Eligible For The Hazardous Duty Supplement
If you have at least 20 years of eligible hazardous duty service credit, you may qualify for the hazardous duty supplement as part of your service retirement benefit. You are not eligible to receive a hazardous duty supplement if you retire on disability. If you qualify for the supplement, compare your estimated disability retirement benefit with your service retirement benefit, including the supplement, before applying for disability retirement to determine which type of retirement is best for you. Your human resource office can assist you. You can also create retirement benefit estimates through myVRS.
Type Of Ss Disability Benefit Matters
So, the good news is that the obtaining of both Social Security disability benefits and VA disability benefits is not automatically precluded by law. However, that does not mean there is no interaction between Social Security disability and VA disability benefits. It all comes down to what type of Social Security disability benefit you qualify for and are/would be receiving. Luckily, this is a relatively simple distinction. Basically, every Social Security disability benefit other than Supplemental Security Income does not interact with VA disability benefits. So, if you are receiving or attempting to obtain disability insurance, widows, child, or another type of Social Security disability benefit, you are not precluded from obtaining both monthly payments, in full, assuming you could qualify for both. Those receiving or seeking Social Security Supplemental Security Income benefits are not so fortunate.
Social Security And Lump Sum Pensions: What Public Servants Should Know
If you work for an employer who does not participate in Social Security but has their own pension instead, you probably know that your Social Security options can be complicated with tricky rules that only apply to teachers and other public servants. These rules include the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.
Individuals often look for a way to soften the impact of these rules. Time and again I hear individuals wondering if they can sidestep these rules by simply taking their pension in a lump sum. After all, in just about every reference to these rules, the Social Security Administration says that the rules apply to individuals with a pension from work where no Social Security taxes were paid.
Soif theres no a pension being paid, do the rules still apply?
They do, but with a few exceptions. For certain individuals, taking a pension out in a lump sum can be a valid method of sidestepping these rules. If this interests you, read on. The rules for when and how are complicated, and you dont want to mess this up.
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How Can I Get Help From A Disability Attorney
The attorneys from Berger and Green can help you file your SSDI application. If you received a denial, we can help you understand why the SSA did not approve your claim, and we can navigate the appeals process for you.
Qualifying For Va Disability Helps Your Ssdi Claim
The Social Security Administration will take a VA disability approval into consideration when evaluating your SSDI claim. As mentioned previously, high VA disability approval ratings usually mean youll be approved for SSDI benefits. The same unfortunately cannot be said for SSDI approval and a VA disability claimbecause you must have been disabled while on active duty to get VA disability, the VA will usually not take an SSDI approval into consideration when evaluating your claim.
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Qualifying For Ssdi As A Disabled Veteran
Most disabled veterans applying for SSDI already have a VA compensation rating. SSDI and VA programs and criteria are very different, however. The Social Security Administration does not base disability determinations on VA ratings. Instead, you must meet the SSAs definition of disability to receive SSDI benefits.
You must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity Your condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or be terminal
While even claimants with a VA compensation rate of 100% P & T are not guaranteed approval for SSDI benefits, if your rating is 70% or greater, your chance of receiving disability through the SSA is increased significantly.
What Are Social Security Benefits
The Social Security program that we know today originally began in 1935, when the Social Security act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Second New Deal. The primary goal of the Act was to provide financial aid for children, the unemployed, and the elderly. At the time the legislation was passed, the country was still only midway into the Great Depression, and the Social Security Act was accompanied by several other measures designed to jumpstart the economy and provide financial relief to those in need.
Social Security benefits include the following:
- Social Security Disability Income benefits
- Survivor benefits
- Social Security benefits for children
- Supplemental Security Income benefits
- Social Security retirement benefits
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Will Military Retirement Or Va Disability Benefits Count As Income For Ssdi
Neither military retirement nor VA disability count as earned income for the SSDI program. This means you can continue to draw these benefits without them affecting your eligibility or benefit amount for SSDI. In addition, there will not be an offset for any of your benefits. This means you will continue to draw the full amount from each program with some exceptions.
In some cases, drawing payments from another source of benefits might count as earned income for SSDI.
While SSDI is not an income-based program, you do need to have an earned income below a certain level to qualify. This is the substantial gainful activity limit. If you work a job, are self-employed, or otherwise have an earned income above this monthly limit, you will not be eligible for SSDI because it appears you can earn a living.
