If you are a veteran with a medical condition that keeps you from working full time, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
We know the Social Security program can be confusing, especially when other government compensation might be involved. Here are five common questions veterans may have about Social Security Disability benefits.
Can I receive VA disability compensation and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?
Yes! So long as you meet the requirements, you are allowed to to receive compensation from both programs. For VA disability compensation, that means having a service-connected condition that impacts your ability to work. For Social Security, you must have worked five out of the last 10 years and have a disability that keeps you from earning more than $1,090 per month.
Are the processes the same?
Not really. The VA assigns disability ratings, which signify how severe your condition is. A mild condition may receive a rating of 20 percent whereas a severe condition might receive a rating of 70 percent. Social Security does not rate disabilities, meaning you are either disabled or not disabled under the program’s guidelines.
If one agency finds me disabled, does that mean the other one will too?
Maybe. If you receive a high disability rating from the VA, the Social Security Administration will definitely take that into consideration, but it has no definite bearing on the outcome of your case. A Social Security disability finding does not affect the VA’s disability process, as they only compensate you for conditions that resulted from service.
Will receiving VA disability compensation expedite the Social Security process?
Possibly. Under the Social Security Administration’s Wounded Warriors program, veterans who became disabled during active duty after Oct. 1, 2001 and receive a VA compensation rating of 100 percent are entitled to have their case expedited. The Social Security Administration should automatically expedite your claim if you meet the Wounded Warrior program requirements, but you might want to request it after you file just in case there’s an oversight.
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
Unlike the VA, the Social Security Administration does not use a benefit rate table to determine how much compensation you will receive each month. Instead, it uses a complex, weighted formula based on your income before disability. Most disability applicants receive somewhere between $300 and $2,200, with the average amount awarded in 2015 being $1,165.
Now that you have a better idea of how Social Security’s disability system works in regards to the VA’s disability programs, you might be interested in these 9 Useful Secrets for Filling Out the Social Security Disability Application.