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VA TDIUIf you’re clicked on this based on the headline, you already know what VA TDIU is.

For those that don’t, though, here is a real general explanation.

A VA TDIU claim is a request that the VA assign you a total rating of 100% – even if your schedule ratings are less than 100% – because your service connected condition(s) precent you from getting work.

Used to be that the VA considered “free-standing” claims for VA TDIU – it was  a discrete “type of claim” in and of itself.  But, the VA bureaucracy likes to treat Veterans like God treated man at the Tower of Babel – just when we get close to figuring out our claim, they change up the language so nobody understands.

Now, the VA treats TDIU as a “Claim for Increase” in the condition – or conditions – that the Veteran contends are causing him/her to be unemployable.

You can read all about it in Fast Letter 13-13.

Anyway, there are 2 types of TDIU claims – schedular and extra-schedular.  Here’s a more detailed description of those types of TDIU.


The Easiest Way to Get Your VA TDIU Claim Denied.

Here it is, in a nutshell – if you don’t file VA TDIU Form 21-8940 the VA will administratively deny your VA TDIU claim.

Recently, I had the chance to look at a Vietnam-era Veteran’s Claims File.

He served at several bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War, and was claiming 2 things: service connection of his heart problems due to exposure to Agent Orange, and TDIU based on those heart problems.

The file pretty much had what the Veteran needed to prove service-connection, and I told the Veteran the evidence he needed to supply to get the VA to decide that issue – hopefully – in his favor.

But the VA had already denied the TDIU Claim.


The Veteran didn’t file VA TDIU Form 21-8940.

According to the VA FAST Letter 13-13 (issued in June 2013), they will “administratively deny” a VA TDIU Claim if the Veteran fails to file VA TDIU Form 21-8940.

Of course, the great irony here is that the VA quite often ignores VA TDIU claims even when a Veteran has filed the form.

In my opinion, the whole purpose of this ‘new’ requirement of filing a VA TDIU form is so that the agency can cleanse it corporate conscience and blame the Veteran for its failure to consider what is often an inferred claim.

So when do you file the VA TDIU Form 21-8940?

As soon as you reasonably believe that your service-connected injuries – or injuries that should be service-connected – are preventing you from getting substantially gainful employment.


Where to Learn More about VA TDIU Claims.

I get many of the same questions from Veterans like yourself about VA TDIU claims.  Here are some of the most common questions I receive:

* What happens if I have more than one medical condition causing me to be unemployable ?

* Or multiple service-connected conditions collectively prevent me from engaging in substantially gainful activity?   (Block 7 of VA TDIU Form 21-8940 is only big enough to list one medical condition).

* What does “Substantially Gainful Employment” REALLY mean?

* Can I work while claiming VA TDIU?

* How do I prove a claim for extra-schedular VA TDIU – when my ratings aren’t high enough to get a Schedular VA TDIU rating.

I answer all of these questions in my Veterans Law VA TDIU Field Manual. I’ve packed TONS of information to educate you about VA TDIU claims into the 14 Chapters and 115 pages of this Guidebook.

Click here to learn more about what is in this Veterans Law Guidebook – and how to get a copy of it individually or as part of one of our Guidebook Packages.


  1. robertallenthomas

    I am life member VFW DAV legion Vietnam Vets they don’t do jack crap

    • Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran

      They appear to “work closely” with the VA. See:,and type VSO into the search box and see what pops up.

      Personally, I won’t use a VSO. I don’t trust them.

  2. Dave

    Veterans don’t need this guidebook or a lawyer. In fact, a simple paragraph and a copy of military documents and medical records is all you need.

    Gather the appropriate documentation and attach to your claim. Write a statement that is short, sweet, and to the point.

    Getting a lawyer is a sure fire way to ensure your claim takes 10 years to process, instead of 8 or 9 months. Call the DAV or VFW if you need free help. This is what they do. You doing it yourself is the best way to go. Just do your homework

    • Chris Attig

      Dave, Thanks for posting.

      If the DAV and VFW are doing such great jobs, Dave, then why are there over 900,000 claims and appeals in the backlog? If a simple paragraph and copy of military docs was all you needed, why does it take 5-8 years for the VA to issue decisions? The short answer is that the VA Claims Process works great for a lucky handful – but for over 80% of Vets, it’s a “Charlie Foxtrot”.

      And if the VFW and DAV are doing such great things, why are Veterans routinely complaining that the DAV and VFW sell them out, don’t prove up their claims, or never tell them what is going on?

      Why are they always getting muscled around by the VA? Because Veterans realize that both organizations are increasingly ineffective.

      This is what his happening at the DAV – dues money goes to their ‘fat cat’ salaries, not actually getting Vets out of the Hamster Wheel. Click here to read about the DAV

      And here is what a VFW rep might do to your appeal: Click here to read about how the VFW sells Vets out.

      That said, I totally agree with you – Veterans SHOULD be able to do it themselves. That’s why I write the Veterans Law Blog…not just to teach Vets how to do it, but to give a place where a Veteran can “do their homework”.


    • LCV

      Not true. I have a lawyer and as soon as I did they moved with a purpose! DONT discourage vets from doing what is best for themselves.

    • Just Another Combat Wounded Veteran

      Do you have facts to back that up?

      Tell that to the thousands of Veterans who have done exactly what you said and been turned down.

      Which VSO do you work for?


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