Today we are going to continue our discussion about TDIU and multiple disabilities.
You’ll remember that we talked about the fact that the VA will not take into account your non-service-connected disabilities when it is evaluating your TDIU claim. This, in fact, is specifically stated in the VA regulations:
It is provided further that the existence or degree of nonservice-connected disabilities or previous unemployability status will be disregarded where the percentages referred to in this paragraph for the service-connected disability or disabilities are met and in the judgment of the rating agency such service-connected disabilities render the veteran unemployable.
In order for the VA to properly make a decision on your claim, the VA must provide a clear explanation as to what is believes your unemployability status is relative to the service and non-service-connected disabilities. This means that the VA has to explain why your service-connected disability does or does not disable you from substantial employment independent of your non-service-connected disabilities. This can often be very difficult to explain “clearly,” which is required. Many times, the VA will refer you to an VA doctor for a medical opinion. The purpose of the examination or review will be for the doctor to offer some opinion as to the degree of disability that is related to your service-connected disability.
Therefore, if you have a TDIU claim that has been denied, you should take a careful look at all of the reasons and bases for the denial. Specifically, look at the VA examiner’s opinion to see why the VA is taking its position. If it doesn’t make any sense, that type of denial may not stand up on appeal.