People who have served honorably in the military sometimes suffer from injuries that prevent them from being able to continue their service. Many of these individuals will be able to receive disability payments from Veterans Affairs. If you are among these individuals, you should know that you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. These two programs won't affect each other, which can be a big help to veterans.
There are some important points to consider if you are thinking of applying for both types of benefits.
Disability rating matters
There are many different ways that your disability rating can affect your ability to receive benefits from the VA and from the Social Security Administration. When you are discharged due to a disability or diagnosed with a service-related one, you will receive a disability rating. This ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 meaning you aren't disabled at all and 100 meaning you are fully disabled. The VA disability rating takes only your service-related conditions into account.
When you file for SSDI and are receiving VA benefits, you might qualify to have your case expedited with the Social Security Administration. This is only if your rating is 100 percent Permanent and Total, so be sure you indicate that fact on your application. Other criteria may also help you to receive expedited service, even if your rating isn't at 100.
Unlike VA benefits, SSDI will look at your entire medical situation. This could mean that you qualify for SSDI benefit even if your disability rating with the VA isn't 100. Of course, SSDI requires complete disability, so you will certainly have a better chance at getting it with a higher VA rating.
Sample conditions that impact veterans
Some types of injuries are more common for military members. Many of these are due to the unique nature of military service. For example, you might have post-traumatic stress disorder from being in combat or suffer from a traumatic brain injury because of your working conditions or an accident. Depression and anxiety can also qualify some veterans for benefits. Other types of conditions that could lead to benefits include:
- Breathing problems
- Cancers from toxic chemical exposure
- Scar tissue
- Severe hearing loss
- Chronic back pain from a diagnosed disability
- Loss of range of motion
It is probably best to apply and find out what the SSA does about your case. If your case is denied, you will have the option to appeal. This is likely preferable to never trying to receive benefits that could help you.