Social Security Disability for Veterans
One quarter of adult Social Security disability beneficiaries are military veterans, and a whopping 40 percent of all adult Social Security disability beneficiaries are made up of veterans and their families. Many active duty military members also rely on Social Security disability benefits to survive. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about Social Security disability benefits for military members and veterans. Do military members qualify for expedited processing of disability claims? Some wounded active duty military service members are eligible to receive expedited processing of their disability claims from Social Security. The expedited process is used for military members who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001. Does military pay affect your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits? You cannot perform substantial gainful activity and be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, but active duty status and the receipt of military pay don't necessarily make you ineligible for benefits. Your actual work activity is what determines your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. So, if you're on active duty but you're currently in a military hospital undergoing treatment, you'll likely qualify for benefits. Can veterans receive benefits for past disabilities, even if their health has improved? If the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds that you are disabled under their rules and your application was filed within a specific period of time, you may qualify for disability benefits for a closed period of disability. In order to qualify, you must have filed an application for disability benefits within 14 months after the disability ended and prove that you were unable to perform gainful work for a continuous period of 12 months. How is the Social Security disability system different from the VA system? The primary difference between the Social Security disability system and the VA system is that there are no percentages of disability in the Social Security system. For example, in the VA system, a veteran may be considered 10%, 20% or 50% disabled, whereas in the Social Security system, it is all or nothing. Can you get both Social Security disability benefits and VA benefits? Yes, you can receive Social Security disability benefits and VA benefits at the same time. However, if you receive both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA pension, which are both need-based, the SSA will count your VA pension when calculating your SSI benefits. If you're a veteran applying for both SSI and VA benefits, speak with a lawyer about how the benefits will affect each other. How does a military member or veteran apply for Social Security disability benefits? You can apply online or at your local Social Security office while you're still in the military or after discharge. You can also hire an Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer to help you with your claim. It's ideal to find a lawyer who handles both Social Security disability and VA claims. Should I get an attorney? Hiring a Social Security disability lawyer isn't a requirement, but an attorney can help you navigate the complex process of applying for disability benefits. An attorney can answer all of your questions, gather and submit medical records, and fill out paperwork on your behalf. Hiring an attorney may be particularly beneficial if your initial application was denied. In the Social Security system, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs involved. Work with Atlanta Social Security Disability Lawyer Louis B. Lusk Louis B. Lusk is an Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer who also handles VA claims. If you're a military member or veteran who is thinking about applying for Social Security and/or VA benefits, please call 800.883.7043 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation.