Can you receive both VA and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?

Can you receive both VA and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?

| May 18, 2021 | Qualifying For Disability Benefits

If you’ve looked into the process involved in securing Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, then you’re likely aware of the stringent requirements for eligibility. 

Many prospective applicants with military backgrounds wonder if their receipt of disability benefits from the Veterans Administration will affect their ability to receive SSD. You’ll be happy to know that it’s unlikely that they will. There are some differences between how the two programs work, though, that you should know.

The criteria for disability benefits vary from program to program

Both VA benefits and SSD are federal programs — but they operate under different rules.

Veteran’s case reviewers analyze service members’ active duty records and assign them impairment scores. It can range between zero and 100%. A veteran’s benefits will typically vary depending on where their impairment falls within that range.

With SSD, however, disability is basically “all or nothing.” The examiner will try to determine if you have a condition that is severe enough to prevent you from earning a living. If so, they need to establish that your condition is likely to last at least 12 months or end in death to approve your claim.

Does someone who qualifies for VA disability automatically qualify for SSD?

Qualification for one program doesn’t qualify you for the other.

A condition that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs deems to be a disability may not be seen similarly by SSA. There are cases in which the VA assigned a veteran a disability rating of 100%, yet they were deemed not to have a qualifying condition by SSA. Most analysts suggest that a veteran’s impairment rating must be at least 70% or more for them to have a chance of qualifying for SSD benefits

How can you secure the SSD benefits you need?

SSA receives an overwhelming amount of applications for disability benefits every year. Its reviewers sometimes rush through their files, which means that individuals who would typically qualify for SSD get perfectly valid claims denied. An attorney can help you pursue the benefits you need.