Military service can have a profound emotional, mental and physical impact on a person’s life. Often, these men and women leave the service either by choice or due to injury, finding that they are unable to work due to a condition that is a result of their military service or job-related accident.
Disabled Alabama veterans may be able to secure various types of support, including disability benefits through the VA and through Social Security Disability. The requirements for each of these are different, and while it is possible to receive both at the same time, you may benefit from a full explanation of your legal rights and options regarding disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance requirements
Upon learning that they are unable to work, veterans may explore the option for securing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The application process is complex, and requirements are strict. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, a person must meet the following requirements:
- Must have a qualifying medical condition
- Must have a valid work history
- Must be expected to remain unable to work for a period of at least one year
With SSDI benefits, there are no varying levels or percentages of disability. Essentially, it is either all or nothing. Despite a history of military service or proof of injury that prevents you from gainful employment, you may find that your SSDI application comes back denied. However, you have the right to appeal and request a reconsideration of your claim. Additionally, you may still be eligible for VA benefits.
Securing VA benefits
Unlike benefits secured through Social Security, VA disability benefits are based on varying levels of impairment and can be given for partial disability. For example, if considered 10 percent disabled, your benefits would appropriately correspond to the degree of your disability. The amount of money would increase with more severe injuries and disabilities.
The Social Security and VA disability benefits systems are completely separate. You will have to complete two separate applications. The criteria are different, but you have the right to seek both simultaneously.
How can I protect my rights?
Regardless of your level of disability, you will find it beneficial to work with an attorney who can help you fully understand and protect your rights, as well as secure the benefits to which you are entitled. If you wish to apply for SSDI benefits or have concerns about your options after leaving the military with a disabling injury, your legal ally can help you navigate the claims process and any complications that may hold you back.