Difference in Benefits - 100% schedular disabled veteran vs. 100% TDIU disabled

Posted on: Monday, May 13, 2013
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Difference in Benefits - 100% schedular disabled veteran vs. 100% TDIU disabled

Hello Jim,

I really enjoy following your blog and your comments and I think it's tremendous that you take time out of your own life to help veterans try to figure out the Veterans Affairs disability system. I joined the DAV about a year ago and I'm the adjutant for my local chapter in Northern Virginia, but I still can't find the answer to what I perceive as a very simple question. Is there any difference between benefits a spouse receives now or in the future (after the Vet passes away) if the Vet is rated 100% disabled due to individual unemployability versus 100% disabled due to the schedule? I've actually looked all over the place for this answer and cannot find it anywhere.

An attorney friend of mine who specializes in this area told me just today that there indeed is some sort of a difference. According to him, the difference has nothing to do with a monthly check amount received by the vet during his or her life but instead deals with ancillary benefits available to the spouse. I'm concerned that my wife will receive nothing if I'm not hundred 100% due to individual unemployability versus schedule upon my death. I know if I am 100% and live 10 years under the schedule she will receive some amount of money monthly. I truly don't know if this applies to individual unemployability however? Furthermore, I have no clue what other benefits are out there that do or do not accrue to my wife after my death - Does she receive more benefits if I am 100% due to schedule versus unemployability?

Would you mind writing in your blog some short answers or guidance to help me to find those answers? This might be applicable to many veterans and their families. Certainly you can respond to this email direct to me if you desire.

Once again, thank you for your efforts. If you are so very busy you can never respond to this email I certainly understand that as well. I wish you the best my friend, and appreciate your service.


The benefits that are available for a dependent of a 100% schedular disabled veteran and a 100% TDIU disabled veteran are exactly the same. The confusion comes from the fact that it isn't the rating of schedular v. TDIU but permanent v temporary assignments of the benefits.

Any 100% rated veteran get's the same money and basic benefits. The TDIU rating is simply a recognition by VA that the Schedule For Rating Disabilities (the Schedule) often falls short. The Schedule is where we get the term "schedular" as it applies to a rating. Because of the Combined Ratings Table (CRT or "VA math") some ratings won't make it to 100% by the schedule. Yet those veterans won't be able to hold gainful employment because of their multiple service connected disabilities.

The TDIU ratings process recognizes that and compensates for it by recognizing that there are many vets who are unemployable because of service connected disabilities. In the end, the 100% rating of a TDIU veteran is exactly the same as a veteran who is rated 100% by the schedule.

But wait...it isn't precisely the same...typical of VA. The veteran who is rated 100% by the Schedule is allowed to work. Many veterans who are rated as 100% schedular are working and earning good salaries. The TDIU rated vet isn't allowed to hold gainful employment because his 100% rating is contingent upon his inability to hold gainful employment.

The real confusion starts when we determine whether or not the 100% rating, whether schedular or TDIU, is a permanent rating or a temporary rating. Any rating awarded by VA may be assigned as being temporary or permanent.

A temporary rating is awarded when VA has reason to believe that there will be improvement in the rated condition. Many temporary 100% ratings are awarded for hospital stays, mental health ratings and treatments for conditions such as a service connected cancer. There is a significant body of evidence that says that many of these conditions will improve with treatment.

A permanent rating is awarded when it is readily apparent that the chances of improvement of the condition are slim to none.

Whether or not dependents of a 100% rated veteran are eligible for the enhanced benefits of DIC, CHAMPVA and Chapter 35 DEA are based in the permanence of the award. not the label of schedular or TDIU. Permanence is usually referred to as P & T.

So...the rules are the same across the board. If a veteran dies of a service connected condition, under any circumstances and regardless of the overall rating, the dependent survivors are eligible for DIC.

If you are rated 100% P & T (either schedular or TDIU) and you die within 10 years of the assignment of the rating, your death must be caused or contributed to by a service connected condition. If, within that 10 year period, you get run over by a fast moving bus, your survivors will not be eligible for any benefits.

Once you have held a P & T 100% rating for 10 years, you may feel free to step in front of that bus and your dependent survivors will be eligible to apply for the enhanced benefits.

If the 100% rating is temporary and even if you hold it for years, those benefits won't be there unless you die of a service connected condition. This is one reason that investigating secondary conditions is important. For example, if you have diabetes as a service connected rating, you are more likely to die of a heart attack or a stroke. If you are rated at 20% for the DMII and your demise is caused by a sudden unexpected heart attack, your surviving spouse is probably eligible for DIC benefits. But she'll have to know that and ask for it.

Still confused? Are you rated as temporary 100% or P & T? Do you have opportunities to explore secondary conditions?

I cover much of this on pages of my blog. Please click and read;




If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reply to this message and ask. I'm never too busy to respond to emails from veterans...this (along with my wife, my grandson, my Harley, and a lot of other enjoyable pastimes) is what I do. I enjoy hearing from you and many others and if I've helped to straighten out a few of the twists and turns that VA puts in our way, my day is made!

