TDIU Eligibility and Projected Limits for 2024

According to a recent report from the US Department of Labour in January 2024, the Veteran unemployment rate was 3%. Most of these Veterans are unable to work because they have one or more service-connected disabilities that prevent them from finding and keeping a stable job.

If you are one of those Veterans, you may be eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) status. It is a form of VA disability benefit that provides monthly compensation equal to a 100% disability rate, even if your combined rate is not that high.

Our VCU team often comes across the same questions and confusion about TDIU, its terms, and eligibility. Moreover, although VA unemployability income limits for 2024 have not yet been released, it’s still crucial to understand TDIU income limits because this is how you know whether you are eligible for benefits.

Let’s talk about how TDIU works, what it involves, and estimates for the 2024 TDIU income limit.

What is TDIU and What Can It Do for You

While technically TDIU implies that you will gain VA disability compensation equal to a 100% disability rate, it does not work the same for all unemployed Veterans.

There are 2 types of TDIU today:

  • Schedular TDIU 
    Schedular TDIU is based on the VA Rating Schedule, which assigns disability ratings to specific conditions based on their nature and severity. To qualify for Schedular TDIU, you must meet certain criteria. For example, having a combined disability rating that meets or exceeds a certain threshold (usually 60% or more), with one disability rated at least 40%.
    This type of TDIU is determined entirely by the disability rating assigned by the VA. In this case, a Veteran does not need to provide additional evidence beyond what’s outlined in the VA’s decision.
  • Extraschedular TDIU 
    This type of TDIU is granted if your circumstances don’t fit neatly into the VA’s standard rating criteria, but your service-connected disabilities still prevent you from securing and maintaining substantially gainful employment. In this case, each Veteran’s unique circumstances determine their eligibility for the benefit. To get the Extraschedular TDIU, you will need to provide additional evidence demonstrating how your service-connected conditions prevent you from finding and keeping a stable job. Those can be detailed medical records, vocational assessments, expert opinions, etc.

Except for the monthly financial support, TDIU also provides access to healthcare benefits through the CHAMPVA program for eligible Veterans’ family members. In other words, TDIU makes sure that your family members receive all the necessary healthcare even though you are unable to work.

Also, TDIU allows you to receive vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance. It can help you get new marketable skills and find a job despite the challenges of your disability.

And here comes the main question, or should we say, the main misconception about TDIU: Are you still eligible for TDIU if you receive other forms of income? Here is what you need to know.

Your Income and TDIU

Many people think that Veterans who receive TDIU benefits cannot have any other source of income. This is not true. You can receive a retirement pension, payment from investment, and any other income. A Veteran can even work and still be eligible for TDIU!

The thrust here is that your job should not be considered “substantially gainful employment.” 

Substantially gainful employment is a job that provides earnings above the poverty threshold and that is comparable to the pay of nondisabled workers in similar positions. Another important term is that this kind of income is “protected”, i.e. a non-competitive job that you cannot lose.

For example, working in a family business at a position that was created especially for you and will unlikely fired from, would make you not eligible for TDIU even if your salary is below the poverty threshold established by the US Census Bureau. However, temporary or seasonal jobs and all sorts of odd jobs fit the bill perfectly as long as your income stays below the VA TDIU income limit.

VA TDIU Income Limits in 2024

As of this writing, the VA has not established TDIU income limits for 2024. In fact, we still stick to the 2022 rates. This is because the US Census Bureau has not yet released the report for 2023, which will establish current poverty thresholds. 

However, like any other VA disability benefit, TDIU depends on the annual annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) issued by the Social Security Administration. That is why we can estimate the upcoming adjustments based on the numbers we already know.

Here are the latest known VA TDIU income limits, which were released in 2022:

  • Veterans under 65 years old: $15,230
  • Veterans 65 years old and above: $14,040

Since then COLA was released in 2023 (8.9%) and in 2024 (3.2%). Based on this, the income limit should increase accordingly for 2024:

  • Veterans under 65 years old: $15,230 + 8.9% + 3.2% = $17,115
  • Veterans 65 years old and above: $14/040 + 8.9% + 3.2% = $15,778

These are not the official numbers, but only projections based on the parameters we already know.
For the most accurate information make sure to consult with a qualified professional at every stage of filing your TDIU claim. 

Apply for TDIU and Get Your Benefits

To receive TDIU benefits you will first need to file the standard claim for the VA Disability Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ.) As soon as the VA determines your disability rating, you will understand whether you will be able to apply for the Schedular or Extraschedular TDIU.

In either case, you will need to submit an Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability (VA Form 21-8940) and a Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits (VA Form 21-4192). These forms will allow the VA to explore your employment and education history and decide whether you can maintain substantially gainful employment.

If the VA decides that your service-connected disabilities prevent you from having a steady income that keeps you above the established poverty level, you will receive your TDIU benefits.

In case of denial, you can appeal your case using the same procedure established for all other VA Disability Benefit Claims.

Applying for any VA Disability Benefits can be a rather confusing process and TDIU is probably one of the most complex cases due to all the myths and misconceptions surrounding this type of VA benefits. 

Veterans who allow the VCU team to work on their cases get access to our large network of independent medical professionals. Together we will help you make informed decisions about your claim and make sure that each step you make brings you closer to claiming what is rightfully yours.

Book your FREE 30-minute call with a Veterans Expert today and we will make sure that you and your family get all the compensation you deserve in full.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *