I want to talk to you about a situation that happens to many veterans. They apply for an increased rating and VA starts processing their claim. Then, VA sends them a letter that contains a VA form 21-8940.
Why did VA send me a Form 21-8940?
The short answer is VA is probably just doing their job. The Form 21-8940 is one of the supplemental forms that is required when making an application for TDIU (also known as individual unemployability benefits).
Under the law, VA has certain duties and responsibilities to you to help identify and develop particular claims. When you file for an increased rating, you have claimed that your service-connected disability has increased. If your claim for that increase has evidence that you are unemployable, then that triggers VA’s duty to send you this application for TDIU benefits.
What happens if I do not respond to the Form 21-8940?
First off, you need to respond and submit the information requested on that form within 30 days of VA sending it to you. If you do not respond within that time frame, then VA’s own rules say that they will administratively deny your claim for TDIU.
It does not matter what sort of evidence you have of unemployability. If they send you that form and you do not complete it send it back to them, then you’re going to receive a denial on TDIU benefits.
If that happens, it does not mean your whole TDIU claim has gone down the tank. VA should still consider the other claims that you made for increased ratings.
So, if you are seeking an increase from 50 to 70 on your PTSD, VA will not adjudicate your TDIU claim without the Form 8940. But, VA should still consider whether your PTSD has increased in severity and should be evaluated at perhaps 70 percent or even 100 percent schedular.
Do I need to fill out the Form 21-8940?
The Form 21-8940 is required to substantially complete an application for TDIU. Just the application for the increased rating is probably not enough. VA rules and regulations require the 21-8940.
If you got one of these in mail, it means VA probably has picked up on something. You may be eligible for TDIU benefits. Maybe you did not think to apply for them.
VA is now sending you the form and telling you that you need to fill this form out and send it back if you want to apply for TDIU. It is probably not a mistake by VA. If you want to proceed with seeking TDIU benefits, then you should complete the form.
TDIU provides an opportunity to receive benefits at a 100 percent rating level when your service-connected disabilities make you unemployable. If you are not working or have found it difficult to obtain and maintain employment, then VA has sort of done you a favor by sending you this form. So, you should strongly consider filling it out and sending it back to them within 30 days. That should substantially complete your application for TDIU, and VA should issue a decision.
What if I have other questions about TDIU or receive a denial from VA?
If you get a denial or if you have questions anywhere in the TDIU process, I would encourage you to reach out to us. We provide free veterans disability benefits consultations to veterans and their families.
If you would like to learn more about how our free consultation process works, just read this short article that explains the process in more detail. If you want to go ahead and get the process started, just complete and submit this free consultation request form or call our office at (770) 214-8885.