Complete Mailbag


Submitted by Dg3012 on Fri, 2014-08-08 00:02

If I'm 90% and IU, am I entitled to MWR benefits?

Submitted by admin2 on Mon, 2014-08-11 11:35

From Jim:

Yes, it's very likely that your 100% TDIU benefit will allow you to be eligible for most MWR programs. The 100% TDIU rating is generally recognized as being equal to the 100% schedular rating. Many programs like the MWR are selective about whether or not the 100% rating is permanent or temporary. If your 100% TDIU rating is permanent, you should be good to go.

Details about MWR may be found here http://www.militaryonesource.mil/mwr/overview?content_id=266803

Submitted by Michael G Castle on Tue, 2014-09-23 13:00

Sir, I just read this question and answer. This is something I have worried about for my son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren. The IU has always had me confused vs. the Scheduled awards. I have passed this on and will also put it on my Marine website. I do not know if you have ever addressed the issue of 100% disabled veterans and Military Academy attendance. I understand that a P&T disabled veteran's children may get into a Military Academy as preference if the child qualifies with good grades and has a sponsor. Would this apply to IU disabled also? Would this apply to adopted children also? I wish you could write about this if you have not. Semper Fi, Mike

Submitted by GinaSue on Thu, 2015-01-08 23:05

Hello, My husband has 10% for tinnitus. He went to audio C&P in Oct., has moderate to severe impairment in left ear. What's funny is we got a call from the VA today, telling my husband he has an appointment at Bay Pines audio dept for a rating for compensation. My question is: don't they usually send a letter for a rating of comp. He has a hearing coming up the 27th of Jan concerning ratings they changed and back pay for two years. Going after TDIU., T&P. He hasn't been able to work since 1998. Purple Heart, various metal, served in Vietnam and Korea DMZ. Boots on the ground in both places. Swam in Agent Orange for two years. Renal Cancer, kidney removed, stage 3 kidney failure in the one he has left, Istemic heart disease, aneurism, COPD never smoked, toxic encepalapathy brain damage, hypertention, diabetes and Parkinson's. So, this appt is strange, do you know of a situation like this. Thank you in advance

Submitted by mjnale on Mon, 2015-01-12 10:07

From Jim:

In the current VA rush to close open files, I'm seeing a lot of strange things happening. I have no explanation or even a guess about why this would happen. Possibly they rated the veteran for tinnitus but didn't rate his hearing loss, so now they're going to try again? The tinnitus is at the maximum for that condition - at 10%. The rating for loss of hearing is a separate rating but the exam is usually done in the same setting.

Beyond that I have no explanation for the letter I received about a month ago that told me VA was working on my claim of February 2014.
The letter alleged a claim is in the works for a condition that was rated in 1998 and has been static since then. I've heard from other veterans of odd exams of all sorts being scheduled.

The veteran should show up in any case. As a rule even if the exam doesn't appear to me necessary, we should attend it anyhow. To miss a scheduled exam gives VA a lot of leeway in making default decisions...never a good thing.

Submitted by JoelVash on Fri, 2015-07-24 09:27

I have stage V renal failure and I'm on dialysis, prior to that I was rated as ESRF(end stage renal failure and was given 10% for my tinnitus and 60% for my ESRF but this was before I was on dialysis, when it was all said and done, I was rated 100% with a IU rating(unemployable), you just have to keep pushing it. I started this back in 2008 when my kidneys started to fail because of Agent Orange which was due to diabetes type II, I live in Florida and St. Petersburg kept denying me and I finally ended up with the BVA in Washington, D.C and won only because the Vet gets the benefit of the doubt so keep at, I wish you and your husband luck, oh by the way, get a good Representative. Joel

Submitted by shojdraw7891 on Wed, 2015-06-10 16:54

I am currently at an 80% rating for physical issues and mental issues. I was just evaluated by QTC for TDUI so that I can go on 100% benefits. If this happens and my condition improves, do I just go back to work and go back to the 80% rating or how does that work?

Submitted by mjnale on Thu, 2015-06-11 11:13


If you receive a 100% TDIU rating and your condition improves, you would have to improve enough that gainful employment was a pretty sure bet. Even with measurable improvement in a rated condition, it still has to improve enough for you to work. If you were able to find and hold gainful employment, only then would you lose the 100% benefit and revert to 80%.


Submitted by nickerson on Wed, 2015-07-15 17:29

Is there a difference between 100% IU and and 100% TDIU, if so how does that affect spousal benefits?

Submitted by Jim Strickland on Wed, 2015-07-22 18:24


The terms 100% IU and 100% TDIU are the same. The IU is simply a shortened version. I'd guess that you really wanted to ask if there were a difference between a 100% TDIU and 100% schedular rating and if so, how does that affect spousal benefits?

There is no difference between the 2 ratings so far as any dependent benefit goes. If the veteran is permanently and totally (P & T) disabled, any eligible dependent will be qualified to apply for such things as CHAMPVA and Chapter 35 DEA.