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June 17, 2024

How Long Does It Take to Get VA Unemployability?   

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A common question veterans ask is, “How long does it take to get VA unemployability?”  

VA unemployability (TDIU) entitles you to receive compensation at the same rate as a 100% VA disability rating if you are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment due to service-connected disabilities.  So, I don’t blame you for wanting to know when you’ll see money in your pocket.  

The good news is you can expect VA unemployability in as little as five months, with longer waits closer to a year.  

Let’s dive deeper into the timeline to get VA unemployability, including how long you’ll receive monthly checks.  

Summary of Key Points  

  • When you receive VA unemployability depends on factors like the severity of your condition, how much evidence the VA requires, and whether your application is incomplete. 
  • Generally, it takes 5-10 months to receive VA unemployability, but that varies from person to person. 
  • You may be eligible for TDIU back pay after your claim is approved.  


Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.

VA Unemployability Timeline

Let’s take a closer look at these 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the VA unemployability timeline.

  1. How Long Does it Take to Get VA Unemployability?
  2. What is the TDIU Claim Timeline? 
  3. How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for TDIU? 
  4. How Long Does VA Unemployability Last?
  5. Can You Get TDIU Back Pay? 

How Long Does It Take to Get VA Unemployability?

If you qualify for VA unemployability, you should expect to start receiving compensation within 5-10 months. Generally, the VA sends your first payment within 15 days of your decision notice.  

Remember, to qualify for VA unemployability, you must meet the following criteria: 

You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment) don’t count. 

And ONE of these must be true: 

  • You have at least one (1) service-connected disability rated at 60% or higher OR 
  • You have two (2) or more service-connected disabilities, with at least one rated at 40% or higher and a combined VA rating of 70% or more.  

See our guide on VA Form 21-8940: The VA Unemployability Form to ensure you don’t miss crucial details in the application process.  

Note: You will also hear the term Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) regarding VA unemployability.  

What is the TDIU Claim Timeline?

What type of timeline are you looking at? The timeline for TDIU claims is like regular VA claims, but let’s look at what you should expect.  

  1. You file a claim using VA form 21-8940 
  1. The VA notifies you they received your claim 
  1. The VA reviews your application  
  1. Evidence is gathered (if needed) 
  1. The VA makes a decision regarding your application 
  1. You receive a rating decision letter  
  1. File an appeal if you don’t agree with the VA’s decision 

Our guide, The VA Denied Your Claim? Here’s What to do Next, can help if you choose to file an appeal. 


How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for TDIU?

Typically, it takes the VA 5-10 months to decide about TDIU claims. Remember, every claim is unique, and therefore, the claim process will vary from person to person.  

Factors that affect how long it takes to get VA unemployability include: 

  • The severity of your conditions 
  • How long it takes the VA to collect evidence 
  • Your application is incomplete  

You can check the status of your VA unemployability claim online.  

RELATED: VA Individual Employability Fact Sheet 

How Long Does VA Unemployability Last?

 There is no expiration date for VA unemployability. The VA primarily considers if your service-connected disabilities prevent you from working at any job. The VA will examine whether your disability prevents you from maintaining substantially gainful employment.  

Your VA disability benefits can be lowered, stopped, or increased, but they would only stop in situations like: 

  • Findings of fraud 
  • Changes to the severity of your symptoms 
  • How your condition impacts your work, life, and social functioning  

SEE ALSO: VA Unemployability Over 65: Top 9 Questions Answered 


Can You Get TDIU Back Pay?

Yes, you may be entitled to TDIU back pay after you’re approved. Your back pay would include the time between your claim’s effective date and when you started receiving VA benefits.  

The good news is if there is a delay in your claim process, you’re still entitled to compensation for that period. To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, keep track of vital documents that help support your VA claim.  

RELATED: Can I Get VA Disability Back Pay? 


Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we guide you and take control of the claims process so you may get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! 

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you in building a fully developed claim (FDC)—so you may increase your rating FAST! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE! 

Kelly Olone

Kelly Olone

Kelly Olone is a military spouse who earned her degree in Psychology from Florida International University. After working in the non-profit sector for several years, she turned to her passion for writing. She aims to contribute to a better understanding of the valuable benefits that veterans deserve. As a mom, Kelly navigates the delicate balance between deadlines and bedtime stories with finesse. 

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