Nexus in VA Unemployability Claims

Succeeding in a VA unemployability claim makes a huge difference in your VA disability benefits.  Even if you have a 90% combined disability rating, you probably receive somewhere around $2,000 per month.  If your rating jumps to a 100% rating because you qualify for TDIU, you will receive almost $1200 more per month.

The exact amounts vary since you have to figure in what benefits you receive for your dependents.  But, the increase from 90% to 100% is always somewhere around a 60% increase in your benefit amount.

Because of what is on the line, you need to be sure you understand the importance of your TDIU claim.  In reviewing more and more Ratings Decisions on TDIU claims, I have come to realize that many veterans lose these claims because they fail to recognize the importance of nexus.

You may have seen some of our other articles concerning the issue of nexus, whether in general or with respect to a particular type of VA disability claim.   I’m here to tell you that nexus is just as important when you file for VA unemployability benefits.

Man with injured back walking with cane What is nexus?

Nexus is really just a link or connection between your current disability and your military service.   If you want to service connect PTSD, you must show a relationship between an in service stressor and a current PTSD diagnosis.  If you have degenerative disc disease in your lumbar spine, you must show a link between an event or injury in service and the current disability.

The same is true in a claim for VA unemployability benefits. Unfortunately, a lot of times I see veterans overlooking nexus in their TDIU claim.

In their mind (and sometimes in what they are submitting to VA), they’re saying, “I’m a service-connected veteran with disabilities and I’m unemployable. Therefore, obviously I should get unemployability benefits.”

Shouldn’t I qualify for TDIU if I have a 60% or higher VA rating and am unemployable?

Unfortunately, it does not work that way. There’s more that you have to prove, and what you have to prove is nexus.

Another way to say that is just because you are unemployable and you have a service-connected disability, that’s not the end of the story or the end of the question. You must show a link between your service-connected disabilities and your unemployable status.

Many different things could make you unemployable.  You might have a disability that is not service-connected that could keep you from getting a job.  You might simply choose not to work.  But, these causes of unemployability would not create the link necessary to qualify for TDIU.

Another way of thinking about that is you need to demonstrate that you are unemployable because of your service-connected disabilities.  Let’s take an example.  Suppose you cannot work because your service-connected PTSD affects your concentrations and causes you to get angry with your co-workers.  Establishing the link between your service-connected disability or disabilities and your unemployability should help you qualify for TDIU.

It is not enough just to have a service-connected disability and not have a job or be unable to find a job. You have to show that the reason you are in fact unemployable is related to your service-connected disabilities. If you can do that, then you should have a solid VA TDIU claim at that point.

What else do I have to establish to prove my TDIU claim?

TDIU is one of the most difficult types of VA claims.  In addition to establishing nexus, you also have to establish unemployability.

This may require you to hire a vocational expert to show that your injuries prevent you from working.  You also have to worry that VA may try to claim that your unemployability is due to non-service connected disabilities.

Some veterans are concerned to ask questions about your TDIU claim.  With the time it takes to get through the VA claims process, you want to try to get your VA claim right the first time if you can.  Getting your questions answered can help you do that.

Our firm provided free consultations to veterans about their veterans disability claims.  This article provides more information about how the free consultation process works.  If you would like to set one up, just call us at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit this form.

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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