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Why Did My TDIU Benefits Stop? Top Reasons Behind Benefit Termination

What is TDIU?

TDIU, or Total Disability Individual Unemployability, is a benefit offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans who are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected disabilities. TDIU allows veterans who have a lower disability rating (below 100% schedular) to be compensated at the 100% disability rate if their disabilities prevent them from working. It is important to understand what schedular means. Schedular means that the disability rating is based on the disability table, or schedule, that the VA has in place. So, for example, if a veteran is rated 50% disabled due to PTSD, they have a 50% schedular rating. When a veteran is rated 100% schedular, that means they are 100% through one disability, or several adding up to 100%.

TDIU comes in when a veteran is under 100% schedular. If they meet the eligibility criteria (below), they can apply for TDIU and, if awarded, will be paid at the 100% rate. However, there are certain stipulations that come along with the TDIU rating.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for TDIU, a veteran typically must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The veteran has one service-connected disability rated at least at 60%, or
  • The veteran has multiple service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of 70% or more, with at least one disability rated at 40% or more.

Applying for TDIU

Veterans can apply for TDIU by filing a VA Form 21-8940, “Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability.” This form requires information about the veteran’s employment history, the impact of disabilities on employment, and any other earnings or income. In addition, the veteran will have to have their last employer(s) fill out a VA Form 21-4192 to provide information on the last job worked, the amount the veteran made, and any time taken off due to the veterans disabilities.


Employment Status: TDIU is specifically for veterans whose disabilities impair their ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation. The VA considers various factors, such as the veteran’s employment history, education, training, and the nature of their disabilities.

Marginal Employment: Veterans who are employed but earn less than a certain threshold defined by the poverty level may still qualify for TDIU. This is considered “marginal employment.”

Protected Work Environment: Even if a veteran earns more than the poverty threshold, they might still qualify for TDIU if they are working in a protected environment where the employer makes special accommodations for their disabilities.


Receiving TDIU means that even though a veteran’s combined disability rating is not 100% on the schedular rating system, they are paid at the 100% rate because their disabilities prevent substantial gainful employment.

Additional Support

We advise any veterans who are considering applying for TDIU to seek assistance from a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who can help navigate the application process and ensure all pertinent information and documentation are provided to the VA.

Losing TDIU

Yes, it is possible for a veteran to lose TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability) status under certain circumstances. Here are the primary reasons why TDIU might be discontinued:

1. Improvement in Medical Condition: If the VA determines that the veteran’s medical conditions have improved to the extent that they are no longer considered to be unemployable, the TDIU status may be revoked. This decision is usually based on medical examinations and evidence that shows significant improvement in the veteran’s health.

2. Return to Substantial Gainful Employment: TDIU is granted based on the veteran’s inability to engage in substantial gainful employment due to service-connected disabilities. If a veteran returns to work at a job that is considered substantial gainful employment (typically above the poverty threshold or in a competitive environment), the VA may decide to terminate TDIU benefits. However, the VA generally allows a trial work period of 12 months to determine if the veteran can maintain such employment consistently.

3. Failure to Comply with VA Requests: Veterans receiving TDIU are sometimes required to fill out the VA’s Employment Questionnaire annually, which asks about any employment over the past year and other income sources. Failure to return these forms can result in the termination of benefits.

4. Regular Reexaminations: The VA may schedule regular reexaminations to assess the status of a veteran’s disabilities. If these examinations suggest that a veteran’s disability status has changed and they are capable of maintaining gainful employment, TDIU benefits may be discontinued.

Reinstating TDIU

If TDIU is discontinued due to employment, veterans can reapply for TDIU benefits if they stop working or if their income falls below the threshold for substantial gainful employment. The process involves submitting updated medical evidence and potentially the same forms required for the initial TDIU claim.

Veterans facing potential termination of their TDIU benefits or those seeking to have them reinstated should consider consulting a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) for assistance. These professionals can provide guidance and support in navigating the complexities of VA benefits and the appeals process if necessary.

We hope this has answered some of your questions about TDIU, both getting it and the possibility of losing it. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below in the comments or you can email us at

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