You can collect both SSDI and service connected VA disability compensation payments at the same time. However, since two separate agencies administer these benefits, the rules and processes involved in applying for each one are different.
Furthermore, since VA and SSDI application requirements differ, you may qualify for one claim but get rejected on the other. An attorney can walk you through filing for VA disability benefits, SSDI benefits, or both.
How Do You Qualify for VA Disability and SSDI Benefits?
The Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) states that those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits should have a disability that:
- Has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year, or
- Will remain until death
Meanwhile, the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) issues service connected benefits based on an applicant’s disability rating. In addition, VA disability applicants must have been one of the following:
- On active duty
- On active duty for training
- On inactive duty training
We look closer into the different requirements for each type of disability claim below:
Other VA Disability Qualifications
Besides your service to the military, VA will also consider your injury’s severity when deciding whether you can collect disability benefits and the amount it will issue. The rating you receive depends on how much your condition affects your health and prevents you from working as you normally would.
Moreover, you need to have suffered from your condition under one of the following circumstances to qualify:
- You got injured or developed a health problem while in the military, and your disability is linked to this.
- You had a pre-existing injury or disease before joining the military, and being on active duty worsened the issue, leading to your disability.
- Your disability did not appear until after you ended your service but is still related to your service in some way.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits program operates under an all-or-nothing payment system. It means that applicants can only qualify for SSDI benefits if their disability prevents them from working. If the SSA finds you currently have a temporary or part-time job and are earning above the allowable income amount, you cannot receive anything.
The SSA also requires you to have worked for a certain number of years and paid into Social Security before your injury or illness. Generally speaking, you need to have worked five of the last ten years, but if you are younger you may have to work less time prior to your disability.
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What Benefits Will I Get From Successful VA Disability and SSDI Benefits Claims?
As mentioned earlier, VA disability compensation rates depend on the percentage assigned to your claim. For example, per 2022 VA compensation rates:
- A 10 percent disability rating would get you $152.64 a month.
- A 100 percent rating can reach $3,754.50 or more based on the number of dependents you have.
Meanwhile, monthly SSDI compensation rates depend on your average lifetime earnings. These refer to the money you earned through your jobs.
Can You Dispute a VA Disability or SSDI Claim Decision?
Yes, you can file an appeal to have the claim decisions reconsidered. For your VA disability claim appeal, you can file a Notice of Disagreement and submit additional evidence to show that you are eligible for the benefits. You must take the notice to the regional VA affairs office, where they will review your claim again. However, you only have up to a year from receiving the initial claim decision to file your appeal request.
If you still disagree with the VA office’s decision, you could have them escalate the matter to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You may also request an optional hearing with their Veterans’ Law Judge to further clarify your side of the dispute.
As for SSDI claim appeals, you can file your request with any SSA office here in Pennsylvania. They will bring your case in for reconsideration and see whether they can resolve it themselves. If not, you can file a further appeal to have an Administrative Law Judge preside over the dispute. If the hearing is unsuccessful, you can file an appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council.
Consult With Our Disability Lawyers Today
While you can collect both SSDI and service connected VA disability compensation, navigating the requirements of both processes can be overwhelming. When you hire our team, we’ll review your situation and explain what to expect as you apply. In addition, our attorneys can help you compile the information needed to bring your claim to the SSA. If you need to dispute the claim’s results, we can also help with the appeals process.
If you have any concerns regarding your VA and SSDI benefits claims, Berger and Green is here to help. Our injury and disability lawyers have over 40 years of experience with such claims throughout Pennsylvania. Call for a free consultation.