Oftentimes, there are overlaps between VA clients and Social Security disability clients, especially where the issue of Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (“TDIU”) is at play. If your service-connected impairments prevent you from working, but are not rated at 100%, VA may pay you at the 100% rate. In many cases, people with TDIU claims will be receiving Social Security disability benefits. The VA has an obligation to obtain all records from Social Security that were used to determine eligibility for benefits. These records can be helpful in a claim for TDIU. I always try to look for 3 major things in a Social Security file:
- What were the severe impairments used to find the Veteran disabled for purposes of Social Security?
- Did the Veteran meet a Listing?
- If the Veteran did not meet a Listing, what vocational limitations did Social Security find he or she has?
An important factor in utilizing a Social Security determination in support of a TDIU claim is knowing exactly why Social Security found the Veteran disabled. Sometimes, Social Security will find a person disabled because they meet the Listing for Anxiety or PTSD. This can be especially helpful when a Veteran is service connected for a Mental Health disorder. To maximize the impact, I will often provide the VA a copy of the Social Security Listing as it existed at the time of the favorable determination. This is important because Social Security has amended its Listings considerably in the past 10 years. A full list of obsolete Listings can be found in SSA’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS).
While Social Security and VA have very different disability programs, knowledge of Social Security can help an attorney best utilize a Social Security disability determination to get a Veteran a high rating or TDIU.
Gardberg and Kemmerly is open for calls and online assistance and will continue to help our Veterans in any way possible. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama.