Monday, July 16, 2012

Veterans Applying for Social Security Disability benefits: 4 Commonly Asked Questions

There are many veterans or military service personnel who have become disabled and qualify for Social Security Disability benefits along with the benefits provided by the Veteran's Administration.  Here are answers to 4 questions that are commonly asked by veterans or military service personnel regarding Social Security Disability benefits:
  • Can I receive Social Security Disability benefits and veterans disability benefits?
This depends on the type of benefits you are applying for.  You can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and VA compensation benefits (service-connected disability benefits) at the same time.  However, to calculate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the Social Security Administration will include the VA pension benefits you receive when determining the amount of SSI benefits you can collect.
  • If I already receive veteran's disability benefits, am I automatically qualified for Social Security Disability benefits? 
No.  Both programs are completely separate and have different eligibility requirements.  As a result, being eligible for disability on one program does not automatically qualify you for another program.
  • Does military pay affect my eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are engaging in substantial work activity.  You are not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you are engaged in substantial gainful activity, which means that you are getting paid over a certain amount for work activity.  However, if you are receiving military pay while you are on limited duty or receiving medical treatment this would generally not constitute work activity and, therefore, you would be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
  • When can I apply for SSDI or SSI benefits?
Military service personnel can apply for SSDI and SSI benefits while in military status or after discharge.  There are several ways to apply including online and at a Social Security office.  You can also apply by finding an experienced attorney who handles Social Security Disability claims.

This is NOT legal advice.  This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases.  To discuss your particular circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area.

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