of the body.  Each category contains groups of medical problems.  Each group contains a list of disabilities, and each disability has its own diagnostic code.  Every diagnostic code specifies the symptoms required for various ratings.  For example, many veterans suffer from a hearing loss disability known as tinnitus.  In-service exposure to loud noise – such as on the deck of an aircraft carrier – is a common cause of tinnitus.  Under the Disease of the Ear category, tinnitus has the 6260 diagnostic code.   Under code 6260, the maximum disability rating is 10%.  The rating is the same whether tinnitus affects one or both ears.

VA Diagnostic Codes and Ratings

Understand the VA diagnostic codes to increase your VA disability rating. Not every diagnostic code is as simple as 6260.  For example, the 9411 code applies to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Depending on the symptoms, a veteran may receive either 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%.  A 100% rating for PTSD reflects total impairment of occupational and social skills.  Symptoms in the 100% range include persistent suicide attempts.  However, a veteran with very mild PTSD controlled by medication will probably receive 10%.  VA is bound by the diagnostic code criteria.  If your service-connected disability satisfies the criteria for a higher rating, then VA must grant that rating.

Disability Help Group VA Team

We have helped thousands of veterans win higher VA disability ratings. One veteran in particular came to us with a 50% rating for his PTSD.  During development, we discovered that he had more than 10 psychiatric hospitalizations within the past 5 years.  He was involuntarily hospitalized under the Baker Act.  He required 300 mg of Lithium twice daily to simply maintain a baseline of suicidal ideations.  After several years of our advocacy, VA agreed to assign a 100% rating all the way back to his first hospitalization.  Thanks to our work, VA paid him a lump-sum of over $200,000.00.

Increase Your VA Disability to 100%

The maximum VA rating permitted by law is 100%. If you have one disability at 70% and another disability at 50% ?  Does that mean you really have a 120% overall rating?  No.  To avoid exceeding the 100% cap, VA uses a Combined Ratings table.  A rating is not added to another rating to determine the VA rating. The VA uses the Combined Ratings table to determine the rating VA first considers the most disabling condition – that is, the one with the highest rating – then less disabling conditions in order of severity.  This method captures the residual efficiency of a veteran with more than one service-connected condition.  The formula will never result in a rating higher than 100%.

Combined VA Rating

If the combined value ends in a number from 5 through 9, VA rounds up to the next highest multiple of 10.  When the combined value ends in 1 through 4, VA rounds down to the lower multiple of 10. If the combined value ends in 0, then rounding is unnecessary.  For example, a veteran with 70% and 50% rating has a combined value of 85%.  An 85% value rounds up to a 90% combined rating.  A veteran with a combined value of 84%, rounds down to 80%.  A veteran with two separate disabilities rated at 10% each has a combined value of 19%, which rounds up to a 20% combined rating.

Some helpful links that provide additional information are, https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/current_rates_veteran_pen.asp, and https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/resources_comp01.asp.

Can I Work and Get TDIU?

Can I Work and Get TDIU? Many veterans are unable to support themselves because of service-connected disabilities.  Congress decided to take care of these veterans with a special benefit called TDIU.  Also known as Unemployability, TDIU pays the same monthly amount as a 100% disability rating.  Under 2019 rates, VA will pay TDIU recipients a minimum of $3,057.13 per month tax free.  The whole point of TDIU is to compensate veterans who cannot maintain a full-time job due to service-connected disabilities.  In most cases, VA will only award TDIU if the service-connected disabilities combine to at least 70%.

TDIU v Unemployed

The terms “Unemployability” and “Unemployed” look and sound alike, many veterans assume that cannot work to get TDIU.  This is a common misconception.

Amount You Can Earn

VA will grant TDIU to a veteran that works if the employment is considered “marginal.”  38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a).  VA considers employment “marginal” if the veteran earns LESS than the federal poverty threshold for one person (in 2018, $12,784 per the U.S. Census Bureau).

Sheltered Work Environment

Regardless of your income, you may still be eligible for TDIU if you work in a sheltered environment.  Sheltered work environments include self-employment or a family business.  If you are your own boss, you can probably take as much time off as your medical conditions require.  Similarly, a family business is probably more accommodating to a veteran’s disabilities than the average workplace.  Also, your family or yourself would likely pay at a rate higher than you could earn at another job.

Example: Difficult TDIU Work Case

Take the example of a veteran with a 70% rating for PTSD who works as a Financial Advisor.  With the help of his doctors, he is able to manage his PTSD symptoms while earning over $100,000 a year.  Because he earns above the poverty threshold despite his PTSD, he is not a good candidate for TDIU.

Example: Good TDIU Work Case

A 60 year-old veteran owns a roofing company.  He has an 80% overall rating for PTSD, diabetes, and diabetic neuropathy.  He lost his last 2 jobs because his PTSD led to angry confrontations with customers and his bosses.  This is why he started the roofing business.  His PTSD impairs his ability to maintain relationships with friends, clients, and workers.  As his diabetes worsened over the years, he hired more workers to handle the physical labor. Over the past 5 years, he hired and fired over 20 workers.  During the same period, another 15 workers resigned because of his offensive outbursts.  This veteran is eligible for TDIU because he is employed in a sheltered environment.

Are you entitled to work and get TDIU based on marginal employment?  Call the experts at Disability Help Group, 1-800-800-3332. Or, click here to request a free evaluation.