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Expedited Processing For Those With Va Disability Ratings At 100%
Some veterans who possess a VA rating of 100% permanent and total disability may qualify for expedited Social Security claims. Be sure to ask about this when applying for SSA options and make sure you self-identify on all application paperwork as a 100%-VA rated disabled veteran.
Other vets may qualify for help, too. Any veteran with disabling mental or physical health injuries on active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001 are eligible for expedited SSI/SSDI application processing. This does not need to have occurred during combat but the issue must be noted on the SSI/SSDI application.
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Does Getting Benefits In One Program Help Getting Benefits In The Other Program
Does having one benefit make getting the other benefit any easier? Overall, the answer is maybe it depends on your circumstances.
VA approval does not help get Social Security disability. In the past, if you were the recipient of a very high VA rating , your chances for success on your Social Security disability claim were quite good. In past decisions, federal circuit courts found that VA disability ratings were entitled to “great weight.”
In 2017, Social Security published new regulations saying that Social Security will no longer take VA approvals for disability compensation into account when deciding whether to grant disability benefits. In addition, written denials or hearing decisions from Social Security will no longer provide any information on whether the agency considered the VA’s approval in its determination.
Social Security will, however, consider any evidence that the VA took into account in making its own disability determination. The VA and the Department of Defense share medical records electronically with Social Security, which will use the evidence in evaluating its applications for Social Security disability insurance and SSI. Social Security may also use VA or DOD evidence to expedite the processing of claims for Wounded Warriors and veterans with a 100% disability compensation rating.
For more information on applying for Social Security disability, see our article on disability benefits for veterans.
Can Veterans Receive Social Security Disability Benefits While Receiving Military Pay
This is a tricky question to answer, because being approved for Social Security disability benefits depends on not being able to perform substantial work. If a veteran is receiving disability pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs, that is compensation for an injury rather than compensation for labor.
But the issue is more complex than that, because drawing active duty pay may not disqualify a military member from receiving Social Security benefits, if the military member is receiving medical treatment, put on restricted duty or not performing duties at all because of the disability, etc.
The bottom line is that any military member who has a disability should apply for Social Security benefits and let the Social Security Administration make the final decision on benefits. Never assume you wont qualify.
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Va Disability Payments May Reduce Ssi Payments
Unfortunately, regardless of the anti-windfall provisions, the Social Security Administration treats VA disability payments the same as any other income when considering Supplemental Security Income payments. This is because of the position SSI payments take in priority order. Since SSI payments are needs based and not a program individuals pay into, Social Security considers themselves the payer of last resort. This means that they pay after all other income you receive is accounted for. Then they will determine first if you are eligible to receive any payments from SSI at all and, if so, how much those payments should be reduced given your other income.
So, its not that you cant receive both VA disability payments and SSI payments. Its that they will interfere with each other and cause a reduction in SSI payments up to precluding the payments of benefits. Under Supplemental Security Income, the most the Social Security Administration can pay someone monthly is $841.00 per month . They then reduce SSI for other payments, income, or resources you receive.
Summary Of Benefit Programs:
Social Security Disability Insurance
This program requires a person with a disability to have worked for a substantial period in employment covered by Social Security. Beginning at age 18, a dependent, adult child of a worker who is retired, disabled or deceased, may be eligible for benefits if the child became permanently disabled before age 22. Benefits also may be paid to a widow or surviving divorced spouse. SSDI is funded through the Social Security Trust Fund.
Supplemental Security Income
This federally funded program is based on financial need – it is not necessary for persons with disabilities to have worked under Social Security. Basic medical criteria for eligibility are the same for both SSI and SSDI. Recipients of benefits under both programs also may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare benefits.
Medicaid is a jointly funded, Federal-State health insurance program for low-income and needy people. It covers children, the aged, blind, and/or disabled and other people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments. A separate application for Medicaid must be filed through the Virginia Department of Social Services .
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We Are With Those Who Need A Helping Hand
The Supplemental Security Income program is a program that provides income support to people with disabilities, people age 65 or older, or blind, who have low income and resources. U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust funds, pay for SSI.
If you or someone you know may be eligible for SSI, visit to learn more and apply.
What If My Social Security Disability Application Is Denied
There is an appeals process for those denied for SSA benefits. The SSA official site says there are two basic categories for denial of SSA benefits: medical reasons and nonmedical reasons.
