Many veterans of the US armed forces find return to civilian life with medical conditions that make it difficult to make ends meet. Whether these conditions arose as a consequence of serving in uniform, came about after leaving the military, or existed prior to service, many veterans are eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
While a person’s status as a veteran does not necessarily qualify them for Social Security benefits, their financial status and work history can impact their eligibility. An experienced disability advocate on our team can help veterans in Alpharetta determine whether they are eligible for Social Security benefits. This includes evaluating a person’s medical conditions and work history to select a Social Security program that best fits their specific needs.
All Veterans Must Meet the SSA’s Definition of Disabled
There are two main programs under which a veteran may obtain Social Security disability payments: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Under both programs, disabled veterans must prove that they suffer from a medical condition which prevents them from working. Specifically, the Code of Federal Regulations §404.1505 says that these conditions must prevent a person from participating in substantially gainful employment.
Furthermore, qualifying disabilities can be physical or mental in nature. In fact, many veterans pursue Social Security disability benefits for a combination of conditions. A lawyer in Alpharetta can help former servicemembers understand the legal concept of disability under Social Security law.
How Are Work History and Available Income Factored into Veterans’ Social Security Claims?
While all Social Security claims will rely on the same definition of disability, SSDI and SSI differ in economic and work history requirements. Most veterans will meet the work credit requirements under the SSDI program. Applicants must have earned at least 40 work credits before becoming disabled. One credit is equivalent to three months of work. Of these credits, at least 20 must have been earned in the previous 10 years. Spending time on active duty typically counts as work for SSDI purposes, but exceptions may apply.
Alternatively, the SSI program evaluates a veteran’s available income and assets. Recipients of SSI cannot earn more than $1,310 per month while collecting payments. Military pensions or VA disability compensation may leave a veteran ineligible for SSI benefits. Furthermore, a single person cannot own more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets, while a married person can have no more than $3,000. An Alpharetta attorney can help veterans determine whether they satisfy these crucial elements.
Helping Veterans Determine Their Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
A person’s status as a veteran does not automatically qualify them for Social Security disability benefits. For SSDI benefits, former servicemembers and veterans alike must prove that a medical condition prevents them from holding a full-time job in addition to establishing a sufficient work history.
If you are applying for SSI, you must demonstrate a lack of disposable income. For this reason, receiving disability compensation from the VA may disqualify a disabled veteran from receiving SSI benefits. An Alpharetta lawyer can advise veterans on their eligibility for various Social Security disability benefits. Call our team today to learn more.