As a military veteran, you may have more options for disability benefits than you realize. For example, you may be eligible to receive both Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits and Social Security Disability (SSD) simultaneously. Ultimately, whether or not you qualify for either federal agency depends on your unique situation. Here’s what you should know about VA and SSD benefits as a veteran.
Qualifications for SSD
SSD assists those who are unable to perform substantial work due to their disability and have worked for an employer covered by Social Security for at least a year. In addition, qualifying applicants’ medical condition must have lasted at least one year or would result in death. According to the SSA, you are either disabled, thus eligible for SSD, or you’re not.
Qualifications for VA Disability
On the other hand, suppose you were injured or developed a mental or physical illness while in the line of duty. In that case, you may qualify for VA disability compensation. In contrast to SSD, VA rates disabilities on a percentage scale. For example, the VA gauges the severity of your injuries in combat; if you lost your leg, they assign the percentage based on how much of it was lost. If you’ve suffered multiple injuries and losses, the VA has a particular formula to sum it up into a single rating. This rating is subject to change based on your injury or disability’s likelihood of improvement.
To get a Permanent and Total Disability (P&T) rating, your disability must have close to zero chance of improvement, and your rating would be 100. In this case, the SSA may speed up the processing of disability benefits.
Health Care Coverage
Those approved for SSD would be automatically approved for Medicare after receiving SSA payments for over 24 months. Veterans would also be eligible for health insurance coverage under the military’s Tricare program. If you receive both Medicare and Tricare, Medicare would be your primary health insurance provider, while Tricare would be supplemental.
Which Veterans’ Benefits Are Right for You?
If you’ve been disabled while serving our country, help is available to you. However, navigating the disability claims process alone can be confusing – especially as a qualifying veteran. For your best bet at securing the benefits and healthcare you deserve through the VA and SSA, turn to the Veterans’ Benefits attorneys at Kerr Robichaux & Carroll. No matter the complexity of your case, we are ready to take it on and stop at nothing to get you the help you need to move forward. Contact us by filling out and submitting a form online or calling our office at 503-255-9092 for a free legal consultation today.