TDIU & Beyond


If I'm rated a P & T TDIU but otherwise rated 80% disabled, can I file claims for 2 newly diagnosed disabilities that would be rated above 100% disabled combined and request my P & T TDIU rating be removed when I'm over the 100% disability threshold?  Although it wouldn't change my monthly award amount, it would allow me to make a living and earn income again. Living in California, costs are so high that $3100 a month doesn't even cover rent and the TDIU rating is limiting my ability to work to cover the difference.


Jim's Reply:

I hear you. It isn't only California, the rest of the nation is expensive too. You may have an edge on the rest though depending on just where you are.

And yes, you can try the tactic you're speaking of but that comes with hazards. In a nutshell you're telling VA you can work and that you really aren't all that disabled. If you file for what you believe are ratings that will take you to 100% schedular so that you can seek and hold gainful employment, know that this isn't the first rodeo that VA has been to.

You'll get C & P exams and a review of everything that you have now and in the end it's entirely possible for you to lose the TDIU rating and end up with 80%...or less. What happens if the ratings you file for are denied and your TDIU goes south? It happens every day and only you can decide if it's worth the risk.

Were I you I'd focus on earning up to the federal poverty wage before I considered anything else. TDIU vets are allowed to earn up to those limits and that's quite a bonus. You could put an additional $10,000.00 in your pocket and not risk anything. If you're married with dependents, you can earn a fair amount more. 

The #1 consideration when filing new claims is how that action might affect existing ratings. We never want to put our TDIU rating at risk, if we lose it, it can be hard to recover.