Make Sure You’re Getting Everything: SSDI & VA Disability Benefits

As a veteran, you already know that you may qualify for disability benefits from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VA). What you may not know is that you could be eligible to receive disability compensation from Social Security as well. As a Texas veteran who received service-connected disabilities during your service, these multiple forms of disability compensation might prove to be pivotal for you and your family as you transition back into civilian life.

The application and approval processes for benefits from these federal institutions are very different and will need to be completed separately. In this article, we’ll review the process of applying for Social Security, and how it will differ from your experience with the VA.

Unfortunately, it can be extremely time consuming and frustrating to deal with Social Security – something that may not be considerably different from your experience with the VA. Typically, the application and decision process works as follows:

 

  1. Disability benefits are applied for online or in person at a Texas Social Security office.
  2. If disabilities are the direct result of military service, also known as service-connected disabilities, the veteran may request a critical request evaluation sheet (1-2-1-95) to prioritize his application.
  3. The case is assigned to a disability examiner.
  4. The disability examiner reviews all appropriate medical records and consults with medical professionals who have evaluated the veteran.
  5. An approval decision or a denial decision is made within four months.
  6. If the application is approved, the veteran is considered 100% disabled by the Social Security system and will be paid benefits calculated from previous wages or financial need.
  7. If the application is denied, the veteran may appeal the assessment before an Administrative Law Judge after a waiting period.

 

100% Disability Under Social Security

While the VA assesses injuries by a percentage and will pay out benefits in accordance with this disability rating, disability decisions made by Social Security are all or nothing. The Social Security system stipulates that the disability condition is expected to last at least one full year or result in the claimant’s death. Many Social Security disability applications are denied at first, which is why the applicant is allowed to appeal the decision.

However, because it can take several months to receive a court date for an appeal, it’s in the veteran’s best interests to do everything within his power to attain an approval decision during the initial application. Be sure that:

 

  • The disability examiner is able to gain access to all of your necessary medical records. Frequently, there are difficulties in obtaining records from the VA. You may want to have copies of all of your medical records on hand personally so you can turn them over yourself.
  • You keep thorough records of who has been given which records. Also, be sure to make copies of everything you submit to the Social Security Administration, as it is not uncommon for files to get lost.
  • Protect yourself with the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Dallas VA benefits lawyer. A professional who knows how the system works will greatly increase your odds of obtaining appropriate compensation as soon as possible.

 

If you are a Texas veteran who has been struggling with the Social Security system or your initial claim has been denied, talk to one of the experienced attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod as soon as possible. Call us toll-free: 800-800-6353.

Also, be sure to request a copy of our free book about dealing with the Social Security system, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law