November 11th is Veterans Day. In recognition of that important annual milestone, here is some information about how veterans can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Some veterans may wrongly think that they are only able to obtain VA disability benefits, but this is not correct.
Veterans who are severely disabled may qualify for social security disability benefits from the SSA whether their disability happened while on active service or not. SSDI or SSI payments made available through the SSA are independent of VA benefits but must be applied for separately.
Can Veterans Qualify For VA & SSD at the same time?
Veterans who are receiving VA benefits may also be able to apply for social security disability benefits from the SSA as long as their disability matches the rather more strict criteria set by the SSA. Receiving VA benefits does not affect an SSDI (social security disability insurance) application, for example, as SSDI benefits are awarded on the basis of work history.
Anyone who has accumulated sufficient work credits from paying social security insurance contributions in their payroll tax may be eligible for disability benefits whether they are already receiving VA benefits or not. There are different criteria and a different application process for each type of benefit.
There are some significant differences between the way VA and SSDI benefits are assessed, so you do need to understand how your disability is assessed by both separate administrations. A disability lawyer can help you understand how to file an application for SSDI benefits if you are a disabled veteran.
The SSA’s disability criteria tend to be stricter than that for VA. VA benefits are paid out proportionally depending on how bad the disability is. The SSA only offers disability benefits to those who are so severely impacted by their disability that they cannot work for the next 12 months at least or your condition is terminal.
Evidence to support a disability benefits application must be convincing as it must include detailed medical evidence showing how the disability developed and how it compares to the SSA’s Blue Book listings in addition to proof that you cannot continue working for the next 12 months or more.
While your VA benefits do not have any direct effect on your SSDI entitlement, any medical evidence you have acquired concerning your disability for VA can help to support other evidence you need when you apply for SSDI benefits.
Does My VA Rating Affect My Disability Benefits?
Your VA rating applies only to your VA benefits and does not directly affect your eligibility for SSD benefits. However, you can use your VA rating, together with any medical documentation you have obtained concerning your disability you used for VA benefits to help support your SSD claim.
Your VA rating will not, however, affect how much the SSA will pay you if your application is accepted as the calculations are quite separate.
Can Veterans Get Expedited Claims For Disability Benefits?
If your VA disability has already been given a compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T) or you became disabled on or after October 1st 2021 while on active service, then the SSA may then decide to expedite your claim. The process is still as rigorous as if the claim hadn’t been expedited and any payment will be unaffected, but the claim may be dealt with faster.
Get in Touch With a Disability Attorney
Veterans may not realize they can obtain VA and SSD benefits at the same time, but this is certainly possible. Making any claim for disability benefits can be complicated and frustrating, but a disability lawyer can help you prepare your claim and work with you on your behalf if you need to appeal a denied SSA claim.
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