A disability rating from the VA can certainly help you get approved for VA Benefits, but there is no guarantee.
Veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have been found disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to a disability connected to active service may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Many Vets wonder whether their rating will allow them to also receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI).
VA Benefits vs. Social Security Benefits
First let’s look at some basic differences between the two programs.
Who Qualifies for Veterans Disability Benefits?
In order to qualify for veterans disability benefits, the veteran must currently have a medically diagnosed disease or disability caused by an incident during active military, naval, or air service. After consideration of the evidence, the VA makes a determination regarding the applicant’s degree of disability. The VA assigns the veteran a disability rating, which is measured in 10% increments ranging from 10% disabled to 100% (totally) disabled.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security disability benefits are only available for persons who have worked recently enough (usually five out of the last ten years), and for a long enough period of time (10 years for those 62 and older) in a job paying Social Security taxes. Younger disabled workers may qualify for disability with fewer credits and less recent work.
Additionally, the applicant must be totally disabled; partially disabled or short-term disabled persons do not qualify for benefits. The disability must last for more than one year or be expected to end in death. In order to determine if the applicant is totally disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers various factors. First, if the applicant has a medical condition that fulfills the requirements of a condition listed on the SSA list of severe impairments, the applicant is automatically considered disabled. Alternatively, if the disability is not on the SSA list, the SSA must determine whether the applicant’s medical limitations make it impossible for the applicant to do his prior work or any work in the U.S.
Evidence Used by Social Security
The applicant must provide evidence to the SSA to support his or her claim of disability. The SSA may consider a variety of types of evidence, including objective medical evidence such as laboratory findings and your doctor’s notes on your medical history and the treatment you’ve received. The SSA may also consider a statement from the applicant regarding the applicant’s disability, daily activities, and efforts to work and statements from family members of the applicant, as well as statements from public/private welfare agency personnel.
Additionally, Social Security regulations also state that the SSA may consider evidence of rulings made by other nongovernmental or governmental agencies (such as the Department of Veterans Affairs). However, the regulations note that an approval for benefits by another governmental agency does not have to be followed by the Social Security Administration. This is due to the fact that different rules and standards for disability are applied by different agencies and ultimately, the SSA Commissioner must make the determination of disability based on Social Security law.
Must the SSA Give Weight to a VA Disability Ruling?
Decisions made by other governmental agencies regarding a Social Security applicant’s disability should be taken into consideration by the SSA, even though the SSA isn’t bound to follow the decision. The SSA must consider and evaluate all evidence in the case record that may have a bearing on its determination of disability, which may include a VA determination of disability. The question, however, is how much weight the SSA must give to another governmental agency’s decision. This has varied quite a bit but the bottom line is that at least some consideration must be given.
Our Attorney focus on obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits for Veterans. They’ve assisted over 1000 Veterans with regard to Social Security and are here to assist you as well.
This is advertising for Disability Attorneys. This is not an Attorney referral service. The evaluation above will forward your information to a Disability Attorney who will then conduct a free Social Security Disability evaluation. There is no attorney-client relationship formed by this free consultation.