Disabled Veterans may be entitled to receive benefits.
Disability benefits are a financial lifeline to those who are unable to work. Social Security provides a safety net for those who become ill or injured and can no longer provide for themselves. Those who have served in the military, and especially those who became disabled in the line of duty, are entitled to additional benefits.
Veterans can receive benefits for a disability through both Social Security and the Veteran’s Administration.
The two agencies have several differences in how they determine disability and calculate benefits.
Veterans who have been injured during their service may be entitled to benefits.
In order to be eligible for Veteran’s disability benefits an applicant must prove:
- they have served in the armed forces,
- were not dishonorably discharged, and
- that the injury or illness was caused or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training.
However, veterans who were prisoners of war, veterans who were exposed to radiation, mustard gas, Lewisite (a chemical weapon), or certain herbicides such as Agent Orange may be able to waive the requirement to prove the disability was caused by service.
Unlike Social Security benefits, a veteran does not need to be totally disabled to collect benefits.
Veteran’s disability benefits are based on the degree of the disability. The disability will be ranked on a scale of 0% disabling to 100% disability depending on severity. It should be noted that the percentage is not a percentage of the maximum benefit. For example, in 2016 a single veteran with no children receives $2,906.83/mo if they are 100% disabled, but only $1,743.48/mo if they are 90% disabled.
The Social Security Administration will take into consideration the VA’s disability rating.
Veterans with a disability rating of 100% are very likely to also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. Unfortunately, the opposite is less true. Being approved for Social Security Disability Benefits is no guarantee you will be approved for Veteran’s benefits. Social Security’s approval will help prove you are disabled, but it will not show that the disability was incurred or aggravated during military service.
Veterans applying for Social Security should also be aware of the difficulty of obtaining medical records from VA medical facilities.
Additionally, Veterans who have sustained an injury or illness on active duty after October 1, 2001 are eligible to have their disability claim expedited under the Wounded Warrior program.
Under this program, some veterans are able to have their claim processed more quickly. It should be noted that because Social Security benefits are granted on the basis of ability to work, the disabled individual should not apply for benefits until after they have left the military.
If you are a veteran, thank you for your service. If you have been injured or become ill, especially while on active duty, or active duty for training, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed can help. Our team has the knowledge and experience necessary to present your claim in the best possible light. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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