If you are disabled, it’s important to consider Social Security disability vs VA disability. These are separate types of disability benefits that serve different purposes. In some situations, it may be possible for you to qualify for both. Below, we will analyze Social Security disability vs VA disability and how the two programs are related.
Social Security Disability vs VA Disability: Which is right for me?
When people refer to “Social Security disability” they are often referring to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Sometimes we abbreviate this to SSD or SSDI. However, people with disabilities who have little income and few resources, may also be eligible for disability payments through the Supplemental Security Income program. This is often abbreviated SSI. A vast majority of disability claimants fall under the SSDI and/or the SSI disability programs.
Social Security disability is not intended to be a replacement to the VA disability program, but rather a supplement. The main difference is that while the VA disability program is available for service-connected disabilities, the Social Security disability program has no service-connected requirement. This is a big consideration when determining Social Security disability vs VA disability.
Not everyone has VA disability available to them. VA disability offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. You may qualify for VA disability benefits for physical conditions (like a chronic illness or injury) and mental health conditions (like PTSD) that developed before, during, or after service. Find more about this program here.
Thus, when considering Social Security disability vs VA disability, we will generally look to see if your disability is service-connected.
The other main difference is that while Social Security disability requires an inability to work, VA disability does not. If you are capable of working, Social Security disability is probably not the right program for you.
It is possible to qualify for both VA disability and Social Security disability if you meet the requirements for both programs. This happens in cases in which a person has a service-connected disability that prevents them from working. In such cases, it may not be a question of Social Security disability vs VA disability – but Social Security disability AND VA disability.
These two programs are very different and serve two different purposes. Let’s look a little deeper into Social Security disability vs VA disability.
Social Security Disability vs VA Disability: How they relate
In most cases, Social Security disability and VA disability are completely and totally separate. It is possible to qualify for one and not the other. It is also possible you can qualify for both. The question is whether you meet the criteria for each of the programs.
Because of the nature of the two programs, many people will qualify for both programs. We would consider this when looking at Social Security disability vs VA disability.
Does VA disability affect Social Security disability?
Generally, VA disability does not affect Social Security disability in any way. Whether or not you receive VA disability does not have any impact on your SSD case – for good or for bad.
That means that the fact you have received VA benefits does not mean that you will win your Social Security case. In most cases, the Social Security Administration will not give any credit or weight to that decision. Because the definition of disability is different for both programs, being disabled under the VA disability program does not mean you are disabled under Social Security’s definition.
On the flip side, if you do not receive VA disability benefits, that will not have any impact on your Social Security disability case.
Does Social Security disability affect VA disability?
Generally, Social Security disability does not affect VA disability. Because VA disability requires your disability to be service-connected, it is possible to qualify under Social Security’s definition of disability and not meet the VA’s definition.
For this reason, SSD does not generally affect VA benefits.
SSI vs VA Disability: How they relate
Because SSI is a means tested program, it would be unusual that you would be able to collect both SSI and VA disability. In most cases, if you receive VA disability benefits you will not qualify for SSI during that time period. For that reason, there is very little relation between SSI and VA disability.
Does VA disability affect SSI?
Yes, receiving VA disability would directly affect your SSI eligibility. You will need to be aware of SSI income limits. It is likely that receiving VA disability will disqualify you from receiving SSI. This answer would really depend on how much you are receiving from the VA. If it is under SSI income limits, you may qualify for both programs.
Does SSI affect VA disability?
Generally, SSI would not affect VA disability. The VA has their own definition of disability so being disabled under the SSI program is not binding on the VA. SSI benefits would not affect your VA benefits, but your VA benefits would affect your SSI benefits.
In practice, it would be unusual for a person to receive SSI benefits while also being eligible for VA benefits since VA benefits are normally much greater than SSI benefits.
Can I receive VA benefits and Social Security disability?
Yes, you can receive both types of benefits if you meet the definition of disability for both programs. This actually happens quite frequently since many people who receive VA disability benefits are disabled under Social Security’s definition of disability.
The best part is that you can receive full benefits under each program. This can result in fairly substantial monthly payments for a disabled veteran. Additionally, most veterans will receive VA benefits while we are applying for Social Security benefits. This is helpful because it allows them some monthly income while we navigate the Social Security disability process.
If you’re considering Social Security disability vs VA disability, you should speak with a disability lawyer.
Contact ARM Lawyers today
When you are disabled, you need a disability lawyer who understands both Social Security disability and VA disability. Our disability lawyer handles both types of benefits so we can tell you what you need to know about Social Security disability vs VA disability.
Never hesitate to reach out to our office during any part of the process. We can skillfully guide you through everything, step by step. Call for a free consultation today.