Those who need to appeal based on medical reasons must submit an Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report. This report requires the applicant to furnish updated medical information including any tests, treatments, doctor visits, etc. since the SSA decision was made.
Those who need to appeal an SSA decision based on nonmedical reasons must contact their nearestSocial Security Office and request a review of the case and get an appeal. This can also be done by calling 1-800-772-1213 to request the appeal.
A TTY number for hearing impaired applicants is also available: 1-800-325-0778.
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Does It Help Your Social Security Disability Claim If You Receive Va Benefits
This question is more nuanced than a yes or no answer, but an approval for VA benefits may help your Social Security disability claim. In particular, if a veteran receives a 100% permanent and total impairment rating, this normally indicates that the veteran will have the right kind of evidence to prove disability to the Social Security Administration . Nonetheless, the VA and the SSA analyze impairments differently.
The SSA follows a five step evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled for the purposes of Social Security benefits. This includes whether the individual is earning income from work, whether they have severe impairments, whether the severe impairments are disabling according to the SSAs medical listings, what work restrictions the individual has, and whether or not the individual can return to past work or any other work. In addition, the SSA has rules that somewhat relax the standard of disability when a claimant reaches age 50 and 55. Due to the application of these various factors, an individual may have a VA rating of disability, but not be disabled for the purposes of a Social Security disability claim.
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What Are Social Security Retirement Benefits
Over 70% of the people receiving Social Security benefits are receiving retirement benefits. The retirement benefit is only available for those who are at least 62 years of age. Eligibility for retirement benefits requires that the recipient has earned at least 40 work credits, with four credits available for each year worked. In 2015, the method of calculating eligibility for work credits changed, assigning one work credit for every $1,220 in earnings as opposed to the amount of time worked.
Social Security retirement benefits can be affected by your age, when you begin to draw benefits, and the average of your 35 highest-earning working years. Theres also a cap on how much can be received as a retirement benefit. Partial benefits can be paid at age 62, with full benefits available at age 65 to 67, depending on your birth year. In most cases, retirees benefit most from waiting until they can receive a full benefit at age 70 because the amount of the benefit increases by up to 8% each year between age 62 and age 70. However, there can be exceptions to this rule and households with retirees who retire at different times should research their options carefully. The difference can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits that you may or may not receive as a household, depending on your choice.
Workers who become disabled later in life may also have the option of filing for disability benefits as opposed to retirement benefits.
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Income And Work Requirements
There are also different requirements for each. For VA disability benefits, you must demonstrate:
- A current diagnosis of a qualifying condition and
- An in-service event, injury, or illness and
- A nexus between that diagnosis and the in-service event.
To receive SSDI, you must show:
- You have a medical condition that the SSA finds potentially disabling and
- An inability to engage in substantially gainful employment and
- You have a sufficient work history and have paid a minimum amount into Social Security via your payroll taxes.
To receive SSI, you must show:
- You are disabled, blind, a child under 18, or an adult over 65, and
- You have limited income and assets.
Can I Get Va Survivor Benefits And Social Security
Many spouses and children of veterans have questions about VA survivors benefits. One of the most common type of survivor benefits is what is commonly known as DIC Benefits.
DIC stands for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. In this article, I want to answer some of the most common questions that I get asked about DIC benefits.
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Ssi Payments Are Affected By Your Va Disability Pay
SSI is considered a need-based benefit and applicants may be subject to monthly income caps to qualify. Applicants who exceed the monthly income caps will not qualifyINCLUDING monthly income that is exceeded due to disability payments to you by the VA.
At the time of this writing, Social Security Income features a $20 general exclusion which means the first $20 dollars of your VA compensation is excluded from the dollar-for-dollar reduction in SSI based on your VA benefit amount each month. VA benefits are classified by the Social Security Administration as unearned income that does not come from a paying job.
Under this rule, if your VA disability pay is $250, minus the $20 general exclusion, your SSI benefits would be reduced by $230.
Social Security Disability Benefits For Veterans
Qualifying veterans can receive Social Security Disability benefits even if they already are receiving VA disability benefits. Medicare and TRICARE benefits may also be payable concurrently depending on qualifying circumstances.
Over nine million veterans received disability benefits in 2020, according to the Social Security Administration. In 2018, nearly a quarter of all United States military veterans said they suffered from a service-connected disability, according to the Census Bureau.
Vets may not realize they may qualify to receive both Social Security and VA disability payments at the same time.
What Social Security options are available for those who have served?
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