In honor of our nation’s veterans, we at Disability Associates wish to provide essential information to veterans seeking disability benefits from the SSA. Veterans who were disabled during their service qualify for veteran’s disability benefits from the VA, but may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. It is important for veterans to understand the kinds of benefits and services to which they have access, as well as recognize the differences between both of these benefit institutions.

Social Security Disability Benefits Do Not Account for Partial or Short-Term Disability

The disability system through the VA allows for veterans to be considered partially disabled: a veteran may be considered 10, 40 or 100 percent disabled, depending on their circumstances. They are then awarded payments based on their level of disability. In comparison, the SSA does not recognize partial or short-term disability—candidates are either awarded full disability benefits or none at all.

This means that some veterans who qualify for disability benefits from the VA may not qualify for disability benefits through Social Security. Veterans who are concerned about their eligibility should discuss their situation with a qualified Social Security disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Acceptance Does Not Guarantee VA Disability Benefit Approval

Conversely, being awarded disability benefits from the SSA does not guarantee a veteran will be approved for disability benefits from the VA, although the VA is required to consider the findings of a Social Security disability benefit review.

Veteran’s disability benefits are only awarded to those disabled due to service-related activities—a disability due to non-service- related activities will not be considered eligible. Veterans may wish to discuss their situation with a VA professional to determine eligibility.

Veterans May Wish to Personally Obtain Their Medical Records

When determining whether a veteran qualifies for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will review the applicant’s medical records. If a veteran’s primary source of medical treatment is a VA medical center, the applicant should not assume that the VA will automatically provide the SSA with the appropriate documentation.

Many individuals have reported having experienced difficulty with the VA failing to provide the SSA with vital medical records in an efficient and timely manner. As this can impact the wait time for disability approval, applicants may wish to obtain their own medical records, and provide them to the SSA directly. It is important to also make copies, as the SSA cannot guarantee they will return any records they are provided.

Hiring a Disability Advocate May Increase Chances of Acceptance for SSA Benefits

Many SSA disability benefit applicants are denied after their first application for benefits. Those who employ the services of an experienced disability benefits attorney; however, are far more likely to be successful in receiving critical benefits. The disability advocates at Disability Associates want to help our veterans, as well as all disabled Americans, receive the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one is unable to work due to a disability, and is seeking SSA disability benefits, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.