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Greg served in the Air Force as a C-17 loadmaster in both Operations Enduring

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Jim Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA

disability benefits. Jim writes extensively about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 
Jim's Mailbag is a regular column featured at  Stateside Legal  where veterans, servicemembers,

and family members can  ask Jim their questions  about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 

TDIU or IU or unemployability is a pathway to reach a 100% rating when you don't reach the rating by adding up your conditions by  The Schedule  but you still aren't able to work at gainful employment because of the cumulative effect of your rated disabilities.

To be eligible for the TDIU benefit you must have at least a single rating of 60% or greater or a rating of 70% or greater with at least one rating of 40% or greater in the mix.

The TDIU benefit may be temporary or it may be permanent in the way it's assigned to you and it is equal in every way to a 100% schedular rating other than you are not allowed to work at Gainful Employment.

Many veterans mistakenly attempt to change their 100% TDIU rating for a 100% schedular rating in the false hope of some sort of increased benefit. That's a waste of time and often backfires when VA reviews the record and lowers a rating.

The link you see below takes you to a talk given years ago and is a great explanation of the details of the TDIU benefit.

You may want to consider whether you are eligible for   Extra schedular ratings under 38 C.F.R. § 3.321(b)

Service Connection 
38 CFR § 3.303 - Principles relating to service connection
In a nutshell, to be service connected and thus rated as a disabling condition by VA there must be reasonable evidence that your diagnosed disabling condition was caused, contributed to or aggravated by military service.


Question:
Jim, You recently answered a veteran, “If [you] have a diagnosis of a service connected cancer, [you] are to remain rated at 100% until the cancer is treated and gone.” Here’s my question: In a case where the cancer (soft tissue sarcoma), is not service connected, would it be considered service connected because it took my VA providers to “diagnose” it, and became “highly infiltrative”? (Actually, my providers never diagnosed it. My lesion was revealed to be soft tissue sarcoma only because VA resected (not biopsied) it, and VA Pathology determined the resected tissue was soft tissue sarcoma. Incidentally, when VA Pathology determined the mass was soft tissue sarcoma, the Tumor Board referred me to civilian care for corrective surgery & radiation therapy, and told me I had to pay for everything myself. Was that kosher? Shouldn’t VA have referred me to civilian care under “fee basis, I had to mesh my treatment with my work schedule, couldn’t keep it up, and ended up bankrupt & homeless.   Diagnostic Code 5329 speaks to the seriousness of soft tissue sarcoma, and mandates temporary total disability. Thank you
Reply:
Service connection implies that a condition was caused, contributed to or aggravated by military service. If a condition isn't service connected and rated by VA, VA won't treat the veteran for free unless the veteran is in a Priority category that allows that.
It sounds as if your condition is not service connected and as such VA has no obligation to care for you. You're stuck if you don't have health insurance.

TDIU...how it works, what you need to know

Published in 2005, this is the best explanation of the TDIU benefit you'll find. 

What Is IU
Individual Unemployability or IU is the basis on which the Department of Veterans Affairs pays service-connected disability compensation at the rate payable for a 100-percent evaluation to qualified veterans with combined evaluations that are less than 100 percent.  

Regional office decision-makers assign IU ratings when veterans meet minimum combined evaluation criteria and, in the judgment of the rating official(s), are unemployable due solely to their service-connected conditions. 

In exceptional circumstances, regional offices may refer cases that fail to meet the minimum combined evaluation criteria to the Director of the Compensation and Pension Service for consideration of an IU rating.

Continue Reading...

Total Disability Individual Unemployability

TDIU, IU, Unemployability

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 Code of Federal Regulations

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Original Date: 2019-07-01

Title: PART 17 - MEDICAL 

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You may file claims on  eBenefits  or you can mail them in using certified mail or you can even fax them in. 

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Welcome  Home!  I'm  Jim Strickland.  I'm an Army vet, I was 91-D20 in USAREUR at ​the

98th General Hospital near  Camp Baumholder 1967 - 1970.  I publish the VAWatchdog

Dot Org to help you obtain the benefits you earned by your service  to our country. 

I'll also share what I'm reading today, the important stuff. An informed veteran

​is a successful veteran.  Feedback  is always welcomed.

Veterans Law Attorney Drew Early
Graduate of the US Military Academy West Point
20 years of active Army service, multiple deployments, tours with 2 Infantry

Division, 10th Mountain Division , XVIII Airborne Corps, and Third Army,

Airborne and Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal badges.

Graduate of the Command and General Staff College Master's Degree in

Strategic Planning from the School of Advanced Military Studies

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Specializing in Veterans Law
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When You Hit A Dead End

The Department of Veterans Affairs

​White House Hotline

855 - 948 - 2311    

< Denis.McDonough@va.gov >


Yes, this really works. No, it doesn't ring in the White House. The email address and phone number are staffed by a seemingly serious group of players, many who are veterans, and if you have a legit issue, telling these folks is like bringing in the artillery. Let's prepare  for your call or email. Make some notes before you proceed so you don't forget anything. I prefer email since there's no waiting for someone to answer and I can take my time to prepare the story in just the right detail. Be sure to include your DOB, your last 4, contact info...a couple of numbers, your preferred email and such. Describe the problem as briefly as you can.  Less is more.  Include the necessary components but don't tell your life story.  Don't rant.  Be polite...military courtesy will get you places that hollering  IN ALL CAPS  won't.  Respect!  Don't waste their time with bogus complaints about your feelings being hurt. If you appropriately utilize this service, I'll vouch that this works like a champ. Tell them you read about this at The VAWatchdog Dot Org...they know who we are.

How to file a VA

disability claim
Find out how to file a claim for disability compensation

or increased disability compensation.