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How do VA disability benefits differ from Social Security Disability?

When you suffer from disabilities related to your military service, you have every right to expect benefits through the Veterans Administration (VA). But what about Social Security Disability (SSD)?

Generally speaking, you can receive both VA disability benefits and SSD — but it’s smart to understand, in advance, that the rules surrounding the two programs are very different.

The qualification criteria and approval process are different

When you file for VA disability benefits, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials will assign a caseworker to review your active duty medical records to determine whether you qualify for benefits. Your ability to obtain VA disability benefits rests on whether your condition is related to your service. That person is responsible for assigning you an impairment score up to 100. How much in benefits that you’re eligible to receive is contingent upon your assigned rating.

In contrast, the Social Security Administration (SSA) there’s no sliding scale for disability benefits: You either qualify as totally disabled or you don’t. To qualify, you must have a sufficient work history (where you paid FICA taxes) and a disability that is expected to last at least a year or end in death. Because of the restrictive nature of SSD, it may be harder to gain approval for your claim — even if you’re already receiving VA benefits.

Are you struggling to obtain SSD benefits?

Many first-time applicants have their request for SSD benefits denied. While some of these denials might occur because an applicant doesn’t have a qualifying condition, many of them happen because they don’t provide adequate documentation or other minor issues.

An attorney can help you navigate the disability benefits application process so that you do not have to wait a long time to secure the funds you count on for your survival.