Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability

Individual Unemployability

Individual Unemployability allows the Veterans Affairs to pay certain Veterans disability compensation at a rate of 100%, even if the Veteran's Affairs has not rated their service-connected disability at that level.

A Total Disability Rating Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU or IU) is possible even if the veteran's service connected condition does not equal a 100% disability rating.

Obtaining a 100% schedular rating can be difficult if you are trying to combine multiple disabilities to reach a total rating. The alternative Individual Unemployability route can make it easier to gain those same benefits. If you have disabilities related to service which prevent you from being able to hold a job then you should be eligible for Individual Unemployability.

The VA determines a veteran's entitlement to Individual Unemployability in the context of the individual veteran's capabilities, regardless of whether an average person would be rendered unemployable under the same circumstances.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Have one serviced connected disability AND
  • That service-connected disability is sufficient to prevent performing mental and/or physical tasks that would require you to be gainfully employed AND
  • That at least one disability is ratable at 60 percent or more OR
  • If multiple disabilities exist, at least one disability is ratable at 40% or more, with a combination of a 70% rating or more.

When the VA is evaluating a claim for When the VA is evaluating a claim for IU, the first thing it will look at is whether the veteran meets the schedular requirements for IU. They are as follows:

  • Veterans with only one service connected condition must be rated greater than or equal to 60% for that condition;
  • Veterans with two or more service connected conditions must have at least one condition rated greater than or equal to 40% with a combined rating greater than or equal to 70%;
  • For the purposes of the regulation, the following combinations may be considered a "single disability";
  • Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or lower extremities, including the bilateral factor;
  • Disabilities resulting from a common etiology or single accident;
  • Disabilities affecting a single body system (i.e., orthopedic, respiratory);
  • Multiple injuries incurred in action; and/or
  • Multiple disabilities incurred as a POW.

What if I don't meet the scheduler requirements for IU?

If you do not meet the 60%/single disability or 70% combined/40% single disability requirement, it still may be possible for you to be awarded IU. VA regulation 38 C.F.R. § 4.16(b) recognizes that some veterans will be unable to work because of their service connected disabilities, but may not meet the schedular requirements. In such cases, the claim is submitted to the Director of the Compensation and Pension Service for extra schedular consideration. The regional office is required to prepare a "full statement as to the veteran's service connected disabilities, employment history, educational and vocational attainment and all other factors bearing on the issue."