How Attending School Impacts Your TDIU Benefits

VA accredited attorneys help you get the most out of your benefits

Many disabled veterans have misconceptions about their benefits, especially when it comes to losing eligibility for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability. If you are receiving TDIU, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made an assessment that you cannot hold gainful employment. But does that mean you are restricted from pursuing other activities that might enrich your life? As far as your education is concerned, the answer is no. The VA accredited attorneys at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban want you to understand the full scope of your rights so you can keep your benefits while taking advantage of educational opportunities.

Can I go to school and continue to receive TDIU benefits?

Many TDIU recipients and applicants for TDIU have the mistaken idea that pursuing a technical degree or attending college automatically disqualifies them from TDIU. After all, going to school is sort of like a job, isn’t it? It requires mental focus, intelligence, stamina, and task completion, the same as a job. While all this is true, there is no direct correlation between school and employment, and although school might make a TDIU recipient employable down the road, enrolling in an educational program does not immediately disqualify the veteran student from benefits.

Commonly held myths about TDIU and schooling

Experts in veterans’ unemployment and vocational rehabilitation point to a few myths that hold disabled veterans back from pursuing educational opportunities:

  • Rehabilitation that creates a prospect of future employment disqualifies a veteran from TDIU.
  • A degree from college or a technical school means a veteran is employable.
  • Working, or having the ability to hold a job, stops TDIU benefits.

First, although a college education can create greater opportunities to hold a sedentary desk job, scholastic performance does not translate directly to job success or enhanced earning capacity. Secondly, a veteran can complete the course of study necessary for a degree and still have a service-related condition that prevents the veteran from translating academic accomplishments into gainful employment. Third, work alone does not disqualify the veteran from TDIU; the work must be “a substantially gainful occupation.” Skills that allow a vet to pick up odd jobs to work sporadically would not necessarily result in a termination of benefits.

However, this is not to say that controversies don’t arise concerning a disabled veteran’s TDIU eligibility. So, if you receive any communication from the VA challenging your TDIU benefits because of any of the above, you should immediately contact an accredited VA benefits attorney at our firm.

VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services help vets with school and work

The VA has VR&E services available to assist vets with job training, employment accommodations, job-seeking skills, and business development. Veterans pursuing their education should inquire about the VetSuccess on Campus program (VSOC), which helps veterans, service members, and their qualified dependents with on-campus benefits assistance and counseling. VSOC began as a pilot program at the University of South Florida in 2009 and expanded to 32 colleges and universities by the end of 2012. The current number of VSOC sites is 94.

Let our accredited veterans’ benefits attorneys protect your right to TDIU

Don’t let your pursuit of an education compromise your disability benefits. If any dispute arises, let Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban fight for the benefits you deserve. From anywhere in the country, you can call us at 866-866-VETS, and someone will be ready to talk to you, or you can contact us online. Our firm never charges upfront fees, and there are no attorney fees unless we win your claim for benefits.