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Get VA Disability can I get SSI too?

VA Disability and SSI benefits

If you are receiving veteran’s disability benefits for an injury you received while in the service to our country you may also be wondering what other benefits may be available from the Social Security Administration (SSA). It may be possible to get both VA disability and SSA disability benefits but getting one will not ensure that you will get the other. Additionally, unlike the Veteran’s Administration, the SSA does  not award any type of partial disability benefits so to qualify for SSDI or SSI you will have to prove you are 100% disabled.

Recently on our disability forum we had a veteran ask if they could get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in addition to their VA disability benefits if they have a disability rating of 100%. This blog will address the specific issues related to this question.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

SSI is a cash assistance program offered to the disabled, aged and blind who are no longer able to work and who have VERY limited income and resources. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), SSI applicants do not have to have worked or paid into the SSA system through employment taxes to qualify.

There are several issues for a veteran who is applying for SSA disability benefits. First, if the veteran is 100% disabled, currently not working (and not able to work), their condition will last at least 12 continuous months and the SSA considers their condition severe then they may apply for disability benefits.

But how do you know if you should apply for SSDI or SSI? If you have worked and paid employment taxes and have earned sufficient work credits to be considered “insured” you should apply for SSDI benefits. If you have not worked and do not have work credits than you will not qualify for SSDI and your only option is SSI.

Resource and Income Limitations for SSI

The disability applicant specifically asked about SSI so we will address the issues for SSI and assume he did not have enough work credits for SSDI. Now, the only way this VA veteran will qualify for SSI is if he can prove he is disabled and he has very limited income and resources.

Resources are defined by the SSA and there are some resources that are considered exempt. Review the SSA resource page for more information to determine if you meet the resource level. To qualify for SSI the veteran’s income limit must also be below the allowable SSI limit. This means their VA disability benefits will have to be less than the federal benefit payment for SSI which is currently $710 per qualifying individual.

So will the veteran qualify for SSI? Probably not, most veterans who receive VA disability have a payment which is higher than the federal benefit rate for SSI, have too many resources or are married to a spouse whose income is too high.

Can I get SSDI and VA Disability?

If you get VA disability and you have sufficient work credits for SSDI you can apply for SSDI benefits. Because SSDI is not specifically for those with limited income and resources you may likely qualify for both SSDI and VA disability benefits.
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