Veterans with disabilities can obtain both VA and Social Security Disability Insurance. However, these two types of insurance have vastly different procedures and considerations. The different systems involved can create confusion for veterans who don’t fully understand how to go about seeking both types of disability insurance. Here is a look at how Social Security Disability and VA disability can work together.
VA Disability Does Not Define Disability Like the SSA Does
You can receive your VA Disability benefits without having a total disability. This can become an important consideration when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance.
A high compensable rating from the VA can mean your condition severely limits your ability to work or quality of life. Nevertheless, this will all depend on your circumstances.
Your specific disability matters to both the VA and the SSA as well. VA Disability counts every injury individually, and each injury can receive a compensable rating. The VA will only grant benefits to those who have an injury that stems from military service. This is one of the reasons why the VA counts injuries individually. The department is looking for only those injuries with connections to service.
By contrast, the SSA’s major concern is if you can work or not. The SSA just wants to know you’re disabled, whether it’s from one condition or multiple issues.
True, the higher compensable rating from the VA can mean you have a disability that warrants Social Security Disability Insurance, but the SSA will not take that rating into account. Instead, you can consider your rating as a starting point for making your claim. The SSA will consider the evidence that led to your compensable rating, rather than the rating itself.
VA Disability Can Help You Receive Social Security Disability Sooner
The SSA does offer expedited applications for some veterans. The accelerated process typically favors veterans near the 100% compensable rating and those who take part in other programs, such as the Wounded Warrior Project.
VA Disability can help with your medical records. The VA will have copies of your medical records you can share with the SSA.
VA Disability Compensation Does Not Interfere Social Security Disability
Both VA and Social Security Disability use your income to determine eligibility for some benefits. However, compensation from the VA falls under the category of needs-based, which means it’s awarded because of your need for it, rather than because you’re actively earning it as with a job.
In addition, if you earn military income for any non-work activity, the SSA does not consider that income for Title II disability benefit considerations. In most cases, VA Disability and Social Security Disability can work very well with each other without interfering with each other.
All these points concerning your VA benefits and applying for Social Security Disability can change depending on your specific situation. The SSA does take your VA Disability status into account, but you’ll still have to go through the process like most others who apply.
Your information, including everything concerning your VA benefits, will need documentation, verification, and clarity. Trying to balance it all, especially if you’re also part of other benefits programs, can lead to issues with one or both government institutions. When applying for Social Security Disability as a veteran, it can help a great deal to work with an attorney.
Legal representation can help smooth out the process and ensure you’re not making any mistakes when you’re applying with the SSA. Your VA benefits can help you with the process, but they can also hinder you if you’re not careful about how you apply. If you’re a veteran seeking Social Security Disability Insurance, Horn & Kelley P.C. Attorneys at Law today.