Do You Get Extra Money from Social Security Disability for Being a Veteran?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

Veterans can qualify for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Veteran (VA) disability benefits at the same time. You will not get more for being a veteran, but you will not get less either. As a veteran, you might be eligible to receive several benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) depending on your circumstances, but it is quite common for veterans to receive VA disability benefits as well as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Additionally, veterans who served before 2001 get extra social security credit for their military service which counts towards their Social Security (SSA) retirement benefits.

Do VA Disability Benefits Increase with Social Security Disability Benefits?

VA Disability and SSDI benefit payments do not affect one another. Thus, if you receive both VA Disability and SSDI benefits, you will receive the full amount you have been awarded by each program individually regardless of the other program. The VA pays disability compensation to veterans who have a disability resulting from a condition that arose during or was aggravated by being involved in active military service. Conversely, the SSA pays disability benefits through the SSDI program if you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months because of your disability, do not receive any more than the significant gainful amount determined by the SSA, and have accumulated sufficient work credits throughout your work history.

Because VA and SSDI disability compensations do not directly affect each other, you might be eligible to receive both. However, you must apply for these programs (i.e., VA and SSDI disability) separately. Additionally, depending on the value of their assets and income when they file their application with the SSA, it may also be possible for a claimant to qualify for SSI. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the other disability benefits program operated by the SSA. The difference between SSDI and SSI is that SSDI revolves around an applicant’s work credits, while SSI revolves around an applicant’s income and assets. In other words, SSI disability benefits payments are made to disability applicants who do not have sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI and have less income or assets than the amounts determined by the SSA (i.e., the SSA’s income cap).

How Does Being a Veteran Affect SSDI?

  • You will not receive any more than you qualify for from both the VA and the SSA.
  • You will not receive any less than you qualify for from both administrations.
  • You can use your VA documents as medical proof that you became disabled as a result of your active service.
  • You can also qualify for conditions, both related and unrelated, to active duty.
  • If you are 100% P&T (“Permanent and Total Disability”), you may be able to get an expedited claim. This does not mean you will be approved. Rather this just means that you will hear a decision faster than other applicants. In order to see if an individual’s disability rating improves over time, the VA re-evaluates those with a 100% disability rating. If the VA reduces the benefit, both the payment amount as well as the rating percentage may decline if one’s 100% disability rating does improve (i.e., decreases). Finally, due to the fact that it is unlikely to change, the VA does not re-evaluate P&T.

Get Help from a Disability Lawyer

Veterans who are disabled and receive VA benefits may also be able to apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Each administration assesses applicants’ eligibility independently against its own criteria. The only impact on having VA benefits on SSA (SSD) benefits eligibility is when the applicant has a VA rating of 100% P&T, which can speed up the decision-making process by the SSA.

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