If you would like to read more about the regulation on TDIU, click on this link, 38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a).

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How Can I Get TDIU?

What Is TDIU?

Many veterans are unable to earn a living because of service-connected disabilities.  Congress created a special benefit called TDIU to help these veterans live comfortably, also known as Unemployability. TDIU pays the same monthly amount as a 100% disability rating.  Under 2019 rates, VA will pay TDIU recipients a minimum of $3,057.13 per month tax free.  VA will pay an additional amount for each of the veteran’s dependents.

Ways to Get TDIU

A veteran cannot simply state to the VA, “I cannot work due to disabilities related to service.”

First, cannot earn a living

In order to receive TDIU, a veteran must first show they cannot earn a living because of service-connected disabilities.  VA will grant TDIU to an employed veteran if the employment is considered marginal. They do not have to be unemployed. VA considers employment to be marginal if the veteran earns LESS than the federal poverty threshold for one person (in 2018, $12,784.00 per the U.S. Census Bureau).

Second, must meet percentage requirements

If the veteran has only one service-connected disability, it must be rated 60% or higher to receive TDIU.  If the veteran has more than one service-connected disability, then at least one must be rated 40% or higher.  Also, there must be “sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating” to 70% or higher.  The regulation specifies five circumstances in which multiple disabilities “will be considered as one disability”. 

Will You Get TDIU?

Disability Help Group has won TDIU for hundreds of veterans.  Here are a few examples:

  • A divorced, 70-year old Vietnam-era veteran had a 20% rating for diabetes, 20% each for diabetic neuropathy in both legs, and 10% each for diabetic neuropathy in both arms.  These combined to a 60% rating.  As a result of these conditions, he had not worked in 3 years.  Because the disabilities all arose from exposure to Agent Orange, we argued that VA should consider them as one service-connected disability and grant TDIU.  VA agreed and granted TDIU.  His monthly payment changed from $1,062.67 to $3,057.13.
  • A married, 35-year old Gulf War veteran asked us to help with an appeal for PTSD.  She did not have a VA rating and she just lost her job.  We submitted evidence to VA to win the PTSD claim.   However, we noticed that she lost her last 2 jobs because of her PTSD.  She had daily panic attacks, thoughts of suicide, and was hospitalized for PTSD four times in the last year.  We argued that VA should grant her PTSD claim at a 70% rating, and then grant TDIU.  VA agreed.  Her monthly payment changed from $0 to $3,227.58.
  • A single, 50-year old veteran had a 60% rating for Meniere’s disease.  His symptoms prevented him from working a full-time job, but he worked as an Uber driver.  Because he earned less than $12,784.00 per year with Uber, VA granted TDIU.  He continued to receive his income from Uber, but his monthly VA payment changed from $1,062.67 to $3,057.13.

If you are interested in learning more about TDIU you can read the regulation, 38 C.F.R. § 4.16. Click here for a free case review.

Related Articles

What medical conditions are considered disabling?

A: The SSA evaluates your medical condition by looking at the “Listing of Impairments” and/or assessing your work-related limitations.  The “Listings” outline each major body system, and provide requirements necessary for proving disability. Many of the listed impairments are permanent or likely to result in death. For all other conditions, the SSA assesses your medical evidence which must demonstrate that your disorder will last at least 12 months and prevent you from working at any job. At Disability Help Group we work hard to build a strong medical file–we request your medical records and medical evaluations from your doctors.

My disability claimwas denied. How do I file an appeal?

A: The majority of initial claims are denied and sadly, most claimants become discouraged and do not appeal the VA’s decision. No special form is required to begin the appeal process. All that is needed initially is a written statement that you disagree with the VA’s decision. This statement is known as the Notice of Disagreement, or NOD.

 

The Notice of Disagreement should state why you disagree with the Regional Office’s (RO) decision. For example, if you feel that the office issuing the decision overlooked or misunderstood some evidence, or misinterpreted the law, your NOD should address that. If you received a decision for more than one claim issue, your NOD needs to be specific about which issue or issues you wish to appeal.

 

While the NOD is all that is needed to begin the appeal process, you will eventually need to complete a VA Form 9.

GET STARTED ON YOUR APPEAL.

 Disability Help Group specialize in Veterans’ Disability Compensation claims. We know how to navigate the appeal process and we will file any necessary paperwork on your behalf. CALL US at 1-(800)-800-3332 for a FREE EVALUATION of your claim.

Where do I file my appeal?

A: Typically, you would file your appeal with the same office (VA Regional Office (RO) or medical facility) that issued the decision you are appealing because that is where your claims file is kept. However, if you have moved and your claims file is now maintained at a VA office other than the one where you previously filed, you should file at the new location, so that your appeal can be kept with your file.

 

The VA encourages claimants to seek legal or non-legal representation prior to filing an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). We highly recommend securing the assistance of an experienced representative. The appeal process is complicated. You’ll want to get it right from the start in order to avoid further delays or worse, another denial. Disability Help Group will file your appeal and complete all the necessary paperwork on your behalf. Our representatives are highly skilled in cross-examining witnesses and arguing cases in front of the BVA’s judges.

 

GET STARTED ON YOUR APPEAL. Call us now at 1-(800)-800-3332 and speak to one of trained legal assistants who will evaluate your claim FOR FREE.