What Do Veterans Need to Know About Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability for Veterans

While the way Social Security disability benefits are handled for veterans isn’t radically different from how they’re managed for other recipients, there are still several key points that are important for veterans to know about:

It’s Possible to Get Both Social Security Benefits and Military Retirement

Not only can eligible veterans receive SSDI, SSI, and their military retirement, in most situations the funds provided by a military retirement won’t reduce the amount of SSD benefits that a vet is able to receive.

The only change that generally occurs is if a vet is receiving VA health care benefits — those benefits may be adjusted or ended once a veteran reaches Medicare eligibility.

An Expedited Process is Available for Disabled Vets

When it comes to proving they have a legitimate disability, veterans have to go through the same process as everyone else. This process involves collecting the necessary medical and other relevant documentation to prove the legitimacy of a disability claim.

While there’s no way to bypass those requirements, an expedited process is available for veterans who were disabled while on active military service on or after October 1st of 2001. Veterans who were disabled abroad and domestically can take advantage of this opportunity.

Although vets’ expedited status is supposed to be granted automatically, it’s best to explicitly mention it on the application paperwork to ensure it’s correctly processed.

In addition to those two key issues, many veterans are interested in the answers to one or more of the following questions:

Will Receiving VA Disability or VA Pension Affect SSDI/SSI?

VA disability benefits (or service-connected disability pay), like SSDI, is not income based. Thus, you can receive VA disability and SSDI at the same time.

However, the VA pension program is needs-based, similar to SSI. VA pension is paid to veterans with little or no income and who are disabled from a non-service connected disability. You may be able to receive VA pension and SSI at the same time. If you receive VA pension and apply for SSI, your pension will be included in the SSI income calculation. However, once you start receiving SSDI benefits, they can reduce or potentially eliminate the amount of VA pension you receive.

Is There Any Relationship Between Medicare and TRICARE?

Yes. For veterans who are eligible to receive Medicare, enrolling in Medicare Part B may be necessary in order to maintain TRICARE coverage. This may also be true for retroactive benefits. If you’re in this situation, it’s best to directly contact the Department of Defense to find out if there’s anything you need to do.

If you want to ensure you get the benefits you deserve for serving our country, contact Lisa M. Ritacco today. You can reach her by phone at 877-459-4799 or contact her online.