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VA disability and SSA Disability

Veterans with a service-related illness or injury may be receiving VA disability benefits for a full or partial disability. To determine the amount awarded for a service related-injury the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs gathers medical evidence and determines the “percentage” of injury and pays benefits according to an established payment schedule.

Can disabled veterans also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits? Yes, many veterans do not realize that even if they are currently receiving VA disability benefits they may also qualify for additional benefits through the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration offers benefits to disabled workers who have a severe mental or physical health condition and who are unable to work or perform what the SSA terms substantial gainful activity for at least 12 continuous months. The Social Security Administration offers two different disability programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Disabled veterans who have been determined disabled by the Social Security Administration, who are not performing substantial gainful activity and who have earned sufficient work credits to be considered “insured” by the SSA can apply for SSDI benefits.

Keep in mind, if you have not worked and paid enough into the SSA system through your employment taxes you will not qualify for SSDI, regardless of your injury.

Does getting VA disability benefits ensure that you will be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits? No, in fact, as mentioned above, the SSA does not award partial disability payments so being declared 25% disabled by the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs, for instance, will not necessarily be enough to guarantee you will get SSDI benefits. If the SSA does not consider a claimant 100% disabled, they will be denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Will the Social Security Administration offset my SSDI payment if I get VA disability benefits?

There is more good news for wounded veterans. The SSA does not reduce the veteran’s Social Security Disability Insurance payment if they are also receiving VA disability benefits, but there are certain types of benefits that can reduce SSDI payments so if you have questions it is important to talk to the Social Security Administration.

Supplemental Security Income and VA Disability benefits

There are many disabled veterans who were disabled before they had a chance to earn enough work credits to be considered insured by the SSA. As mentioned above, if you do not have enough work credits for SSDI you will be denied benefits. The SSA does, however, offer Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled individuals who have a severe condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months, who are unable to work and who have very limited resources and income.

To qualify for VA disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income your income from your VA disability benefit combined with other benefits or income cannot exceed the amount allowed by the SSA. Additionally, you can only have a certain amount of resources.

Who do I contact for help with my disability?

If you need to discuss your VA disability benefits you need to contact the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs. If you need to discuss your Social Security disability benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the SSA website.

If you need help evaluating your disability claim and determining if you may have a disability case, you can contact a disability lawyer.
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