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How To Get SSDI And VA Benefits At The Same Time


Getting government benefits is not an easy task. There are so many rules involved and just so much bureaucracy in general. This is true when it comes to obtaining benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Both these agencies have disability programs, so you may think that if you have a disability, you can only qualify for one or the other. However, these are two separate programs and the processes and criteria for receiving benefits are vastly different. What the VA considers a disability, for example, does not mean that the SSA will think you have a disability.

So what this means is that you technically can apply for benefits from both programs. However, the key to getting both VA benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for the same medical condition is to follow the right procedures. You also need to avoid the wrong ones.

Know the Rules

If you want to be successful at “double dipping,” you need to know the rules. For example, to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must:

  • Have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.
  • Have enough work credits over the past 10 years to be eligible for SSDI.
  • Have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.

To qualify for VA compensation or pension benefits, you must:

  • Have a service-connected disability or condition from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Meet certain income and asset thresholds (to qualify for pension eligibility) or have had a service-connected condition rated at least 10% disabling by the VA (to qualify for disability).

The key to getting both VA and SSDI benefits is to have the right disability rating. For the VA, the disability rating ranges from 0% to 100%. The higher your rating, the more disabled you are.  With SSDI, though, it’s all or nothing. While the processes and definitions are different,  you likely won’t win an SSDI claim if your VA disability rating is at, say 50%.

Also, the VA factors in social impairment. For SSDI benefits, this is not a factor at all. This means you should not even mention one at all. Instead, make sure the condition you are filing a claim for is among those listed in the SSDI’s “Blue Book” of impairments. This Blue Book includes musculoskeletal, cardiovascular,  respiratory, digestive, and skin disorders. To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to prove that your medical condition:

  • Is expected to result in death
  • Has persisted for at least 12 months
  • Is expected to persist for at least 12 months.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits

If you qualify for SSDI and veterans benefits, you may be able to get both. It’s common for people to think that they can only get one or the other, but that is not always the case.

A White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can help you understand what types of benefits you are entitled to receive. To schedule a free consultation with our office, call (914) 228-1770 or fill out the online form.



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