VA disability benefits and SSDI

Receiving certain types of benefits, such as workers' compensation, can impact a person's eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance. But, veterans are entitled to specific relief because VA disability benefits may not affect their ability to receive SSDI under certain circumstances.

For SSDI eligibility, a claimant must suffer a medical issue that keeps them from working. VA benefits are awarded to veterans who suffered a service-related injury. If the service-related injury prevents the veteran from working, they can also apply for SSDI. Both monthly benefits can be received simultaneously.

The VA reviews all medical records relating to military service. It determines whether active duty service injuries and diseases caused a disability and rates the disability between a range of 0 to 100 percent. The Social Security Administration considers medical evidence to support disability claims and the inability to work. The medical condition must fall within the SSA's blue book medical criteria. The SSA may combine a service-related disability with a heart condition, high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes or other health condition to determine whether there is a disability.

Veterans with a VA 10 percent disability rating usually face difficulties obtaining SSDI benefits, unless they suffered a new illness after they left the military. Veterans with a disability rating of at least 70 percent usually have a more favorable chance of receiving approval from the SSA.

Expedited SSDI benefits may also be available to former service members under certain conditions. Veterans with a 100 percent permanent and total compensation rating, for example, are eligible. Service members, to be eligible, had to become disabled while serving on active military duty and the service and disability had to occur after September 30, 2001. Participation in the wounded warriors' program may also expedite claims.

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