Should I Quit My Job and File for VA TDIU Benefits?

Many veterans have one or more service-connected disabilities that make it very difficult to work.  Often, these veterans struggle to try to maintain a job despite these disabilities.  Many times, these veterans will end up quitting a job because they just cannot continue working.

Man sitting with back pain Can I receive TDIU benefits if I quit my job?

I talk to many veterans who ask me this question after quitting.  The short answer is that you can still qualify for TDIU benefits if you quit your job.  But, quitting your job could make it more difficult to get TDIU benefits.

I see many cases where veterans get fired because of issues associated with service-connected disabilities.  This often happens in the PTSD context when an individual has difficulty functioning in that particular work environment.  This can also happen with back injuries and other physical conditions when those conditions affect the veteran’s ability to perform a particular job.

Other times, veterans are not terminated by their employer.  Some employers try to be  rather understanding and accommodate veterans with service-connected disabilities, even though they may not be producing as much as other employees in the same position.

Sometimes, even though the employer does not end the employment relationship, the veteran simply cannot continue on working anymore.  Many veterans in this situation resign their position and then seek TDIU benefits because they cannot continue working.

What if VA denies my claim because I voluntarily quit my job?

I have seen situations where VA has denied a veteran’s TDIU claim on the basis that the veteran voluntarily quit their position with the employer.  Voluntarily quitting a position is not a disqualifying factor for TDIU.

All veterans needs to show for TDIU purposes is that they are unable to get or keep substantial gainful employment.  There is nothing in the TDIU standard that says it must be the employer’s choice to end the relationship.  If you’re denied by VA because you quit your position, then that’s something you would want to consider appealing.

This does not mean that you should choose to quit your job so that you can improve your chances of getting TDIU.  You will need to have good reasons for stopping your work.

Could the reason I gave for quitting my job affect my TDIU claim?

Many veterans do not always come totally clean with their employer when they resign from a job. Many times, when someone is leaving a position, they say one of the following things:

  • “I’m leaving for a better opportunity”
  • “I want to try something new”
  • “I’m retiring”

I have seen veterans who were simply unable to continue doing their jobs says all of these things.  These veterans had to hang it up. They could not keep continuing on in their work because of their service-connected disabilities.

But they did not have a conversation with their employer where they explained the real reason they were stopping working.  I understand that it can be difficult to have this honest conversation.  Many people do not want to because they do not have a very close relationship with that employer or that supervisor.  Other people do not feel like it is anybody else’s business sometimes.

There are a lot of disabilities that we do not want others to know about. Sometimes, veterans are embarrassed. They have been able to hide their depression, their PTSD, or other disability; and they do not want anyone that they work with to know about it.

Repairman knee pain What happens when the veteran then files for TDIU benefits?

VA will contact that employer.  One of the questions that VA will ask is why the employment ended.

If you did not give your employer a reason to connect the end of your employment with your service connected disabilities, then your employer will have no real basis for saying that you quitting is related to your service-connected disabilities.  That may certainly hurt you in trying to prove TDIU.

If you lead your employer down a different path and do not giving them an honest reason for why you are leaving, then that can come back later and hurt you in your VA disability claim.  So, it is usually best to be as open and honest as you can with your employer about the reasons you are having to stop working. Give them specifics about why you re not longer able to continue working

There may be situations where an employer values you so much and has some flexibility. They may be able to accommodate you. They may be able to modify your position with the company so that you’re able to continue working.  If this happens, there are obviously huge benefits to you from a financial standpoint if you can continue on with your employment and still receive some form of VA disability benefits, even if it’s not TDIU.

Should I quit my job and file for TDIU?

That depends.  If you can continue doing your job, you will probably want to keep doing that.  I would not suggest that you quit a job you can perform to try to improve your chances of qualifying for TDIU.

TDIU is a very difficult and complicated type of VA disability claim.  Many veterans find themselves in a position where they cannot obtain and maintain employment because of their service-connected disabilities.  But, if you can keep working at a job you can perform, you probably should keep doing that.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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