The Need for Vocational Experts to Document Total Disability and Individual Unemployability (TDIU) in Veterans’ Disability Cases

March 6th, 2018

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government run military benefit system responsible for administering programs and benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors.  VA regulations state that “all Veterans who are unable to secure and follow a ‘substantial gainful occupation’ by reason of a service-connected disability shall be rated totally disabled.” (38 C.F. R. Sect 4.16)

Entitlement to TDIU requires evidence of unemployment due to the disability in question and medical evidence that a Veteran’s service-connected disability renders him or her totally disabled and unemployable.  A Vocational Expert report can assist the Veteran or his/her attorney in documenting Total Disability.

Total disability is defined by the Veteran’s Administration as “when there is present any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation.”  When a Veteran is unable to work but the VA rating schedule does not permit a total disability rating, total disability can be based upon individual unemployability (IU).

“Individual Unemployability” is a way for the VA to compensate Veterans at the 100 percent rate who are unable to work because of their service-connected disability.  This is the fastest-growing segment of the disability compensation program.

The recent US Court of Appeals Case of Smith v Shinski (No 2010-7145), using Social Security case law, indicates the Veterans Administration does not have to use Vocational Experts in Total Disability Individual Unemployability cases, but that the VA adjudicator must consider a report documenting the Veteran’s unemployability.  It is clear from this decision that the ultimate question is the employability of the Veteran, NOT the availability of jobs they can perform.

Based on our extensive knowledge of vocational issues, OAS is capable of evaluating a Veteran who has a physical and/or mental impairment that is “service connected,” who are war-time Veterans with limited income and are permanently and totally disabled.  We can evaluate a Veteran as to their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity.  Under certain circumstances, a finding of TDIU can be made even if the Veteran is employed.

The vocational evaluation consists of four parts: medical record review, standardized vocational diagnostic interview, work and transferable skills analysis, and when necessary, testing to make a determination as to the Veteran’s ability to perform gainful work activity.

The OAS Vocational Expert can assist the Veteran or their attorney in documenting the effect of their service-connected medical impairments on their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity.  A Vocational Evaluation is important in establishing the Veteran’s claim for TDIU.

Based on a record review, along with a completed standardized vocational form, and  transferability of skills analysis using U.S. Government approved labor market resources, Occupational Assessment Service’s Vocational Expert can render an opinion in a report as to the effect of the Veteran’s education, past work experience, and physical and/or psychiatric impairments on their ability to perform substantial gainful work activity on a sustained, regular, competitive basis.

A TDIU Vocational Evaluation report can be rendered on a nationwide basis using local, state, or federal government data.  The interview and test battery can be administered via the internet using SKYPE, allowing Veterans throughout the United States to obtain this important expert service.

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the foremost companies providing Vocational Expert services in the United States for Veterans and their attorneys.

OAS Vocational Experts have worked for the U.S. Government in more than 3,500 cases in addition to over 750 cases for claimants in Social Security Disability Cases.  We are the “go to experts” providing Vocational Evaluation reports in Veteran’s Disability cases.

To see how OAS can assist you in documenting a Veteran’s TDIU, consult www.oasinc.org or call 800-292-1919 to discuss your case with Mr. Daly, our Veteran’s Vocational Expert or for a proposal containing the expert’s professional qualifications and sample Veteran’s report.  Our fee for a Veteran’s TDIU report is $1,000.