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Disability Benefits - Lost benefits after I received my VA pension

Disability Benefits- When Can I lose them?

It is not unusual for some disability applicants to lose their disability benefits when they start to receive their Veterans’ Administration pension benefits. Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “Is it right for the SSA to terminate my SSA disability benefits if I started receiving my VA pension?” Information to this question is discussed below.

Lost SSI when I received my VA Pension

Supplemental Security Income or SSI disability benefits are offered to the disabled, blind or aged who are unable to work or complete what the Social Security Administration calls substantial gainful activity. If you have been awarded SSI the SSA agrees you cannot work for at least 12 continuous months but you did not have enough work credits to qualify Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when you applied for disability benefits.

What if you have lost your SSI disability benefits? There are several reasons you can lose you SSI: your income and/or resource level has increased above the allowable limit, you have been sent to prison, you got married and your spouse made too much money, you returned to work or the SSA determined you are no longer disabled.

If you were receiving SSI benefits your maximum payment from the Federal Government for 2013 is $710 (some states add to this amount through a state supplemental payment). Now, let’s assume that you start to receive your VA pension. If your payments from your pension exceed the current federal benefit rate than the SSA will determine your income is too high and they will terminate your SSI benefits.

You can also lose your SSI disability benefits if your resource level becomes too high as a result of your VA pension. Review the SSA website for more information about resources and what is allowed under the SSI program.

Lost SSDI when I received my VA Pension

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to disabled workers who have a serious health condition which is expected to last for 12 continuous months and does not allow them to work. To qualify for SSDI you must also earn work credits and be considered “insured” by the SSA. If you have been injured in the line of duty you may qualify for both SSDI and VA disability benefits.

If you were receiving SSDI disability benefits and you started to receive VA disability benefits then your SSDI benefit payment should not be reduced. You are allowed to receive both SSDI and VA disability simultaneously.

Now, let’s assume you were getting SSDI disability benefits and you reached your full retirement age and you started receiving your VA pension (instead of VA disability benefits). If you have reached your full retirement age your SSDI benefits are automatically converted to SSA retirement benefits and your SSDI will stop. You will not get both SSDI and SSA retirement benefits at the same time.

Bottom line disability benefits:

So, to answer the user’s question, if you reached your full retirement age your SSDI will be converted to SSA retirement and you may get SSA retirement and your VA pension. If you received your VA pension and you were getting SSI, your SSI benefits can be terminated if your payments from the VA are above the allowable limits for SSI.
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