If you suffered an injury or debilitating illness while serving in the U.S. military, or if you have a medical condition exacerbated by your military service, you are likely eligible to receive disability compensation through the Veterans Administration. However, you may be wondering if you are also eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration’s disability insurance.
The fact is that receiving benefits from one agency does not disqualify you from obtaining disability benefits from the other. Since each administration of the federal government has its own eligibility requirements and separate claims processes, you can potentially seek compensation from both.
How do I qualify?
Qualifying for Social Security disability can be complicated, and the SSA rejects the claims of most people who apply the first time. However, if you already qualify for VA disability benefits and the VA has given you a 100% permanent and total disability rating, the SSA can expedite your application for disability. A 100% P&T rating means you have an injury or combination of conditions that disable you, and there is no expectation that your condition will improve.
In addition to your P&T rating, you will have to demonstrate to the SSA that your work history qualifies you for disability benefits. The amount of money you will receive for your monthly benefit will depend on how much you have contributed to the system through deductions from your paychecks over the years. After this first step, you can include your P&T rating as a remark on your application, and the SSA will prioritize your claim, speeding up their typically long and complex review process.
One important benefit of seeking both VA and SSA benefits for disability is that one does not offset the other. While some other types of benefits might reduce the amounts of others, this does not happen if you qualify for both VA and SSA disability. You will receive the full amount for which you are eligible from both agencies.
Of course, there are other options available if you do not have a 100% P&T rating or if your injury is not directly related to your active-duty service. In any case, seeking the benefits you deserve from any government agency can be challenging and frustrating. You do not have to handle it on your own.