Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Understanding VA and Social Security disability benefits

Veterans who are receiving VA disability benefits may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits. VA disability benefits are available to military veterans suffering from a service-related disability. Social Security disability benefits are available to disabled individuals with sufficient work history. Social Security disability (SSD) benefits are monthly benefits for disabled individuals suffering from a severe disability that prevents them from working. The disability claims process can be complicated so it is important to understand veterans' issues related to disability.

To qualify for SSD benefits, the disabled individual must be suffering from a physical or mental medical condition that is expected to last longer than 12 months or result in death. In addition, to qualify for SSD benefits, applicants for disability must have adequate work history to qualify for benefits. The general work requirement is that the applicant must have worked the last 5 of 10 years but this requirement varies by age.

Though the disabled individual must be fully disabled to qualify for SSD benefits, the Social Security Administration does not provide a disability rating like VA disability does. For VA disability, benefits are based on the severity of the disability rating the veteran receives and benefits for partial disability are possible. It is important to promptly apply for SSD benefits and is possible to apply for SSD benefits and VA disability at the same time. Because the application process for each, however, can be different it is important to be familiar with both.

In addition, it may be possible to expedite claims processing for SSD benefits based on the veteran's disability rating. Because it may also be possible to obtain both VA disability and SSD benefits, it is important to understand the complexities of the different processes of applying for disability benefits which can help with the everyday expenses disabled individuals may struggle to meet.

Source: Wadena Pioneer Journal, "Eligibility for VA Disability and SSDI," David Anderson, Feb. 19, 2017

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