Does a 100% Schedular Rating Pay More Than TDIU?

Many veterans have questions about “Individual Unemployability”.  Individual  Unemployability is often known as TDIU or IU.  TDIU provides a method for veterans to get a 100 percent rating by proving that their service-connected disabilities make them “unemployable”.

TDIU is one of the most confusing areas of VA disability benefits.  Many veterans have questions about it.  A lot of veterans wonder if they are even eligible to apply.

I have written several articles about TDIU that are posted on our website.  In this article, I am going focus on a few different questions that many veterans have.

Couple with denial letter from VA Have I waited too long to file for TDIU?

One of the questions that I get routinely is “Is it too late for me to file a claim for TDIU?” Often, a veteran has been out of work for some time and has not yet filed a claim.  They may have been told by someone that it may be too late for them to file for TDIU.

The answer to this question is no.  It is not too late to file for TDIU.  It does not matter if you have been out of work months or even years.

I do not need to know how long you have been out of work to answer that questions because there is no time limit on an application for TDIU.  It is similar to the rules for all other sorts of VA disability compensation benefits.  There’s no time limit or a deadline to begin that process.

Even if it’s been months or years, go ahead and look into this, see if it’s something that you think you’re eligible.  I have talked to veterans who have been out of work over ten years before applying for TDIU benefits.

Of course, you are almost always better to apply sooner rather than later.  The reason why is that your application for the increased rating through TDIU is going to start your potential eligibility for benefits.  So, applying sooner means that you can receive all the benefits you should if you successfully prove your entitlement to TDIU benefits and the 100% rating.

Do I automatically qualify for TDIU if I receive a 70% VA rating?

There are two alternative criteria that are like threshold barriers to being considered for TDIU.   One of those is at least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher.  The other is multiple service-connected disabilities that combine to a 70% overall VA rating.

I often get asked whether a veteran automatically qualifies for TDIU benefits with a 70% overall rating? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no.

The single disability at 60% or the overall rating at 70% is just a just the threshold schedular criteria for consideration of TDIU benefits.  Reaching these criteria does not automatically qualify you for a TDIU rating.  It just makes you eligible to apply for one.

Now, a veteran with multiple disabilities that add up to a 70% VA rating will often have difficulty working.  But, VA will not automatically grant you these benefits.  By meeting these criteria, you have only gotten over the first hump.

You still have to show that you are unemployable due to those service-connection conditions. That is when the real work begins on your claim to prove TDIU.

Percent ratings Does a 100% schedular VA rating pay more than a 100% TDIU rating?

Here is another question I get a lot.  Does TDIU pay less than a 100% schedular rating? The answer is no.  They pay the same.

Both TDIU and a 100% schedular rating pay you at the 100% rating level.  Currently, they both pay around $3,000 a month, depending on whether you have dependents and how many you have.

A schedular rating is one where your ratings add up to 100% using VA math.  TDIU is an extraschedular rating where VA gives you the 100% rating even though VA math does not make your ratings add up to 100%.

Since TDIU and a schedular 100% rating pay you the same, there is not really a big advantage to getting the 100% schedular rating.  The main reason that you might push for a 100% schedular rating is that you are still employable even thought you can demonstrate a 100% rating.

If you are still employable, then you will not be able to prove the unemployable part of the TDIU requirement.  But, you shoulder remember that you can sometimes still be working and be technically “unemployable” when you are working in certain jobs.  To find out more about that, read this article.

Senior man using laptop computer with headache and eyes closed 1 Do I have to be service connected already to claim TDIU benefits?

The short answer to that question is “no.” You don’t have to already be service-connected.

TDIU can be made as part of an original claim for service connection of a particular disability. It can also be made as part of an increased rating claim, for something that is already service-connected.

In most situations, what I see is a veteran making a TDIU claim on a disability that is already service-connected.  However, it doesn’t have to be done that way.

Let’s run through an example here of a veteran with Vietnam service.  The veteran is diagnosed with ischemic heart disease, which VA should presume was caused by the veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange or another herbicide in service.  If the veteran has severe limitations because of the ischemic heart disease and will probably qualify for a 60% rating, then it will often make sense to go ahead and claim TDIU benefits, even though the veteran has not yet received a grant of service-connection.

You can do this. VA can decide both of those issues, service-connection and TDIU at the same time.  VA does this all the time with any application for a service-connected condition.  If they decide the condition is service-connected, then VA has to assign your rating.

If you file for TDIU before being service-connected, then VA will just consider whether you qualify for TDIU after they grant service-connection for your condition.  So, if you are applying for service-connection for a condition that makes you unemployable, you should strongly consider filing for TDIU at the same time.

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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