It is possible to qualify for both VA benefits and social security disability benefits, depending on your personal circumstances. If you are a veteran who thinks you may qualify for both, it is important to get legal help from a social security disability attorney so you can fully understand your options.
In some cases, getting VA disability benefits can actually help your social security disability claim. If you have a high VA rating, at least 70 per cent or more, you are more likely to have a successful social security disability claim. Why?
If the VA says you are at a level where you are incapable of work, or where work would be very challenging for you due to your disability, the social security disability office is more inclined to agree. Social security considers all potential impairments, not just service-related issues, so if there are any other concerns you have they will also be considered.
On the other hand, being awarded social security disability benefits may not help on a VA disability claim. This issue needs to be reviewed with your VA disability representative. At a minimum, if you are applying for both and have been found to be disabled by the Social Security Administration that information should be provided to the VA as it may help.
Because both types of benefits are administered under separate programs, a decisoin on one is not binding on the other. However, court decisions make it clear that a finding of VA unemployability is entitled to significant weight with respect to a Social Security claim and cannot just be dismissed without a good reason. Neither system will penalize you for qualifying under the other, so if you are able to qualify for both you will in fact increase the amount of benefit payments you receive.
Navigating these systems can be very complicated, even if you are confident in your abilities to deal with federal programs. This is why it is a good idea to work with a social security disability attorney. Getting legal help from an experienced professional is a good way to have your claim be successful, earlier, whether you are applying for VA benefits, social security benefits, or both.
Your attorney can also give you more information about topics like benefits for dependents, accessing Medicare through disability benefits, and whether or not you will be able to earn money while you are earning benefits through either social security disability insurance, or the VA.