Differences Between Veterans Disability and Social Security Disability

Disability benefits obtained through the Social Security Administration and disability benefits obtained through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are not mutually exclusive benefit systems. Because Veterans disability benefits are based on a veteran’s service-related injury, and Social Security disability benefits are based on an individual’s work history, a disabled veteran can apply for benefits under both programs.

Differences Between the Programs

The VA disability program and the Social Security disability program are very different processes. For instance the VA disability system will assign disability benefits based on your disability rating, which is a percentage that corresponds to the degree of your disability and can range from a 0% rating to a 100% rating. The Social Security disability system, on the other hand, requires that your disability must have lasted, or be expected to last, for a period of one year or longer.

Pros and Cons Of Filing For Both

There are a number of advantages and potential consequences that a wounded or disabled veteran must be aware of when trying to obtain disability compensation through both programs.

  • For instance, one benefit is that military members from all branches of service are eligible for expedited processingof their Social Security disability claim, if they became disabled after October 1, 2001 and their disability is service related
  • Another perk is that if you successfully obtain disability  benefits under the VA program, you stand a good chance of also obtaining benefits under the Social Security disability program. Although, it is important to note that approval of a Social Security disability claim when you are already receiving veterans disability is not automatic.
  • However, if you have obtained disability benefits under Social Security, it does not necessarily mean that you will obtain benefits under the VA system, because in order for a disability to be eligible under the VA system, the disability must be service related. If too many factors of your disability are attributable to non-service-related incidents, the VA may not grant your disability benefits claim.
  • If you make a claim for Social Security disability after obtaining VA disability benefits, it is important that you collect your VA medical records and provide them to the Social Security office when making a disability claim. VA hospitals and treatment centers notoriously have a reputation for “losing” veterans’ medical records and will most likely not provide your records to Social Security on your behalf.
  • Additionally, because you will need to be responsible for submitting your medical evidence to the Social Security Administration, you will need to take care and make sure that you retain copies of everything you submit.

Applying for disability benefits can be complicated and often requires discipline and diligence. You may want to consider consulting with an experienced VA disability claims lawyer or Social Security disability attorneywho can help you get the benefits you need for your service-related disability.  The Law Office of Kenneth Hiller have helped many veterans get the VA disability and Social Security disability benefits they deserve. Contact us today.

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