Social Security Disability For Veterans

Americans who engage in military service can suffer from mental and physical side effects lasting a lifetime. These veterans who have become disabled may be entitled to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Veterans who are already receive VA benefits can potentially be eligible for either Supplement Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In order to qualify for SSDI, a veteran needs to meet the basic work history requirements and must have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years. For SSI, a veteran must meet the income and asset limits established by the SSA.

Veterans who have a VA disability with the U.S. Department of Veteran can potentially qualify for additional disability benefits from social security. Unfortunately if a veteran is receiving a pension from the VA and doesn’t meet the work history requirements, the veteran is no longer eligible for SSDI benefits and only qualifies for SSI. Remember it is good to keep in mind that SSI is an income based program and a veteran who has a pension may no longer qualify for additional disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Difference Between Social Security Disability and Veteran Affairs (VA) Disability Compensation

The Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs both have their own disability programs. However, each program evaluates and processes disability claims quite differently. The VA evaluates veterans with a service-connected disability while the SSA evaluates Americans who have a disabling condition that is expect to last a minimum of one year or result in death.

The main difference is that the VA system allows for partial disability benefits in percentages 10%, 20%, 30% up to 100% and awards benefits based on the determination. Though, the SSA offers a disability program their system is an all or nothing evaluation scale. The applicant must be deemed permanently disabled or 100% disabled by the SSA

Its good to keep in mind that receiving VA compensation doesn’t negatively affect your qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, the SSA does take your VA disability benefits into consideration when applying for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) since unearned income is counted in this program. Having a disability rating can improve your chances of approval when applying for either SSDI or SSI, and shows the SSA your disability has been recognized by another governmental organization. Although having a VA rating of 100% doesn’t even guarantee you will receive disability benefits.

Understand The Social Security Disability System

When an individual applies for social security disability, the application can be complete three ways – an application can be completed at the applicant’s local social security field office (a meeting to complete the application must be scheduled), online at SSA.GOV or over the phone. Once completed, an initial decision takes between 60-120 days. However, if the applicant is a veteran they may file a form known as 1-2-1-95 (critical request evaluation sheet). This expedited process is for members of the military who served after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred. A further expedition may be granted for veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100 percent.

After submission of the application the disability claim is then assigned to a member of the disability determination services office – a medical examiner. This examiner will compile all the medical documents needed to render a decision and after gathering the documents will consult with a licensed physician or psychologist who works with the SSA. The doctor and medical examiner will complete the evaluation by deciding whether or not the applicant is approved for disability. The SSA statistically shows that 70 percent of first time applicants are initially denied. Hopefully the claim is approved in which the Social Security Administration considered the individual 100 percent disabled and will receive one of the two disability benefit programs – SSI or SSDI.

If the verdict of the claim results in a denial, the applicant is allowed to appeal the denial within 65 days. The first stage of the disability appeal process is to file a request for reconsideration having the claim further reviewed by a new medical examiner and doctor. This reconsideration stage only approves 15 percent of claims and is the last chance to receive disability benefits within months from the initial application date.

Once reconsideration review doesn’t gain the claimant approval, the claimant can file for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Once the request for a hearing is filed a disability hearing can take anywhere between 6 to 16 months to schedule depending on the applicant’s location in the United States and how busy that local office is. Legal representation is typically used if a claim is taken to the hearing level.

Social Security Application Assistance

Veterans who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits may become overwhelmed by the process and may want assistance with their application. Americans are allowed to appoint a qualified representative to represent them on their behalf throughout the SSA’s disability application process. The issue is that the SSA wrongfully denies qualified applicants and less than 20% of all applicants are actually approved for benefits. Generally denials occur when the applicant improperly filed an application, didn’t provide enough medical evidence of the condition, or is currently making too much in earned and/or unearned income (if applicable).

Experienced Disability Advocates or Attorneys have much higher approval rates with some up as high as 70% (such as the Disability Care Center) at the initial stage of the application process. Advocates and Attorneys have expertise in dealing with the SSA and know what exactly what the SSA looks during the application process. If you would like assistance in filling out an application for Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Disability Care Center for help at (888)-504-0035.