VA Ratings and Social Security Disability

Posted October 2, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® We often receive questions from frustrated clients wondering why their Social Security Disability claim was denied when the Veterans’ Administration (VA) has rated them as 100% disabled. The reason is that the standards used to determine disability in both programs are different. Due to the difference in the programs, Social Security (SSA) is not required to follow the determination made by the VA. However, a VA rating can constitute compelling evidence supporting a Social Security Disability claim.

While Social Security is not bound by a VA decision, they at least have to give the decision consideration in making their ultimate determination. Some federal courts have even ruled that SSA is required to give “great weight” to a VA rating. The 9th Circuit has ruled that a VA rating is generally entitled to “great weight” unless the Adjudicator provides “persuasive, specific, and valid reasons for declining to do so that is supported by the record.” Considering the federal courts’ stance on VA ratings and their importance to a Social Security Disability claim, it is clear that SSA cannot simply dismiss the merits of a VA rating without articulating a valid reason why it is not supported.

If you were denied Social Security Disability benefits despite receiving a high service connected disability rating, it is a good idea to consider hiring an experienced representative to assist with your claim. A representative who is well versed in Social Security law will make sure the proper documentation is submitted and properly reviewed by SSA. If you were denied benefits by SSA despite receiving a VA disability rating, please contact our office for a free evaluation.

By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®