What If I Have More Questions About My Va Claim
I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal to win your VA disability compensation claim.
You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
Does It Help To Get Approved For One Program Is You Already Have The Other
In the past, the answer was yes. If you were approved for VA Unemployability benefits, then your chances of getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits were very high.
Unfortunately, from 2017 onwards, the Social Security Administration changed their regulations, stating that VA Unemployability approvals would not be taken into consideration while a persons application for Social Security Disability benefits was being processed.
However, the evidence that you shared with the VA department will be used by the SSA in assessing your claim for Social Security Disability.
The VAs office will also not take into consideration that you are being given Social Security Disability benefits. This is because the SSA does not ask whether the disabilities sustained were because of military service. And the main requirement for eligibility for VA Unemployability is that your disabilities need to be service-related.
There are a lot of times that a Veteran has disabilities that are both service related as well as non-service related. So, the Veteran has to prove that it is a service related disability that is the reason for his or her Unemployability.
Federal Taxes On Veterans’ Disability Or Military Retirement Pensions
Benefit Fact Sheet
Military retirement pay based on age or length of service is considered taxable income for Federal income taxes. However, military disability retirement pay and Veterans’ benefits, including service-connected disability pension payments, may be partially or fully excluded from taxable income.
Service members with service-connected disabilities may be eligible for Federal income tax exclusions of Veterans’ benefits and disability pension payments.
Military Retirement Pay
Military retirement pay based on age or length of service is taxable and must be included as income for Federal income taxes. The amount a Retiree pays to participate in the Survivors Benefit Plan is excluded from taxable income. For Social Security tax purposes, military retirement pay is not considered earned income and no Social Security payroll taxes taxes) are withheld from military retirement pay.
Military Disability Retirement Pay
Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:
You would be entitled to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs if you filed an application for it .
Veterans’ benefits are also excluded from Federal taxable income. The following amounts paid to Veterans or their Families are not taxable:
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Can I Receive Social Security Disability And Retirement Benefits
In most cases, you cannot receive Social Security disability and retirement benefits at the same time, since SSDI benefits are meant for those who cannot work due to injury or illness. If youre receiving retirement benefits, it is already implicit that you are no longer working. There is one exception to this rule, however.
If you take an early retirement at age 62 before applying for disability benefits, and are later found to have been eligible for disability during that time, the Social Security Administration will make up the difference between your early retirement benefits and your monthly disability benefits for those months that you received early retirement payments. Of course, youll have to submit adequate documentation that you took an early retirement because of your disabling condition.
Its also worth noting that some individuals can draw monthly benefits from more than one Social Security program. For example, you may be able to qualify for both SSI and SSDI or retirement and SSI.
Can Veterans Get Social Security
Can military members get Social Security benefits when the reach retirement age?
Yes, since 1957 military members who paid into the Social Security program are eligible for benefits just like civilians.
Social Security’s retirement program has been a basic part of American life for more than 65 years. In a nutshell, a small amount is taken out of each of your paychecks. Over the years, you save up more money and earn ‘credits’. Then after you retire, these savings are paid back to you, depending on how many credits you earned.
In addition to benefits for retired workers, Social Security also provides financial support to younger workers and their families who face a loss of income due to disability or the death of a family wage earner. Contact the nearest Social Security office if:
- You have a disability/injury, preventing you from working for at least a year or that may lead to death.
- You are planning to retire and are within three months of 62.
- You are NOT planning to retire, but you are within three months of your retirement age.
- A family member who is a worker dies.
- You or a dependent require a kidney transplant or dialysis treatments.
Keep in mind that most of the time, benefits cannot be paid retroactively. Social Security is your money – take care of it if you want to enjoy your retirement!
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What Is Va Unemployability
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Unemployability is also known as Individual Unemployability. This is a part of the Veterans Affairs disability compensation program where certain Veterans get paid 100% of their disability benefits even if the Veterans service related disability rating is not at that 100% level.
- You must be a Veteran
- There should be at least one service related disability rated at a minimum of 60%
- You have 2 or more than 2 service related disabilities. One should be rated at a minimum of 40%, or the combination of all your disabilities should amount to a more than 70% rating.
- You are unable to find gainful employment due to your disability/disabilities. Here, the VA office does not consider odd jobs or marginal employment substantial.
Supporting Evidence Required
- You need to present evidence of one service related disability at the very least
- You need to present evidence that these disabilities are preventing your from finding gainful employment
- You need to show that one disability is rated at more than 60%
You need to show that the sum total of multiple disabilities is rated greater than 70% or at least one disability is rated at a minimum of 40%.
There are circumstances when a veteran who does not meet these requirements will still be granted Individual Unemployability benefits.
Health Coverage For People With Disabilities
If you have a disability, you have three options for health coverage through the government.
Medicaid provides free or low-cost medical benefits to people with disabilities. Learn about eligibility and how to apply.
Medicare provides medical health insurance to people under 65 with certain disabilities and any age with end-stage renal disease . Learn about eligibility, how to apply and coverage.
Affordable Care Act Marketplace offers options to people who have a disability, dont qualify for disability benefits, and need health coverage. Learn about the .
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Some Background On Va Benefits Compared To Social Security Disability
VA compensation for medical conditions, injuries, and other issues is conditional. The VA must determine that your medical issues are service-connected or service-aggravated and award a disability rating on that basis.
