There are almost 5 million veterans in the U.S. that currently experience a form of disability (physical or mental). Of these veterans, about 1 million have a Veteran’s Disability Rating that prevents them from working or living as they normally would. These veterans may qualify for VA Benefits as well as receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other Social Security Administration benefits.
VA Disability Compensation provides monthly benefits to veterans in recognition of the effects of disabilities, diseases, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service. You must have a VA disability rating of at least 70% to receive VA benefits, however SSDI works on different criteria. To receive Social Security disability, you must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months or to result in death. Your disability can result from multiple medical conditions that were acquired during military service or that may not be related to your service. For example, you may have a lower VA disability rating of 30% but may also suffer conditions that are not related to your service like diabetes, heart problems, and arthritis, etc. The Social Security Administration will take all these conditions into account to determine your eligibility for SSDI.
There are many benefits for veteran’s when applying for SSDI that include:
· VA Benefits do not affect SSDI: Neither benefits programs are assessed on income, therefore the income you receive from SSDI does not affect your VA Benefits and vice versa. Unlike others, Veterans are not disqualified from receiving SSDI if they receive income from on-work related activities.
· Expedited claims processing for Social Security benefits: If you are considered a Wounded Warrior, or if you are a veteran who became disabled after October 1, 2001, or if you received a 100% P&T rating from the VA, you qualify for expedited claims processing. This can be reduced from up to 12 months to a few weeks processing time.
· Receive both Medicare and Tricare. After a two-year Medicare waiting period, you will be eligible for both Medicare (primary insurer) and Tricare (secondary insurance).
· Family auxiliary benefits: Your family may be eligible for auxiliary benefits based on your earnings history and your monthly benefits check.
· Increased chance SSDI will be awarded: Veteran’s with a 70% or higher disability rating are more likely to be awarded SSDI benefits.
Although approximately, 9.4 million military veterans receive Social Security benefits, many veterans remain unaware they can qualify for SSDI. Arron Bell, Vietnam War Veteran and regular client at Help Me Help You (HMHY) Philadelphian SDA Church Food Pantry, receives VA Benefits but needed more financial support. After seeing Mr. Bell and hearing his background, a dedicated HMHY Benefits Access Support advocate worked quickly to get his SSDI claim awarded within weeks. Mr. Bell now receives both VA and SSDI benefits as well as Medicare and Tricare insurances to cover his medical costs. “I’m externally grateful to my benefits advocate for taking the interest in me to learn my history and realize that I was missing out on financial entitlements that I greatly need. SSDI has made a big difference to my lifestyle”, said Mr. Bell.
Applying for SSDI can be confusing and time consuming. Veterans require the usual medical and financial supporting documents as well as:
· Form DD 214.
· Proof of military pay or worker’s compensation.
· Military medical records to support the diagnosed disability.
Our Benefit Access Support advocates are here to help you get your claim awarded. You can start a free case review at www.helpmehelpu.org/bas. For more information, please speak with one of our expert benefits advocates at 562 612 5001.