VA Disability

Can I Get Both VA Disability and Social Security Disability Benefits?

Many veterans find themselves unable to work due to service-connected disabilities. They may be eligible for VA disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as Social Security disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, some people wonder if they can receive both benefits at the same time. Here is some advice from a disability lawyer on the differences and whether you can apply for both.

Overview and the Main Differences Between VA Disability and Social Security Disability

The short answer is yes, you can receive VA disability compensation and Social Security disability benefits concurrently. This is because the two programs serve different purposes:

  • VA disability pays benefits for disabilities that occurred due to active duty service. The benefits amount depends on your assigned disability rating and number of dependents.
  • Social Security disability pays benefits based on how much you have paid into the system over your working lifetime. The amount depends on your prior earnings.

Essentially, your VA benefits relate to disabilities associated with your time in service, while Social Security disability relates to programs funded by payroll taxes you have paid as a worker prior to becoming disabled.

Why VA Approval Might Help You Get Social Security Disability Benefits

Getting approved for VA compensation can strengthen your case for Social Security disability. This is because the VA has very strict criteria and medical evidence requirements for service-connected disabilities. If you can show you meet the VA requirements, it demonstrates the legitimacy of your disability.

Additionally, VA awards disability ratings from 0-100% based on how much your condition impacts your ability to be gainfully employed. So a higher VA rating often indicates you would struggle to work, which supports an application for Social Security Disability.

Typical Process for Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

To apply for Social Security disability benefits in addition to your VA compensation, you would:

  1. Gather medical records related to all your disabilities. This includes VA records, private treatment records, test results, etc.
  2. Complete Social Security’s adult disability application (form SSA-16). You can apply online or at your local Social Security office.
  3. Attend any medical evaluations ordered by Social Security to assess your conditions and limitations. Answer questions from examiners honestly and thoroughly.
  4. If approved, you would receive financial benefits in addition to VA compensation. If denied initially, appeal the decision promptly.

Contact Merryl Jones, Second Chance Lawyer to Get a Free Case Evaluation from a Disability Lawyer to Learn More

The process of applying for VA and Social Security disability benefits can be complex and lengthy. Consulting an experienced disability lawyer improves your chances of success. Contact Merryl Jones, Second Chance Lawyer today for a free consultation on your potential dual benefits case.