What is Individual Employability?
This occurs when a service-connected disability prevents a veteran from working, the VA is authorized to pay the veteran at the 100 percent rate, even if the veteran’s service-connected disability is rated less than 100 percent. This is called a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU or IU). When a veteran files an original claim or a claim for an increased rating, the veteran is presumed to be making a claim for the highest benefit allowable. This means that, if a veteran’s claims file contains evidence that indicates the veteran may be unemployable due to a service-connected condition, the VA is required to consider and adjudicate a claim for a TDIU rating. However, the VA often fails properly decide the issue of a TDIU rating when considering claims that do not specifically request that it be considered.
How is Eligibility determined for Individual Employability?
To qualify for a TDIU rating, the veteran must meet the VA’s percentage requirements. The veteran must have:
- 1. A service connected disability rated at 60 percent or more; or
- 2. two or more service connected disabilities with one disability rated at 40 percent or more and a total combined rating of 70 percent or more.
If a veteran does not meet the percentage requirements but nonetheless is unable to work due to a service-connected disability, the VA is required to consider assigning the veteran an extra-schedular rating of 100 percent. The grant of an extra-schedular rating requires a finding that the veteran’s case presents such an exceptional or unusual disability picture with such related factors as marked interference with employment or frequent periods of hospitalization as to render impractical the application of the regular scheduler standards.