Will a Veteran’s Permanent and Total Disability Be Reduced Down the Road?

If you’re a veteran with a permanent disability rating, you may qualify for benefits such as special monthly compensation or property tax waivers (depending on your state). However, many veterans wonder whether their ratings will be reduced down the road.

In most cases, your disability will not be reduced once you’re considered permanently disabled by the VA. But there are two exceptions. Let’s understand: Will a veteran’s permanent and total disability be reduced down the road?

What is a TDIU?

This is how to get permanent and total disability from the VA. To be rated as P&T, you must have one or more conditions that result in a 100% disability rating and show no signs of improvement. The VA must also determine that your condition prevents you from working in substantially gainful employment. Substantially gainful work is a job that pays an annual income above the poverty threshold, which varies annually. Marginal employment, such as odd jobs, does not count toward this standard.

If the severity of your service-connected disabilities does not meet a 100% rating on the schedule, you may still be able to get TDIU. The VA will review your case on a case-by-case basis, considering the details of your injuries and their impact on your ability to work.

TDIU offers the same monthly compensation as a 100% rating without meeting all the schedular requirements for a P&T disability. You should consider this option if you are a veteran with significant employment impairments.

How Do I Know if I Qualify?

A veteran can be assigned a permanent disability rating if their injury isn’t expected to improve or change within their lifetime. This can apply to conditions like losing a limb or many long-term illnesses.

You can find out if you qualify for a permanent disability rating by reading your Rating Decision letter. There should be a box that says “Permanent and Total” or some language hints at permanence. You can also log in to your eBenefits account and review the ratings VA has assigned you.

However, you still need to receive a permanent rating to receive TDIU. You must demonstrate that your disability prevents you from pursuing substantial gainful employment. To do so, you’ll need medical evidence and treatment records that indicate your condition is unlikely to improve at any point in time. You can submit this documentation to request that the VA add a finding of TDIU to your permanent disability rating. Alternatively, you can pursue this claim by appealing your initial claims decision.

How Do I Know if I’m eligible for a TDIU?

A VA regional office determines TDIU eligibility. They will examine your case and send you a statement from your last employer stating how much money you made each year. The VA then compares this amount to the poverty threshold for that year. The VA may terminate your TDIU rating or reduce your benefit if you earn more than this number.

Suppose you don’t meet the schedular requirements for TDIU (you need a disability rated at least 70 percent or two disabilities that combine to at least 70 percent, with one rated at 40 percent). In that case, you may still qualify for extra-schedular TDIU. This type of TDIU is designed for cases where the standard VA rating schedule doesn’t accurately capture how severe your service-related injuries and conditions are.

The application process is more involved and requires a stronger case than regular TDIU benefits. It would help if you always worked with a VA-approved attorney when applying for this benefit.

How Do I Apply for a TDIU?

The application process for TDIU is complex and requires the submission of a great deal of documentation, testimony, and medical evidence. Having an attorney by your side to help compile this information can be instrumental in successfully obtaining your TDIU claim.

You must prove that your service-connected disabilities prevent you from acquiring and maintaining substantially gainful employment to receive TDIU benefits. Evidence supporting your claim can include statements from friends, family members, co-workers, previous supervisors, and medical and vocational experts.

Many veterans find themselves denied at this stage of the process, which can be a stressful time. However, you have the right to appeal this decision within one year. An experienced TDIU lawyer can evaluate your case and help you develop a strong appeal.


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