VA disability pay requires the veteran to submit medical documentation, evidence , civilian care records, etc. A VA medical claim is reviewed by the VA. Compensation is awarded on a scale of percentages and culminates in a maximum award of 100% disability.
Quick Breakdown Of VA Disability Benefits
- Veterans go through a VA-directed medical review
- Veterans are rated on a percentage scale for disabilities and conditions that affect the ability to live and work
- Compensation is subject to review
- No income caps or asset caps to receive the benefit
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 SSA’s 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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Is It Better To Retire Early Or Go On Disability
If you are approaching early retirement age and also have become disabled, you may be unsure whether you should take an early retirement or apply for disability until you reach full retirement age.
On the one hand, if you already know you have enough work credits to retire, the processing of starting your retirement benefits will be a lot easier than going through the laborious process of applying for disability.
On the other hand, you may not want to sacrifice the extra monthly benefits you could get if you waited until full retirement or age 70 to begin collecting benefits. If youre not too concerned about your financial stability, opting for early retirement might not seem like a big deal, especially if you have a pension through your employer or other types of retirement accounts like an IRA or 401K.
However, if youre like many Americans, you may need all the help you can get from the Social Security Administration. In this case, its most likely better to get approved for disability benefits rather than take an early retirement and lose out on your hard-earned benefits. While it can be true that getting approved for SSDI can take time, effort, and patience, disability benefits can offer you a kind of flexibility that retirement cantespecially if theres a chance of your disability improving.
Additional Programs And Information:
A team comprising a staff physician or clinical psychologist and a professionally trained analyst makes the disability decision. Applications for Social Security disability benefits may be completed online at Apply for Benefits. The public may also call SSAs toll-free number, 772-1213, to schedule an appointment in person or by phone. Find the most conveniently located Social Security office at the Social Security Office Locator. To apply for Medicaid, visit Virginia’s Medical Assistance Programs.
The Virginia DDS works in conjunction with SSAs Office of the Inspector General through a Cooperative Disability Investigations unit to prevent fraud in the disability program. The CDI program was established in 1998 to effectively pool resources and expertise to prevent fraud in SSAs disability programs. The CDI programs primary mission is to obtain evidence that can resolve questions of fraud before benefits are ever paid. Reports from CDI Units can also be used to cease benefits of in-payment beneficiaries during the continuing disability review process. For more information about CDI, OIG, or to report fraud, waste, or abuse, visit or contact Brett Fielding at the number listed below.
SOAR in Virginia
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Service Credit For Workers’ Compensation
If you are on leave without pay receiving workers’ compensation and retirement contributions are not being withheld from your workers’ compensation payment, you may be eligible to purchase up to 24 months of service credit for this period of time. You must purchase this service before you retire on disability. For more information, contact your human resource office.
It’s Not Uncommon For Veterans To Receive Both Social Security And Veteran Disability Benefits
There are several kinds of benefits from Social Security that you may be able to get.
1. Social Security Disability Insurance : Benefits to disabled wage earners and some members of their families if the former wage earners are “insured.”
- Must have worked long enough to become insured and work must be recent
- No resource or asset limits
2. Supplemental Security Income : A means-tested benefit program for the aged , blind, or disabled.
- Work history does not matter
- Monthly maximum payment is the Federal Benefit Rate
- Usually $771 for an individual and $1,157 for a disabled couple in 2019
- Resource or asset limit of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple
3. Social Security Retirement: Benefits paid once you have reached your full retirement age.
- Your full retirement age is based on when you were born and can be as early as age 62 or as late as age 70
- If you choose to take early retirement” then your monthly benefits will be reduced, and continuing to work can affect your benefit amount
If you are getting VA disability compensation and then apply for Social Security benefits, Social Security will review any evidence that the VA reviewed in making their decision.
NOTE: While you dont need to be totally disabled to be eligible for VA disability compensation, you are either totally disabled or not disabled under Social Security’s definition of disability.
Veterans Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
It is possible to apply for benefits under the Social Security Act, as well as apply for benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs . As long as the veteran has eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits , then it is possible to receive both VA benefits and Social Security disability benefits A veteran does not need to apply for VA benefits in order to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Get Help Qualifying For Disability Benefits
The truth is, applying for disability can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. Most first-time applicants are denied, and appeals can take months. However, this doesnt mean you should give up hope. With the help of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, you can increase your odds of being approved the first time and strengthen your claim should you need to go through the appeals process.
To find out the difference having dedicated representation on your side can make, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. Well arrange a free, no obligation consultation with our legal team to review your disability claim and help you make the right decision for you and your family. Get in touch 24/7 by calling , connecting with one of our LiveChat agents, or by filling out this form to request your complimentary case review.
This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
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Qualifying For Retirement Benefits
Retirement benefits, like SSI and SSDI, are a type of monthly payment paid to eligible Americans by the SSA. Once you have amassed enough work credits, paid into Social Security through federal taxes, and reached age 62, you can begin collecting retirement benefits. The amount of your monthly benefit depends on how much you worked, how much money you made, and whether you decide to keep working past the age of 62.
If you wait until your full retirement age , your monthly benefit will increase. And, if you are able to and decide to keep working until you are 70 years old, you can maximize your monthly retirement benefits. Once you begin receiving retirement benefits, you will continue to receive them for the rest of your life.
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.
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