Many individuals who are disabled but still in the military wonder if they can collect Social Security Disability benefits while in the military. The truth is that there is no law that prevents someone who is on active duty from applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Whether or not you will actually receive the benefits you are applying for is another story.
Chances are if you qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) then you are no longer physically qualified to serve in the military. With that being said, active duty status and military pay does not necessarily prevent you from qualifying for Social Security Disability.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will take your work activity into consideration. If it is determined that you are indeed disabled then you can receive benefits while in the military.
If, however, your work activity in the military shows that you are not disabled by SSA standards, then you will not qualify for SSDI or SSI payments.
The bottom line is that you are not allowed to receive disability benefits from the SSA if you are engaging in substantial work activity. It is not the amount of pay you receive that determines whether or not you can receive SSDI – it is the actual work activity that you are capable of performing.
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits while on active duty and receiving pay from the military, the SSA will evaluate your work activity. That activity is what determines your eligibility for SSDI benefits.
Those who are limited duty due to a disability or are working in a designated therapy program should definitely apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits while you are on active duty, there are circumstances in which you must notify the SSA right away. If there is a change in your Military Occupational Specialty code, Air Force Specialty codes or Navy Enlisted Classification then you need to contact the SSA right away as this may affect your eligibility for benefits.
Qualifying for VA and SSDI Benefits at the Same Time
It is also important to note that you can receive disability benefits from the VA as well as the SSA. While the amount you receive from one may affect the amount you receive from the other, it is possible to receive both VA disability benefits and SSDI benefits.
Chances are, however, that if you are on active duty and are receiving military pay or you are receiving VA disability benefits, your income level will disqualify you from receiving SSI benefits even if it does not prevent you from collecting SSDI benefits from the SSA.
Consult with a Social Security Lawyer
If you have a disability that will force you to be out of work for at least 12 months, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If approved, you can use your benefits on medical related and basic day to day needs.
A Social Security disability lawyer will be able to make sure all of your medical records and documents are in order to give you the best chance of winning your case.