Social Security Disability Benefits for Veterans
U.S. military veterans can receive both Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits at the same time. In fact, the Social Security Administration gives preference to some disabled vets through its Wounded Warrior program. However, the two programs are completely independent. If you are found disabled under Social Security Disability, you will not automatically qualify for VA benefits – and vice versa. Our law firm represents veterans for Social Security Disability benefits in the Greater Philadelphia area and across Southeastern Pennsylvania, along with Central and South Jersey. Our firm offers assistance at the application stage, and we have a record of successful advocacy in disability hearings and appeals.
Social Security and VA benefits are administered separately and have different criteria. Veterans seeking SSA benefits must go through the AAD application process and qualify under the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Unlike with VA benefits, it is not necessary to prove a service connection to obtain Social Security Disability. The disabling physical or mental medical condition does not need to be service-related. You do not have to have a 100% VA rating to receive SSD benefits. The disability must prevent you from engaging in gainful employment for 12 months or more. If you were denied VA benefits, you might still qualify for SSD (and vice versa). If you are receiving any VA benefits, you can collect full SSD benefits. There are no offsets or reimbursements for collecting veterans’ benefits at the same time.
If you became disabled while you were on active military duty, on or after Oct. 1, 2001, you are eligible for expedited processing of your SSD claim under the Wounded Warrior program. This is a major advantage because the normal processing times and hearing wait times are so long. Although expedited claims are given priority, the same criteria apply. It is vital to seek an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer early in the process to improve your chances.