If you’ve proudly served our country, your country should be ready to care for you once your service is complete. For those who’ve suffered an injury while in service and are now on VA disability compensation, you can receive your military disability and Social Security benefits as long as you follow the specific process that the government has laid out.
Eligible veterans who receive military retirement pay and VA disability compensation may be able to supplement their income with Social Security disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) considers all disabilities, regardless if they’re connected to your service, and looks at your work history over the 15 years prior to your application (military service is considered part of this). When you initially apply for SSDI, you’ll follow the same general application but the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not count veteran benefits when tallying your potential benefit amount.
Notes About General Social Security
If you served in the military after 1956, you’ve paid Social Security taxes on your earnings and as such are entitled to benefits. Under certain circumstances, periods of active duty from 1957-2001 could make you eligible for special “extra earnings” to be added to your earnings record. If the service was after 1968, Social Security adds these credits automatically.
Levels of Disability
The SSA will follow a five-step process to determine the level of severity of your disability and how that correlates to potential long-term or permanent unemployment. Your current disability must have stopped you, or be expected to stop you, from earning employment for at least one year to qualify for SSDI. There are options to appeal this process should you be denied and at that point, a knowledgeable Social Security claims attorney can help you assess your options.
Expediting the Benefits Process
If your military service occurred on or after October 1, 2001, and you became disabled while on active duty, you are likely eligible for the SSA’s expedited disability claim processing. It does not matter whether you became disabled while serving overseas or while serving on U.S. soil.
It is imperative to let the SSA know that you qualify for this option. The SSA is supposed to automatically expedite your claim if you qualify, but there are cases where this is either missed or just doesn’t happen. More information and the application itself can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/people/veterans/
Drew L. Johnson, P.C. is proud to represent those who have put their lives on the line for our country. Oregon veterans are entitled to every benefit afforded to them and we’re happy to answer any and all questions you or a loved one have about receiving concurrent benefits from the VA and SSA. Call us today at (541) 434-6466 to learn more.