If you are planning on or already receiving disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI is administered by the SSA to provide monthly benefits for disabled workers. To receive SSDI, you must have worked enough and paid taxes into the SSA to earn sufficient credits for coverage. In general, that means you must have worked the equivalent of five years of the last 10 years prior to the start of your disability, but that can vary depending on age. While VA disability is only available to military veterans who suffer from a service-related disability, SSDI is available to any worker who suffers from any disability that meets the requirements under the SSA’s guidelines. So, if you have a service-related disability and other medical conditions, you can combine those together to gain approval for SSDI. Unlike VA disability, to get SSDI you must be fully disabled. There are no partial disability benefits under the SSA’s guidelines.
The Differences: To receive SSDI you can combine chronic health conditions, injuries, and military-related conditions to prove your disability to receive benefits. The VA will give a disability rating for each condition or injury, such as 10 percent. For SSDI, you must show that you are completely disabled and unable to work to earn a substantial gainful income. For SSDI benefits, you must be unable to work for at least a year or have a condition that is expected to result in your death. With VA disability, you can receive benefits based on the severity or the disability rating that you receive.
While you can apply for VA disability because of a service-related disability at any time, you need to apply for SSDI as quickly as possible. Because it is based on credits earned from working, waiting too long to apply can result in your loss of benefits. You can, however, apply for VA disability and SSDI at the same time. These claims are processed using a different approach through different government agencies, so be aware that different information will need to be supplied for each claim.
Expedited Claims: If you are a veteran who has been approved for VA disability with a 100 percent P&T disability rating, or if you were wounded in the line of duty after October 2001, you can have your SSDI claim expedited in effort to get faster approval for monthly SSDI benefits. The additional monthly benefits from SSDI can significantly impact your financial situation and help you with your regular living costs. By supplementing your VA disability with SSDI, you can have a major impact on your family’s finances.
From Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®