If you were injured during your military service and are receiving veterans’ disability benefits, you might also be entitled to Social Security Disability. However, these two programs are different. They have different eligibility requirements and pay compensation at different rates.
Below, learn more about the differences between these programs and how they affect each other if you qualify for both programs at the same time. The Silver Spring Social Security Disability attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can assist you with your application and all aspects of your claim. Contact us today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
Compensation from Both Programs
It is possible for a person who is already receiving veterans’ disability benefits to also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If you receive veterans’ benefits, this will not affect the amount of SSDI benefits you receive if your disability is considered service-connected. Additionally, your veterans’ benefits will not be reduced if you receive SSDI.
However, if you receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to a non-service related disability while receiving SSDI benefits, your VA benefits will be reduced. This is because non-service benefits are income-based so any other form of income reduces your benefit amount.
Main Things to Know About These Programs
There are many differences between VA disability benefits and Social Security Disability:
VA disability is for veterans or active servicemembers who sustain a disability. SSDI is available for individuals who have earned sufficient work credits and meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) definition of a disability, which often means the applicant is totally disabled.
Level of Disability
Veterans can be awarded benefits even if they are not considered totally disabled. VA benefits are awarded in a percentage-based system where veterans receive more benefits for sustaining more serious disabilities or injuries. Veterans can receive benefits even if they are considered only 10 percent disabled.
However, the SSA does not award benefits unless the applicant is totally disabled. Claimants must not be able to earn a significant living and must have a condition that has lasted for a year or more or be considered terminal.
Different Decision Maker
SSDI is administered by the SSA. Benefits are administered through a public insurance program. VA benefits are administered by the VA. If the VA concludes that you are disabled, this does not guarantee that the SSA will make the same decision because there are different criteria.
Advantages for Veterans When Applying for Social Security
Veterans who apply for SSDI benefits have many advantages over other claimants due to their service. These advantages include the following:
- An expedited application – As of March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA disability rating of 100 percent permanent and total can have their Social Security applications expedited. This can be a huge advantage because other applicants may have to wait months or years for a decision.
- Continued military pay – While most claimants are not able to continue earning money from work, veterans who receive military pay for non-work activity can continue to receive this income without it disqualifying them for benefits.
Contact an Experienced SSDI Lawyer for Help
If you would like to find out if you might be eligible for SSDI benefits, the attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can help. It is important to work with a lawyer who is familiar with veterans and Social Security Disability benefits and how dual eligibility can impact your benefits. An experienced disability lawyer from our firm can be a trusted advocate and can explain the process, help you identify benefits to which you may be eligible and have someone assist you with the application and appeals process.
The attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are ready to help you access all of the benefits to which you are entitled. We can examine your claim and explain your legal options.
We offer a free, no-obligation case review to examine your claim. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, we are only paid out of a portion of benefits you receive if your claim is successful.