As we discussed on Monday, if you are a veteran of the United States military who was disabled in service, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers disability benefits as well, but the two programs are unrelated.
The most significant difference between the VA benefits program and the SSDI program is that VA compensation can be allotted in percentages, while Social Security reserves benefits for those who are completely disabled and unable to work. For instance, the VA might find that a veteran is 20 percent disabled because of injuries sustained in service and provide him or her with benefits based on that percentage, but the SSA might find that the veteran is still capable of holding a job despite that disability. If the SSA found that the veteran could hold any type of employment, he or she would be denied benefits entirely. Unfortunately, this “all or nothing” system can leave many disabled people without any federal disability assistance.
Receiving a disability rating by the VA, therefore, does not mean that Social Security will approve you for benefits, since the two federal programs are entirely separate. That said, a high VA disability rating might be beneficial information to provide in your application for Social Security benefits, since it shows that a government agency has deemed you disabled. However, there is no guarantee that the VA’s ruling will affect SSA’s decision positively or negatively. An attorney with experience helping people gain benefits can provide the SSA with the information they need to approve you, regardless of what the VA has said about your case.
If you are disabled and seeking Social Security benefits, your best bet is to make the strongest case possible from the outset. There is no guarantee you will receive benefits, even if a doctor or another entity has found you disabled. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can help you understand how to organize your materials and present your disability honestly and fully to the Social Security Administration. If you are disabled and unable to work, contact us today for a free evaluation about getting the help you need. You can reach us online or at (918) 587-0050.