The US Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits to military veterans who become disabled during their service. But veterans may also be eligible to receive additional benefits through their social security disability insurance. Learn more about the different processes these two agencies have for determining eligibility and if your application can be expedited.
The Difference between VA Benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance
VA disability benefits are only available to veterans who develop a physical or mental illness during their service, or if a preexisting condition becomes worse as a result of their service. Social security disability benefits, on the other hand, are available to any worker who has paid into the system through their social security taxes, whether the injury or illness is work related or not.
The severity of your disability does not determine the amount of your SSDI benefits. Instead, they are based on how much you earned, on average, over the course of your working life.
The VA’s Permanent and Total Rating
Unlike Social Security Disability benefits, VA benefits are determined by a percentage rating based on how badly a condition affects your health or ability to function. A rating of 100%, or “total”, is given to veterans with the most debilitating injuries or illnesses. It is possible to have multiple conditions that individually are not severe, but when combined, add up to a 100% rating.
The VA can lower a rating if a condition shows improvement over time, such as if medication helps heal a chronic lung infection. But if a condition is not expected to improve, such as an amputated limb, it is rated as “permanent”. If a single condition is rated permanent and total (P&T), the veteran is entitled to receive full benefits for the remainder of his or her life.
Expediting the Process
Veterans with a 100% P&T rating from the VA are eligible to have their social security disability insurance claim expedited. The Social Security Administration implemented this change to streamline the application process and help veterans receive their benefits in a more timely manner.
To use the expedited service, veterans must provide a copy of their VA Notification Letter showing their 100% P&T rating. Veterans with a lower P&T rating who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001 may still qualify for expedited processing under the Wounded Warrior program.
Do you need help navigating the complex social security disability process, talk to the experts at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC in Onalaska, WI. We provide one-on-one attention and work with you to create a proactive plan to achieve a positive outcome in your case. Call them today at (608) 784-4370 or visit their website to learn more about their superior legal services.