Can I Collect SSDI and VA Disability Benefits?

Can I Collect SSDI and VA Disability Benefits? blog header image

Can I Collect SSDI and VA Disability Benefits?

Veterans who receive VA disability compensation are also able to collect Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, it is not a guarantee that all disabled veterans qualify for SSDI, as Social Security’s requirements differ from the VA’s.

What Is SSDI?

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a benefits program maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program receives funding through federal payroll tax and benefits disabled workers.

If I Qualify for VA Disability do I Automatically Qualify for SSDI?

This is a common misconception. Veterans who receive VA disability compensation will not automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits. This is because of some major differences between how the SSA and the VA determine who qualifies for benefits.

VA Disability Benefits Requirements

To receive VA disability compensation you must have served and have a current disability or illness that impacts your mind or body. In addition to this, your disability must be service connected, meaning

– You became injured or disabled during your time serving

– You had an injury or disability prior to joining the military and your time serving made your condition worse.

– OR, you have a service connected injury that did not become apparent until after your service ended.

If you meet these requirements, the VA will then document and review your injury or illness. Based on the severity of your condition, you will receive a rating of 10%-100%. The rating you receive determines the amount you will earn in disability compensation.

SSDI Benefits Requirements

Social Security has their own requirements an applicant must adhere to in order to qualify for SSDI. To receive Social Security disability benefits you must meet Social Security’s definition of disabled. To do this, you must have proof of a medical condition that the SSA finds disabling. The listing of conditions that Social Security considers to be disabled can be found in their Blue Book. You must also be unable to work due to your condition or working and earning less than $1,350 per month.

In addition to this you must have sufficient work credits. The SSA requires that you have worked at least five out of the last ten years, and paid payroll tax during this time.

See: How long do I need to have worked in order to qualify for SSDI?

Receiving SSDI and VA Disability Compensation

Veterans who qualify for both programs may wonder if receiving SSDI will impact their VA benefits, or vice versa.

You will not see a decrease in your VA benefits if you start receiving SSDI. Your eligibility for SSDI will also not be impacted by any VA disability compensation you may earn.

Social Security requires that you must be making less than $1,350 per month in “earned income”.  The SSA does not consider VA disability benefits to be earned income, so they will not impact your eligibility.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

While veterans may meet the basic requirements for SSDI, they still must apply for the benefits. The Social security disability claims process can be hard to navigate.

One way to make this process easier is to hire a disability attorney. In fact, the SSA has even reported that the likelihood of winning a SSDI claim increases if you have legal representation.

See: Why should I hire an attorney for my Social Security disability claim?

Victory Disability is a nationwide law firm. We specialize in helping disabled veterans get the benefits that they have earned and deserve. Our team has helped hundreds of veterans receive extra benefits, to see if we can assist you call us today at 1 (866) 350-7229.