Photo Credit: US Army Africa

Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) provides disability benefits to eligible veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligibility for TDIU is determined by evaluating the veteran’s medical condition to determine his or her degree of disability. The percentage of disability is determined based on a rating scale and the amount of benefits is calculated as a percentage of disability.

In order to qualify for TDIU benefits, a veteran must meet the following two requirements:

  1. The veteran is unable to secure substantial gainful employment as a result of a service- related disability.
  2. The applicant must have one service-related disability of at least 70%, or a combination of ratings that total at least 60% disability with one of the ratings at least 40%.

Disabled veterans are frequently denied TDIU claims because the VA determines that the veteran is capable of performing sedentary work. “Sedentary work” is defined by the Social Security Administration as work that “involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools. Although a sedentary job is defined as one which involves sitting, a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met.”

In many cases, the VA’s assessment is incorrect and may be remedied by obtaining sufficient medical information regarding the medical condition and its impact on the veteran’s employability. If a TDIU applicant disagrees with the denial of his or her claim or disability rating, a Notice of Disagreement may be filed with the VA regional office that issued the rating decision within one year. The decision then works its way through the appeals process. Because the TDIU appeal process is complex, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable Illinois disability lawyer like those at Ankin Law Office, LLC.

Moreover, it is not uncommon for disabled veterans to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, many times, veteran will be awarded SSDI benefits before receiving his or her TDIU VA benefits.  In these cases, any social security disability awards can be helpful to proving the substance of a TDIU claim.

At Ankin Law Office, our Chicago disability lawyers focus on helping disabled persons obtain the full range of compensation and benefits, including TDIU benefits and Social Security disability benefits. Contact our office at (800) 442-6546 to learn more about TDIU, Social Security disability, and how to appeal a denied claim.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC ( handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and


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