On this 4th of July, the birth of our Nation, we want to dedicate our blog post to our Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits. Our Veterans who have committed their lives to serving this country, and it is time for us to serve them as well.
If you are a Veteran who has a service-connected disability rating that you are receiving VA disability benefits for, you need to know that you can also apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Many Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits do not know this, but they have paid into the Social Security system and are entitled to those benefits as well. You should note that while you may be able to receive both Social Security Disability benefits and VA benefits, you may not be eligible to receive both SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and VA benefits. This is because SSI benefits are offset by other sources of income, one of which is VA disability benefits. That being said, you can still apply for SSI, and Social Security will determine if you are eligible or not based on your income.
Another item to note is that Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits with 100% compensation rating permanent and total (P&T) from the VA may receive an expedited processing of their Social Security Disability application. It is important to realize this does not mean that the Veteran will be awarded Social Security Disability. It just means that the determination process will be a lot faster than it is for the average Joe. For Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits with a 100% VA rating, the processing time can be reduced to six months instead of two years. You need to let the Social Security office know at the time of the application that you are a Veteran with a 100% P&T rating. If you do a phone or in person appointment with Social Security, inform the person who is handling the application of your VA rating. If you apply online (which you cannot do for SSI), put it in the “Remarks” section. It is so much harder to go back after everything is complete and add this to the application, so don’t forget! We do want to make it clear that Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits with a VA disability rating should let Social Security know during the application process that they have a rating. Any rating can be supportive of your claim, and a rating of 70% or higher is considered favorable evidence by Social Security. Unfortunately, the VA does not reciprocate the same sentiment to Social Security. A fully favorable award by Social Security for disability is not considered by the VA when determining a service-connected disability rating.
Overall the Social Security Disability process is very long, tedious, and technical, even for our Veterans with a 100% VA disability rating. That is why you should hire a local Social Security lawyer who specializes in this area of law and can effectively get you through all the administrative obstacles. At the Khaki Law Firm we love working with our Veterans and helping make their lives easier. Our philosophy is to take as much weight as possible off their shoulder so they can focus on their health and their transition back to civilian life. Not only do we help our Veterans get through the application process, but we also connect them with local veteran organizations and other community resources that can help them with this difficult transitory period in their life. It is the least we can do in return for what they have given up for our freedom and protection.
For more information on Veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits, visit the SSA website click here.
Happy 4th of July!
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