If you’re a disabled veteran, you might already know that you can receive special benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). However, you might also be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The type of benefits you receive will be determined by your work record.
SSDI. If you worked long enough, while paying Social Security taxes, you could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program offers a monthly benefit to qualifying disabled people, regardless of income or assets. However, it is crucial that your career was long enough that you paid a minimum amount into the system.
SSI. If your career was not long enough to earn those credits, you can still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, eligibility for these benefits is needs-based, so your VA benefits and any other income could affect your approval or the amount of benefits you actually receive. Certain assets might also put you over the asset limit, so qualifying for SSI can be a bit more tricky than qualifying for SSDI.
What veterans need to know about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Veterans are often surprised by the differences between Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs disability programs. The primary difference is that within the VA, disability is qualified based upon a percentage. For example, you could be qualified with a “percentage” of disability, like 20 percent or 60 percent, or you might be designated as 100 percent disabled. Checks are computed accordingly, with a larger percentage of disability equaling a larger check.
Within Social Security, though, you’re either disabled or you aren’t. Your condition must meet certain requirements in order to be considered “disabling”, and it must be expected to last for at least one year (or until death).
During the application process, procuring your records from the VA can be burdensome. It is always a good idea to make copies of everything before forwarding to Social Security, since files can and do get lost. It is also possible that additional medical examinations and documentation could be requested.
Since an approval for VA disability benefits won’t always translate into an approval for Social Security Disability, denials can and do occur. If you’re a disabled veteran who has been denied Social Security Disability, give us a call. We can help determine the cause of the denial, and represent you as you move forward with an appeal.