How a 50 to 70% VA Rating Can Get You to 100%?

Many veterans have difficulty keeping a job because of service-connected disabilities.  Pain from physical conditions can make it difficult to focus and concentrate.  Medications can cause side effects which do the same thing.  Mental conditions like PTSD can make it difficult to work with others in a job setting.

Sometimes, a combination of several different service-connected conditions makes it difficult to work.  Other times, one service-connected condition alone is severe enough to make you unemployable.

Certain VA ratings for certain service-connected conditions often cause unemployability because of the symptoms VA requires to qualify for these ratings.  This article will discuss some of the VA ratings between 50 and 70 percent that could make you eligible for a 100 percent rating for TDIU if you apply.

A doctor sitting with a veteran going over paperwork A 70 percent rating for a mental health condition like PTSD

To qualify for a 70 percent PTSD rating, a veteran must demonstrate symptoms that make it very difficult to work.  Some of these symptoms include:

  • Problems with impulse control
  • Deficiencies in work, judgment, thinking, and mood
  • Depression or panic that affects the ability to think and function independently
  • Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances in a work setting

If you have a 70 percent mental health condition VA rating, you should consider filing for TDIU if you are not working currently or having difficulty maintaining employment.  If you want to learn more, read this article I wrote that specifically focuses on how a 70 percent PTSD rating could qualify you for TDIU.

A 50 percent rating for migraine headaches

Many of the VA ratings I focus on in this article come close to including the inability to keep a job in VA’s definition of the rating criteria.  This is the case with VA’s standard for granting a 50 percent rating for migraine headaches.

VA defines the 50 percent rating level as “with very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.”  The last five words of the definition almost point directly to the basic idea of TDIU.  To receive a 50 percent rating, your migraine attacks must produce severe economic inadaptability.

One reason that the severity and frequency of your headaches could produce severe economic inadaptability is that you cannot cope with a normal work schedule.  If you have frequent severe migraine headaches, you will have difficulty keeping up at work.  Your employer may not keep your position open for you.

If you have a 50% VA migraine headache rating, you should consider whether you would qualify for TDIU benefits.  After all, your headaches must cause severe economic inadaptability to even qualify for this rating.

A 60 percent rating for a heart condition

One of the ways that VA rates heart conditions is through the measurement of ejection fraction in left ventricular dysfunction.  Veterans with an ejection fraction under 30% should qualify for a 100% VA rating.  But, many veterans have an ejection fraction that is low but does not quite reach the 30 percent level.

Veterans can also qualify for a 60 percent rating through VA’s symptom based MET method.  Veterans who pass out of experience chest pain, dizziness, or fatigue as a result of walking relatively slowly or other light exercise could qualify for a 60 percent rating.

Symptoms from limited activity like this could make it very difficult to work.  While not all jobs require physical exertion, many do.

Because of the standards required to get a 60 percent heart rating, veterans with a 60 percent heart rating should strongly consider TDIU if they cannot keep a job.  A veteran without the education and skills to perform a less physical job may have particular difficult maintaining employment as a result of a 60 percent heart rating.

A couple going over paperwork sitting down on a couch Why do I want to qualify for a TDIU rating?

TDIU can provide a big benefit to veterans who cannot work.  Instead of receiving just partial VA benefits,  veterans qualifying for TDIU receive full VA benefits at the 100 percent rating level.

Without using TDIU, VA math can make it very difficult to get to a 100 percent rating level.

Can I qualify for a TDIU rating even if I do not have one of the ratings discussed in this article?

Yes.  This article only focuses on a few of VA’s ratings.  If your service-connected disabilities cause you to be unable to maintain employment, you should consider applying for TDIU.  This may occur because of one particular service-connected disability or a combination of two or more.

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.

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