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Permanent & Total (P & T)

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​How to Apply for TDIU Benefits
Greg Rada

Veterans Law Attorney

A “total disability rating based on individual unemployability,” often referred to as 

TDIU, IU, or individual unemployability, is an avenue for the VA to compensate a

veteran who can’t work due to service-connected disabilities at the 100% rate when 

the veteran’s disabilities do not actually combine to 100%.

How do I file a claim for TDIU benefits?

Current VA policy requires a veteran to complete and submit VA Form 21-8940

(available here) before VA will decide a claim for TDIU benefits. It is imperative

that a veteran who wants to be considered for individual

unemployability benefits submit a VA Form 21-8940.

In some instances, VA will send you the form if the evidence in your claim

expressly or reasonably raises the issue of individual unemployability benefits.

But don’t wait for VA to prompt you – if you cannot work due to your service-connected

conditions, begin the process of completing and submitting the form as soon as possible.

What is an “inferred” claim for TDIU benefits?

If you filed a compensation claim that included evidence indicating you are

unemployable due to a service-connected disability, the VA is then obligated to

consider and decide entitlement to TDIU benefits. For example, if you filed a claim to 

increase your PTSD rating, and the evidence you submitted in support of that claim

includes a statement from a psychiatrist that you are unable to work as a

result of your PTSD, you have submitted an “inferred” claim for TDIU benefits.

Inferred claims can be used to get an earlier effective date if you’ve already been

granted entitlement to individual unemployability benefits. If the evidence in your claim

created an inferred claim, then in certain situations, the date of that inferred claim

should serve as the effective date for the grant of TDIU benefits. VA will rarely

self identify an inferred claim, so it’s important to have

someone review your file for potential entitlement to an earlier effective date.

More questions?

Call or email me if you were recently denied entitlement to TDIU

benefits or were recently granted entitlement but think you deserve an earlier

effective date. Remember, you only have one year to file

a notice of disagreement against a VA rating decision.

Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Benefits

TDIU  IU  Total Disability  

Individual Unemployability

What Is Individual Unemployability?

Individual Unemployability is a part of VA’s disability compensation

program that allows VA to pay certain veterans

compensation at the 100% rate, even though VA has

not rated their service-connected disabilities at the total level.

What Is the Eligibility Criteria for Individual Unemployability?

A veteran must be unable to maintain substantially gainful

employment as a result of his/her service-connected disabilities.

Additionally, a veteran must have:

One service-connected disability ratable at 60 percent or more,


Two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one

disability ratable at 40 percent or more with a combined ratingof 70 percent or more.

Contact VAWatchdog

Email Jim Strickland


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Veterans Law Attorney Robert Friedman Talks To

You About TDIU Claims For Veterans With PTSD

Since 1990, Robert A. Friedman has represented veterans

nationwide seeking disability benefits from the VA and Social Security.

His practice focuses on helping veterans with PTSD obtain TDIU benefits.

We often refer to Individual Unemployability as TDIU or IU.

The Individual Unemployability Benefit is equal in every way to a 100%

Schedular rating. The compensation is 100% and that dollar amount is equal to both ratings.

If the veteran is rated as 100% Schedular, he or she may work at any job

they are capable of doing. The veteran who is rated as IU may not hold "gainful employment".

The IU veteran is required to complete a yearly VA Form 21-4140 to verify that there has

been no employment in the previous year. Each Regional Office seems to have its

own way of delivering these forms, all too often they don't deliver them at all.

It is the veterans responsibility to

ensure that the 4140 is completed and delivered to VA (to the Evidence Intake Center)

on or about the anniversary of the award each year.

The veteran should download the form, print it and deliver it to an Evidence Intake Center.

 Either the 100% Schedular 

rating or the 100% IU rating may be rated as Permanent and Total (P&T).

Either rating may be a temporary one with future examinations scheduled.

The VA Form 21-4140
Dear Mr. Strickland;
I was awarded IU in 2013. No where in the rating letter did it mention I needed to send in a

VA Form 21-4140, to verify employment for the last year.  One of the letters in my package

from June 12, 2013 is a letter saying I now have commissary and exchange privileges. 

It goes on to say "This is to certify that veteran is an honorably discharged

veteran of the Air Force and has service-connected disability evaluated as 100 percent. 

The veteran has not been scheduled for future examinations".
Today I received in the mail a form Seattle VA a letter saying "We recently sent you a VA

Form 21-4140, "Employment Questionnaire".  This form is sent periodically to all

veterans who have been granted entitlement to total disability payments based on

Unemployability.  It is your personal verification of employment history over the

past year.  It is required to be completed and returned if you

wish to maintain your current Unemployment status.
We have no record that you have completed and returned this form to us..
We propose to discontinue your entitlement to Individual Unemployment.

VA FORM 21-4140.  My initial rating letter for IU does not

mention I need to verify my employment yearly.  I am on social security and have

not worked in three years.  I worked at the VA until May 2012 and had to quit

because of VA disability.  All this was put in the package when I applied for IU.  I am 65 years old.

Do you know if I only need to submit the form 21-4140-1, or do I need to submit it

with ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?  I just don't understand getting this letter from the VA. 

Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. 


The event you're experiencing with the 4140 form is routine. They forget to mail it

and then blame it on you. Don't make this a bigger deal than it is.

Just complete the form accurately and return to the Evidence Intake Center.

​The VA Claims Intake Center
Western Region
Department of Veterans Affairs
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI  53547-5235
Toll Free FAX Janesville – 844-822-5246


VA Benefits for Sleep Apnea

as a service

connection to PTSD
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist


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Things You'll Need

Mail your forms, documents
and evidence here...
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235

Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246

We recommend that you mail a copy
and then fax a copy!  Yes, it's twice the
work but maybe VA will only lose one
and the other will be processed.
Remember: Use Certified Mail!

Forms to File Claims

VA Form 21-526EZ
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection

IncreasedDisability Compensation

Temporary Total Disability Rating
 Individual Unemployability
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151
 Special Monthly Compensation
Specially Adapted Housing

Special Home Adaptation

Automobile Allowance/Adaptive Equipment
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child

VA Form 21-0958 - NOD
​Notice of Disagreement

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension
Change of Address​

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
Declaration of Status
of Dependents
VA form 21-686c

How To

How To Apply For SSDI

How To Apply For

TDIU Unemployability

How To Use

Disability Benefits Questionnaires


How To Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

to an existing rating

How To Retrieve Your

Military Personnel Records

Research Your Claim

The M21-1MR

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

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Veterans Law Attorney

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