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Social Security Disability Benefits for Veterans

veteran talking with doctor

If you are a disabled Veteran and receive VA disability benefits, you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. While you are in the service and earning money, you are usually paying Social Security taxes and “earning credits”. In 2016, 621,000 military Veterans received disability benefits.

How does my VA Rating affect my Social Security Disability case?

Your VA rating is evidence of your disability however no particular rating automatically qualifies you for SSDI benefits. This is because the VA and Social Security administration use different criteria for determining disability. Therefore, it is certainly possible to have a 100% permanent and total VA rating and still be denied SSDI benefits when you apply.  Your VA rating does not guarantee you will receive SSDI benefits. To be approved for Social Security benefits you must also meet Social Security’s definition of disability:

  • You must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your medical condition(s) must have later, or be expected to last, at least one year or to result in death.

Can I collect both VA disability benefits and SSDI?

Yes. If you receive VA disability compensation, this will not affect your Social Security disability benefit amount.

Will my case be expedited because I am a veteran?

Certain categories of veterans qualify for expedited processing of their claims. These are called “Critical Cases”.  If your case needs to go to a hearing, this will significantly cut down on your waiting time. Social Security should automatically identify most veterans that meet the VA 100% Permanent and Total disability

  • Veteran 100% Permanent and Total Disability Compensation Rating
  • Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior Case – any current or former member of military service who:
    1. Sustained an illness, injury or wound;
    2. Is alleging a physical or mental impairment, regardless of how the impairment occurred, or where it occurred (i.e., United States or on foreign soil); and
    3. Sustained the impairment while on active duty status on or after October 1, 2011.

A veteran may also qualify for expedited processing under any of the other non-veteran status specific critical case categories including:

  • Terminal illness – a case is designated critical when the claimant’s illness is terminal (i.e. untreatable, irreversible and expected to end in death)
  • Compassionate Allowances – certain diseases and other medical conditions where diagnosis and symptoms alone qualify under the Listing of Impairments

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